After a couple of days wait, my new mobile hotspot, the Verizon Mifi 2200 made by Novatel, arrived today. Out of the box, the battery needed a charge but once the Mifi had sat plugged into the wall for a bit, it was ready to go. Simple as plugging into my Mac via the included micro mini USB to USB port cord (more on USB power cord confusion, if you’re curious). It appeared on the desktop as a CD with the Verizon VZAccess Manager program available to install. A double click there got that bit installed and running, which was required to activiate the Mifi. After the initial activation, no cords are needed to use the Mifi.
Within seconds, the Mifi was connected to the Internet over Verizon’s cellular EVDO mobile broadband network and, simultaneously, acting as a Wifi hotspot for any Wifi-enabled devices in the area. Sweet.
Mifi worked great connecting my laptop and my iPod Touch. The tiny Mifi runs an encrypted wifi network, so only someone who knows the password (listed on a sticker on its base) can join. There aren’t many buttons — just one that turns the power on and off. It’s also quite tiny and featherweight. In addition to the USB cord, there’s a power adapter and a felt-like carrying case. Very simple.
Upload and download speeds were excellent, as measured by Speakeasy’s speed test. The Mifi downloaded at 2,467 kilobits per second and uploaded at 464 kbps. The download rate easily beat my existing Sprint Novatel U720 modem, which averaged a download speed of 1,186 kbps. The Sprint modem (which connects via a USB port) uploaded at 505 kbps, slightly faster than the Mifi. Neither mobile broadband solution can match my home FIOS connection over 5 GHz Wifi. FIOS hit 6,253 kbps on downloads and uploaded at the astounding rate of 3,657 kbps.
So the bottom line is that the Verizon Mifi 2200 is a great mobile broadband solution for laptops and provides the added benefit of letting all sorts of other devices you may have — from iPods to Nintendo DS’s — get online, too. That’s a gamechanger for me. My iPod Touch becomes so much more valuable on the go now that it’s got its own mobile wifi hotspot to go along.
The one downside, of course, is Verizon’s download cap of 5 gigabytes per month under the $59.99 plan (after that, it’s 5 cents a megabyte – ouch). Sprint has the same deal but it stinks if you’re planning to rely heavily on a Mifi.
Sprint USB Modem Smacks Down Verizon (3/27/2007)