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Old 01-03-2011, 10:31 AM
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Rolling hotspot options

Recently I mentioned using my wife's Verizon MiFi 2200 pocket wireless modem in the Overland during a road trip. Thought I'd share some impressions and get input on other solutions members have tried. Obviously this is not a WK2-specific topic, but I'd be interested in comments and comparisons to uConnect web (which I haven't heard much chatter about). I have no affiliation or vested interest in the device manufacturer or service provider other than being (married to) a satisfied customer.

The MiFi 2200 is branded to Verizon Wireless but is made by Novatel and runs at 3G speeds. It supports up to 5 wireless users who can just plunk down within range and type in the SSID and password credentials that are printed on the label's device. Initial setup was complicated a bit by the windoze-centric tool on a Mac, but once initialized it offers essentially a zero config user experience for the owner and any guests.

This device's price point and data plans make it better suited to the business user with an expense account. The purchase price varies from $400 w/o a plan to $100 with a 2-year plan. The data plans are $40 for 250MB or $60 for 5GB (our plan).

The user experience is straightforward once you connect. The connection speed is reasonable enough that you don't feel like there's a bottleneck even with 3 passengers hooked up simultaneously. Out of respect for my wife's data plan caps I usually tell the kids to avoid downloading movies or watching a lot of streaming content, but casual surfing, Facebook, email, and grabbing the occasional song from iTunes are all fairly low overhead activities.

The device is the size of a credit card so it easily drops into a cup holder or atop the dash during use. Battery life is ~4hrs and it charges via USB car charger or 2-prong adapter, so it can be used in the outlet at the lower rear of the Overland's center console.

Has anyone used the uConnect web solution? It looks like it's about $500 to purchase the hardware and around $30/month for service, depending on duration of plan selected. Not sure if you get a break on the hardware if you select a longer service plan duration (as with the MiFi). I would be interested in hearing any user experiences. Had the monthly data plans been similar I would have had a hard time understanding the value proposition for the uConnect, but at half the monthly price of the MiFi ($30 vs $60) it might make sense for some people even if it does tether you to your vehicle when you want to use it.

I think Virgin Mobile and others offer similar products. Any input welcomed.

PS: I'm using this device to send this message as I wait for the Verizon tech to come and fix my downed FiOS service.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:13 AM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

I actually use the MiFi 2200 with Virgin Mobile. Same device, different network. I did this because you can buy the device for anywhere from $120 - $150 (last time I checked) and pay $40/mo for unlimited bandwidth. What I like most is that it's month to month. So I can just bite off a 30 day window of unlimited use for $40 and it won't auto-renew. I couldn't stomach the 2 year plan from Verizon when I would probably only use it sporadically.

I have used it in the car so the kids can stream netflix from the iPad in the back seat, people can browse the web, etc.

Speed is usually good, but it all depends on your network. With a good signal I had 2 people both on VPN and terminal serviced into remote servers and it work pretty well. It's not great with the limited bandwidth, but perfectly acceptable for anything that didn't require heavy graphics use.

Definitely a thumbs up from me, and it's portable and usable by any device as a wireless hotspot.

-Ryan
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:17 AM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

I use my Sprint Hotspot on my htc evo for $30/mo for the notebook when we are on drives. no problem, speed isn't bad either.

Also no contract, its month to month.

Of course as mentioned speed depends on your network signal. I use the hotspot as my home internet as well, saves us money from spending $60-80 for cable internet


(none of this may be of any help..but just putting in my $0.02 )
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:23 AM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

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Originally Posted by rybocf View Post
I actually use the MiFi 2200 with Virgin Mobile. Same device, different network. I did this because you can buy the device for anywhere from $120 - $150 (last time I checked) and pay $40/mo for unlimited bandwidth. What I like most is that it's month to month. So I can just bite off a 30 day window of unlimited use for $40 and it won't auto-renew. I couldn't stomach the 2 year plan from Verizon when I would probably only use it sporadically.
Ryan, I was not aware of that attractive feature of the Virgin device (on-demand data plan). That is a big differentiator for someone like me who will also use it sporadically. I can get a similar 3G data plan as needed on my iPad, but for a few bucks more this makes a lot of sense and I will look into it, thanks for the heads up.

Pretty sure my wife went with Verizon because this device replaced her previous Verizon wireless modem (not a MiFi but the kind that looks like a thumb drive and must be connected via USB) which crapped out on her. She got the device for free and uses it quite a bit. Still, the VM deal is better at $40/month and unlimited use.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:34 AM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

I have a 4G mifi test unit coming from Verizon to me this week. We do a lot of business with Verizon and are on lists where they let us test new/unreleased devices. If I ever get my WK2 I plan on keep this on board at all times.

Very curious to see how good 4G speeds are. The data plans on these things really do suck if you’re not able to expense.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:36 AM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

No problem. Here is the link: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/mobil...adband2go.html

I picked up my MiFi at Radio Shack. Walmart had them for $119 I think on special last time I looked.

-Ryan
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:43 PM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

Quote:
Originally Posted by ParaCAD View Post
I use my Sprint Hotspot on my htc evo for $30/mo for the notebook when we are on drives. no problem, speed isn't bad either.

Also no contract, its month to month.

Of course as mentioned speed depends on your network signal. I use the hotspot as my home internet as well, saves us money from spending $60-80 for cable internet


(none of this may be of any help..but just putting in my $0.02 )
How are you getting month to month mifi for $30?
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Old 01-03-2011, 12:57 PM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

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Originally Posted by GlowingGhoul View Post
How are you getting month to month mifi for $30?
I added Sprint Mobile HotSpot to my HTC Evo...So when turned on up to 2 devices can connect to my data for internet use.

$29.99/mo for month to month..I specifically asked that question, because i wasn't going to get caught in a contract, if i didn't want it. But like i said i use it as my home connection as well, so its worth it.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:26 PM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

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Originally Posted by ParaCAD View Post
I added Sprint Mobile HotSpot to my HTC Evo...So when turned on up to 2 devices can connect to my data for internet use.

$29.99/mo for month to month..I specifically asked that question, because i wasn't going to get caught in a contract, if i didn't want it. But like i said i use it as my home connection as well, so its worth it.
Oh, so you have a data plan and this is an addon right?

Stand alone mifi service is like $69/mo with a 2 year contract.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:28 PM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

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Originally Posted by GlowingGhoul View Post
Oh, so you have a data plan and this is an addon right?

Stand alone mifi service is like $69/mo with a 2 year contract.

Ok, i see what you're saying...yea the hotspot it an add-on to data...I share data with other phones on my plan, so this extra $30 was worth it for my family
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:27 PM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

Nice write up CP, thanks. I didn't bite on the UConnect as it seems overpriced, but these alternative hotspot devices seem interesting, especially if you have reason to use it regularly. +rep.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:44 PM
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Re: Rolling hotspot options

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Originally Posted by moosehead View Post
Nice write up CP, thanks. I didn't bite on the UConnect as it seems overpriced, but these alternative hotspot devices seem interesting, especially if you have reason to use it regularly. +rep.
Plus one other thing...you can take it with you to any car. It's not linked to your Jeep unlike the UConnect one.
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