Review: Verizon MiFi 3G access point

Review: Verizon MiFi 3G access point

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Verizon, Wi-Fi

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11 comments
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  • Agree

    I agree with you about how great this little device is. I was just at a company offsite and the facility's wireless network was quickly overloaded by all of us trying to connect. I had my MiFi with me and was the only one able to get online. Everyone else had to deal with the building's WiFi which kept going down every 10 minutes.
    Dan.Anderson
  • RE: Review: Verizon MiFi 3G access point

    My Cradlepoint PHS300 does the same thing. I can upgrade to 4G when the cards become available. I can cut the WiFi transmit power down and extend my battery life significantly. The Cradlepoint router software is feature packed. Someone needs to do a comparison of the two.
    Mr_Fastbucks
    • compared to PHS300

      there is a comparison between MiFi and PHS300 here: http://bit.ly/rSkn8
      EVDOinfo
    • Except.....

      With the Cradlepoint device, you are stuck with a bulky 3 x 5 inch device that is thicker and heavier than the MiFi and also bulkier, because you have to plug in a USB dongle (modem). Give it up, you should buy a MiFi.
      briansal
  • Is it "salsa proof"?

    I'll be finally happy the day you can carry a "univeral" device with ONE subscription for univeral access irregardless of "carrier" or technology, but this is a start.
    kd5auq
    • Good bye AT&T

      Wouldn't it be cool if you could carry around one of these and then use
      an iPod Touch and Skype to make all your calls and say good bye to ATT?
      How fast would a person chew up 5GB?
      seattleDave
      • you can

        You can do that already. Skype app for iPod Touch has been available for a few months now. 5GB is a helluva lot of data, I wouldn't worry about the phone usage.
        briansal
  • You Can Get A MiFi For Less Than $99

    If you choose to go through Verizon, you can get the MiFi for $99, but there are other retailers offering extremely cheap, if not free MiFis, when you sign up for a data plan. Check http://buymifi.com to find good deals
    helpingout09
  • RE: Review: Verizon MiFi 3G access point

    I just got my mifi today, and so far so good. My PCMCIA card won't fit in my new netbook, so decided to go with the mifi instead of the usb. And btw, I only paid $50 for mine. Since I use it on my business account they gave me an extra $50 instant rebate over the usual $50 (taking the retail from $150 to $50 @ purchase). :-)
    jpeckenpaugh
  • RE: Review: Verizon MiFi 3G access point

    You can do that already. It works. Skype for the iPod Touch and the iPhone has been available for several months.
    briansal
  • I prefer Bluetooth PAN, no added equipment.

    I setup a rather easy bluetooth connection to my AT&T Tilt using WinMo's Internet connection sharing. Who knew a MacBook could talk so well to a WinMo device. :)

    And no, this is not the same as tethering. With Bluetooth PAN, I essentially "piggy back" to my phones existing MediaNet connection and enjoy full 3G speed unlike tethering that carriers usually cripple and charge extra for.
    jmiller1978