MiFi: Share Mobile Wireless Internet with 1 Device

Dennis Faas's picture

A new mobile WiFi hotspot device about the size of a credit card is threatening to make USB cellular modems look primitive. One such devices is the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. It works by tapping into the Verizon 3G Mobile broadband network to create a personalized WiFi 'cloud' for a fixed number of devices within a 50 foot area.

USB-based modems boast similar features in allowing users to connect to the Internet while in motion or from a remote location. However, the biggest drawback of using a USB modem is that they are exclusive to only one device. (Source: usatoday.com)

MiFi, in contrast, can be shared with up to five computers and/or other WiFi-capable devices, including smartphones and digital cameras. The Novatel MiFi 2200 in particular is small, portable and requires no additional plug-ins to operate. It has a single on/off button complete with color-changing status lights to show the strength of the connection and the life of the battery.

MiFi 2200 Hampered by Short Battery Life

Since the MiFi 2220 uses a battery, it must be recharged frequently. It takes about 2.5 hours to re-charge the battery and an AC wall charger is included. While being charged, the MiFi 2200 can be used as a fixed hot spot to share Internet. When there are periods of inactivity, the MiFi activates a "sleep" mode, thus prolonging the life of the battery. (Source: usatoday.com)

The battery is expected to last for 40 hours when in "sleep" mode, but only lasts approximately 4 hours when active. With more users using the device, the battery drains even faster.

Password Protection

There have been questions raised abut the security of the product. Many reason that if your personalized "cloud" stretches up to 50 feet, what's stopping an unauthorized user from hopping on to the Internet on your dime?

To get around this problem, the MiFi 2200 provides an individualized network password written on a sticker at the bottom of every MiFi device. Now the password can be shared with only those authorized by the owner.

The MiFi 2200 costs about $100 after a mail-in rebate. All consumers will be required to sign up for a two-year data plan with every purchase. (Source: testfreaks.com)

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