Virgin Broadband - Broadband2Go Review!
February 2016, Virgin
Mobile announced the discontinuation of its Broadband2Go product.
They're still supporting existing customers though.
actually felt they had a good mobile broadband offer, and I'm sad to
see it go. Fortunately, there are a lot of other hotspot
available that you can check out at Best
you looking for a detailed Virgin broadband review? After
receiving numerous posts to this site regarding issues with Virgin
Mobile's Broadband2Go product, I felt compelled to get some first-hand
experience with their service. Ideally I would have
experience with every prepaid broadband product on the market so that I
can contribute even more greatly to the forum discussions. It
would also be great if I had each product available on hand so that I
can test different scenarios as people post questions or issues.
Unfortunately, this isn't always practical. Mostly,
difficult to get carriers to provide test equipment, and I'm not yet at
the place where it's affordable for me to purchase the equipment and
plans; hopefully at some point in the future this will be a
possibility! Due to the significant number of posts, and the
extremely high rank that this site gets related to prepaid broadband
topics, and even ranking higher in Google for a number of Broadband2Go
keywords/topics than Virgin's own site, I reached out to Virgin via
Twitter for some help. They graciously agreed to send me a
prepaid modem (a Novatel MiFi
2200) and one month of service.
I have the Sprint version of the Novatel MiFi 2200 MiFi modem available
that I've been using for about a year, I have a great point of
reference for comparison. They offered to have it
for me, however, I expressed my interest in having a true customer
experience and going through all of the steps on my own as would any
customer. Here you'll find my experience!
Although Virgin Mobile sent me the modem for review, please
assured that I am in no way affiliated with them, nor am
compensated by them to provide a positive review. As is, has
always been, and will always remain the case, this site is a neutral,
objective, non-biased resource for prepaid wireless and prepaid
broadband information. In other words, please rest assured
the feedback you read here is genuinely my experience, good, bad, or
sent me the modem in the retail packaging, which is a plastic
clamshell, along with a Broadband2Go pamphlet and a $40 topup card.
Being very familiar with clamshell packaging, I knew to
immediately enlist the help of
sturdy scissors to open it up.
I immediately discarded the plastic shell as it can have very
sharp edges that I don't want my two-year-old around.
speaking, I found the packaging to have clear messaging and a clean,
simple look, which I liked. It's often the case where
(for wireless or any other product for that matter) becomes too
cluttered and noisy that it gives me a headache just looking at it.
Box contained all of the
- MiFi modem
- Soft case for the modem
- Wall charger
cable said to be for charging with a USB cigarette lighter adapter
(when plugged into a computer USB port, the WiFi component of the modem
- A starter pamphlet/guide
- Legal terms and conditions
Broadband - Modem
inserted the battery and charged it for a number of hours before using
it. Getting a good initial charge on lithium ion batteries is
very important for battery conditioning. I then
activation instructions on the pamphlet, which were very clear easy to
understand. The SSID and password were printed on sticker
the back of the MiFi device, which made things very easy. I
into the MiFi administrator page
activation wizard. I liked the easy to remember site
address,which is usually http://192.168.1.1 for other MiFi devices (ex.
Sprint, Verizon). The steps were easy to follow and virtually
identical to the Sprint MiFi process that I have also experienced in
In fact, you can load the http://192.168.1.1 address,
resolves to the same Virgin interface. If I connect
Sprint MiFi and login to the Sprint admin page, and then connect to the
Virgin Broadband2Go MiFi, the admin page is still Sprint branded but
indicates that I'm connected to the Virgin MiFi. However,
refreshing the page, or clicking on any menu option results in the
reappearance of the Virgin mobile MiFi branded site. Probably
for anyone per se, but an interesting tidbit nonetheless.
went smoothly until the end where it said that I had successfully
activated the device, but then proceeded to present me with an message
that "something went
wrong" and that I had to call to speak to a
representative to complete the activation. I proceeded
and everything worked find despite this message. For some
receiving this message would have stopped them in their tracks
requiring a call, which most certainly muddies the activation
Broadband - Plan
completion of the activation wizard, I following the directions to add
money to the account. Virgin clearly has an objective to get
to use a credit card, as the credit card option is quite in your face
and very prominent throughout the My Account screen flows. I
able to quickly find the option to topup using a topup card, and
proceeded to redeem the $40 topup card that they had given me.
It's inferred that any Virgin mobile topup card can be used
add money to the account, which I think is a great feature.
Cricket, on the other hand, requires that you buy a specific
broadband topup card, which can complicates the purchase experience,
and can cause a lot of aggravation if you're not careful.
successfully adding the money to the account by entering in the PIN
number on the back of the card, I was able to select the $40, 30 day
unlimited plan. The other option was the $10, 10 days, 100MB
plan. Note that the $20, 30 days, 1GB plan is only available
purchased at Walmart.
Broadband - My
activation process included taking me through the My Account setup on
the Virgin Mobile USA site. In fact, it's in My Account that
added the topup card and selected the plan. I have to say
was quite a smooth experience; much better than I had expected it would
be. In My Account, I can also prominently see the following
- MB Used
- Expires on:
- As of time and date
- Refresh button
those not on an unlimited plan, being able to easily monitor your usage
is extremely useful. Even with an unlimited plan, with the
"reasonable use" clause, you can see if you're going over the 5GB
threshold, after which they can throttle or shut off your service.
Broadband to my PC
first I had trouble connecting because I confused the MiFi admin login
password that I had setup with the password for the modem itself (the
one printed on the sticker on the back of the MiFi device).
