I just returned from a family vacation in and around Denver, Seattle and Vancouver (more on that later) and had the pleasure of toting a Verizon MiFi 2200 with me for the trip.
The MiFi is billed as an "intelligent Mobile Hotspot" and is basically a 3G card and a WiFi access point/base station rolled into one.
People that read my blogs know that I'm a fan of Verizon's EVDO network and that I pretty much travel with one of their adapters wherever I go. In an age where free WiFi is getting harder to find a good EVDO card is essential for any nomadic technologist.
The MiFi takes EVDO to the next level. Instead of having to plug a USB dongle into your MacBook Pro (or Windows PC) simply press the button on the top of the diminutive glossy black box and wait the for green LED on the side to blink (less than 30 seconds) and you're ready to go. Simply connect to the access point named "Verizon MiFi" using the password printed on the bottom and you're in business.
While a standard USB dongle may suffice for a solo traveler, the MiFi is a boon for those that travel with more than one WiFi-capable device (i.e. MacBook and iPhone). The MiFi really starts to pay dividends when traveling with a friend/colleague/spouse when you might have four or more WiFi devices (i.e. two notebooks and two iPhones). Avoid the temptation to sell access to the jealous people around you at the airport though, while it may seem like a good idea at the time, it could turn ugly when it's time to power the little devil down.
The only weirdness I had was that the MiFi has to be activated the first time you use it by connecting it via USB to your Mac and running the included VZAccess Manager software. I strongly recommend that doing this before you depart and that you bring the included USB cable for when the internal battery inevitably runs out of juice. When it does run out, simply plug it into a USB port and keep on chugging, or purchase an extra 1150 mAh battery.
I used the MiFi to get online at Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park and at The Gorge in Washington when my iPhone couldn't get any signal whatsoever. The Verizon network is top-notch making the MiFi a highly recommended accessory for any frequent traveler. The MiFi 2200 is priced at $99 after $50 online rebate with a two-year Mobile Broadband contract. Monthly data rates are $40 for 250MB and $60 per month for 5GB.
I forgot to mention that the MiFi's perfect pairing is with four tacos and a Dos Equis Amber. This shot taken at La Isla restaurant in Port Townsend, Washington.