Sprint MiFi

by Don

I’ve been using the Sprint MiFi Novatel 2200 for awhile now, and I absolutely love it! I used to use a PC card broadband modem, and quite honestly it was a pain in the butt to switch it between the computers in my house. I could never have all of my computers connected at the same time, and I found it to be such an inconvenience. So when MiFi came to the market, I jumped on it because I thought it was such a great concept.

When it first came out it seemed like such a foreign concept, but now I couldn’t imagine living without it. And a lot of newer Google Android phones are including hotspot (i.e. MiFi) functionality. The Sprint MiFi has been so reliable for me. I usually connect 2 or 3 computers at once, as well as an iPod Touch, and I don’t notice any speed degradation at all. You can connect up to 5 devices at the same time.

I do have to say that I do find it a little annoying to have to worry about the battery and whether or not it’s fully charged. With my old PC card I didn’t have to worry about a battery at all because it was drawing power from my laptop. I guess the good thing about having a battery in the Sprint MiFi device is that it doesn’t drain my laptop battery. But once the MiFi hotspot battery runs out I have to plug it into my laptop (via USB), and then the WiFi capability is disabled. That’s when I’m not near a power outlet, which is often when I’m on the go! I have NO IDEA why Sprint would have it work this way. Why would they want to disable the WiFi feature while it’s plugged
in? It doesn’t make any sense to me at all! Anyway, I found a way to “crack” this restriction, and now I can actually plug it in to my computer and have it charge while also using the WiFi functionality. It took some work to figure this out, but it was well worthwhile! The instructions were actually for a Verizon MiFi device, but because it’s the same Novatel 2200, it worked like a charm.

Anyway, the reason why I’m posting this review on a prepaid site is because when I learned about Sprint launching the MiFi device under the Virgin brand, I thought that it was a great idea. The plan is actually the same price on Sprint and Virgin ($60/month for 5GB). Although the Sprint MiFi device is now going for $0, I bought it when it was $99. Virgin is selling the device for $149. To avoid the contract, I definitely would have paid the extra 50 bucks!

It really doesn’t seem to make sense to sign up for a contact for a Sprint MiFi when you can get the exact same device for the same plan amount. Mind you, the Sprint version is now $0, but you get the benefit of being able to switch plans on a month to month basis with Virgin to meet your data needs. So, if you’re not using the device that much in a particular month, you can buy one of the cheaper plans, or if you’re going on vacation for awhile, you can simply not pay the $60 for that particular month.

Another point is that the Sprint network has been amazingly reliable with great data speeds for my usage. So it’s not as though you need to sacrifice performance to go prepaid. MiFi is such a great product idea; I love it!

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Jul 28, 2010
MiFi Info and Resources
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

I meant to post a few links to additional info on this topic that visitors may find useful:

MiFi (overview)

Mobile Hotspot (additional info)

Best MiFi Plans

Jul 28, 2010
Sprint vs. Virgin MiFi
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

Great review; thank you for your comments! The only thing I wanted to note is that there's a difference between the Sprint and Virgin implementation of the MiFi device. Actually, the difference exists for all broadband (and voice handsets) as well. The difference being that Sprint doesn't have the same network coverage for its postpaid vs. prepaid offerings.

Basically, when you're on prepaid, you're on the Sprint network. Although the network is great as you noted (and certainly nationwide), Sprint makes use of roaming agreements to get coverage in areas where they don't actually have their own towers. They don't charge for roaming on their roaming partners data (and voice) networks when you're on postpaid, however, when you're on prepaid, you don't get access to these roaming partners at all.

So, the key is to make sure that you have coverage where you plan on using the device, and don't assume that just because your Sprint phone works in a particular region that your prepaid broadband device will also work. This is the case particularly in rural areas.

Again, a great review, but just wanted to add this caveat ;-).

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