Is that a MiFi in your pocket?

The MiFi has been around for a few months now. It is 3’s answer to the dilemma of not being able to find a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot – you carry your own around with you.

The MiFi has been around for a few months now. It is 3’s answer to the dilemma of not being able to find a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot – you carry your own around with you.

Essentially the MiFi is a wireless (Wi-Fi) device with a SIM inside it. You can connect it to a laptop via USB, or make the connection over Wi-Fi. Whichever you choose, if the MiFi can get a signal on 3’s network, you can use the mobile Internet.

Make a wired connection to a laptop and you can take advantage of a built in microSD card reader and self-installing software which gives you texting capability. You can also use the MiFi with other Wi-Fi enabled devices such as the iPod Touch which 3 is pushing at its Web site.

As I write you can get the MiFi for £49.99 on Pay As You Go, which makes it quite an alluring proposition for the businessperson who is never quite sure where their next wireless Internet connection is coming from. You can also get it on pay monthly terms – all the tariff options along with the inevitable data caps are here.

The MiFi is a fair bit larger than your average broadband dongle at 86mm x 46mm x 11mm. It comes with a mains charger for its battery and USB cable. 3 ought really to have also supplied a carrying pouch. The MiFi’s white and silver plastic shell will get very knocked about in the average briefcase.

I found the MiFi extremely easy to set up. The range of coloured lights on the front of the device might look like overkill at first. There are five different indicators which can pop up as you set the thing up, variously showing you battery charge status, roaming status, signal, Wi-Fi connectivity and Internet connection status. The setup walkthrough provided on little cards was very easy to follow though, and when in use all those lights disappear leaving the MiFi to sit quietly doing its job.

The battery is quoted as giving up to five hours use. For me a battery boost once a week was enough – what you’ll need will depend on how much you intend to use the device, of course, but even the most data hungry user should find it gets them through a day.

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