MiFi Mobile Hotspot Technology - Without a Contract!
MiFi?! It sounds like WiFi, and although it's related,
it isn't the same thing. Mi-Fi is an
that is often referred to as a mobile hotspot, and hopefully the
discussion below will answer all of your questions! I think
technology is a great idea, and although it took time for prepaid plans
to come to market, the wait was well worthwhile, and there are now a
lot of options!
I built this page when postpaid providers were just starting
catch on; it really is amazing how far prepaid wireless data options
have come. Signing up for my free
ezine is the easiest way to make
that you hear when new prepaid Mi-Fi plans become available, or when
critical pricing changes happen.
is a mobile hotspot. The next logical question is: "What's a
mobile hotspot?" Hotspots
often referred to as Wi-Fi
hotspots. Follow the link to Prepaid
about this technology. Once you
technology, whether a hotspot at a local coffee shop, or using your
wireless router at home, add to that Prepaid
In other words, combine Wi-Fi with cellular technology, and
you've got yourself a mobile hotspot!
How does a mobile hotspot
take a cellular mobile broadband modem that you would normally plug
into your computer (using a PC Card or USB modem), unplug it, and put
a battery inside so that you don't have to get power from your
Now take that standalone device and add Wi-Fi technology to
Now you can connect your computer to the mobile Mi-Fi hotspot
using your computer's Wi-Fi technology!
How many computers can
a MiFi mobile broadband device?
computers can connect to a Mi-Fi device at the same time.
Smartphones with hotspot technology now often offer up to
fact, it doesn't have to be a computer/laptop that you connect to your
hotspot. It can be any
Wi-Fi enabled device such as a cell phone, Apple iTouch, iPad, Tablet,
Why five (or eight) devices? Well, it's most likely
to do with
capacity I mean that the more devices you have connecting
to the same
Internet connection (in this case a MiFi device), the slower the
connection will become. For most people just surfing the Web
checking email, you won't likely notice any affect on speed when
five devices are connected. Could you connect to
you notice a difference in speed with 10 devices? Maybe,
five is the current standard. I expect that at some point
may be ways to increase that number, particularly as 4G technology
continues to expand.
Also, keep in
wireless carriers also have to consider the cost impact. In
theory, you could have five people in a small office sharing the device
for Internet access. Before MiFi, they would have to buy five
modems and five plans, whereas now they only have to buy one device
and one plan! So if wireless carriers allowed 10 or 20 people
connect at the same time, not only would the user experience start to
deteriorate (i.e. slow connection speed), but they would lose a lot of
I keep it in my bag?
A Mi-Fi device is just like a Wi-Fi router, and can be
accessed from ~32m (or 120ft) away.
because it has its own power source (i.e. battery) you can leave it in
your pocket or bag, or in the corner of your office and still access
it. If you're on the go, you'll probably find that you use
battery feature a lot. If you're using it all day though (ex.
a remote office or spending all day in a bookstore), you'll want to
plug it in. You can either plug it directly into the outlet
the wall, or you can plug it into a powered USB port on your computer.
Note, however, that many computers don't provide power to
plugged into USB unless the computer itself is plugged in.
bottom line is that you have options. Plug it into your
keep in in your pocket or bag running on the battery, or plug it into
also usually a sleep feature when
battery mode. What this means is that when you're not
the Internet for a period of time, the device will enter a sleep mode
to conserve battery power. In the MiFi devices I've seen, you
have to push the button on the mobile hotspot to wake it up.
can usually disable this feature, which can be inconvenient if the
device is not within arm's reach, but will mean that your battery will
die faster if you don't let it sleep when not in use. They're
said to last four hours with continuous use,
40 hours on standby.
What about security?
might be asking yourself whether or not your neighbors, or the guy next
to you in the bookstore can steal your connection.
is no! You have access to administration rights to the device
that allow you to specifically give permission to the five devices that
are allowed to access your mobile hotspot. Just remember that
you need to set this up; by default, the network will be open for
anyone to access.