I figured out that [stupid!] mistake, I was able to connect
no problems to my two laptops with ease (as expected). The
default SSID of the Broadband2Go MiFi modem is "VirginMobile MiFi2200
EDC Secure". I recommend always keeping password protection
ensure that others don't use your connection, which could result in
speed impacts, as well as consume your MB allowance (if you're not on
the unlimited plan).
Broadband - Speed!
the setup process was relatively smooth, when all is said and done,
speed is really going to drive the overall long term experience, and
how happy we are with the product, and whether we're going to continue
using it and recommend it (or not) to others. Let's just say
this is where I experienced mixed results with Virgin
speedtest.net to test actual speed, although having had a lot of
experience with mobile broadband, I can judge performance quite well
via simple Web surfing. The speed registered from 1XRTT
(300-400 kpbs) to blazing fast EVDO RevA speeds (800 kpbs - 1.7 Mb/s!).
To be fair, I have to disclose that I've been having speed
(not coverage issues) in my house with Sprint over the past 6 months.
After over three years of using Sprint broadband service in
home with no issues, in mid-2010 I started experiencing what can only
be described as extremely schizophrenic performance. At one
earlier in the year, I spent hours on the phone with advanced Sprint
tech support. They blamed the performance, and even some
on their work to upgrade the network to 4G (WiMAX), however,
performance has yet to return to normal, and it's likely that I'll need
to revert to a cable modem to ensure consistent speeds.
the point being that testing in my home is not likely typical, but is
indicative of inconsistent performance you might find with Sprint
depending on the coverage/tower performance/congestion in the areas
where you would use these devices. I was able to conclude,
however, that the Virgin broadband performance from what I can tell
is identical to that of Sprint's postpaid mobile broadband products.
So while you won't be able to roam with a Sprint prepaid
broadband product, when you're in native Sprint coverage areas, you'll
be getting the same performance as you would on postpaid. Of
course, there may be quality of service prioritization that Sprint
imposes that could impact its prepaid products/brands, however, from my
experience comparing Sprint's MiFi device to Virgin's Broadband2Go
modem, they both performed equally.
Broadband - MiFi
I found that battery life never quite made it to 4 hours, but usually
more in the 2.5 - 3.5 range. One thing to note, though, is
reception in my house (where I was mostly testing it) is not fantastic.
This can drain the battery faster as the modem intentionally
boosts its power in an attempt to get a better signal.
speaking, however, as much as I love MiFi devices, they do represent
yet another battery to have to think about compared to PC Card and USB
modems. Note, also, that by default when the device is
into your computer via USB (i.e. charging), the WiFi capability is
disabled. I found instructions to disable this limitation
enable WiFi while plugged in), however, I have yet to try it.
all of the negative feedback/reviews regarding people having difficulty
using VPN using Virgin Broadband, I was eager to test this.
turned out to be a very quick test as I launched my VPN client and
logged on with no problems at all. Now that's not to say that
everyone will have this experience. Depending on how your IT
department has configured its VPN client, I understand that this can be
more challenging, and perhaps require playing around with some
additional manual settings. For me, however, it was a
experience with no issues to report.
Word About USB Modems
The wonderful thing about MiFi hotspot devices is that customers and
carriers don't have to worry about computer device driver and
installation issues. As a number of people have complained
issues with Virgin broadband USB modem installation, hopefully at some
point I'll be able to test a Virgin Broadband2Go USB modem and share my
experience with the initial installation. For now, people
for support on troubleshooting USB broadband modem installation, please
visit the following pages for helpful tips and tricks provided by
Prepaid Broadband2Go Tech Support Problems
Mobile Broadband2Go "could not update the phone book file"
January 2011, Virgin announced that it was putting a cap on its
unlimited Virgin broadband plan at 5GB. Most other prepaid
postpaid carriers have already done the same in an attempt to maintain
network performance for the majority of its users who don't abuse the
network. Virgin won't be shutting off your service after 5GB,
however, they will be reducing speeds to the point where the average
user will certainly notice massive speed degradation. I would
argue that it's so poor at that point that it becomes virtually
unusable. If you're using an email client like Outlook, you
should be just fine, however, even browsing basic Internet pages will
quickly become frustrating. While I understand the need to
protect the network quality, with today's usage trends, I believe that
10GB is a much more reasonable limit to set. Needless to say,
expect that advertising its Virgin broadband plan as being "unlimited"
will disappear before too long.
Overall I found the Virgin MiFi Broadband2Go and service to be very
good, and certainly on par with that of Sprint in terms of coverage
within the native Sprint 3G network and speed. If you're the
of person who primarily uses email and Internet, with the occasional
YouTube video clip (i.e. not full movies), not only will the speed be
more than adequate (assuming you have coverage where you use it), but
the 5GB limit that Virgin now has on its "unlimited" plan should also
be plenty. If, however, you want to stream videos, you'll
cable, DSL, or 4G
wireless to get satisfactory performance.
Generally speaking, I don't have any major issues or
complaints. However, I need to note again that due to the
that I was using the MiFi device, I'm unable to comment on the USB
modem installation issues that people took issue with. Should
get the opportunity to test that device, I will post an update here.
you have your own experience with the Virgin Mobile MiFi device,
Broadband2Go service, or would like to share comments regarding this
review, please link over to Virgin
, and scroll to the bottom of the page where
you'll find a "Click here to post comments" link.