Pros Compact design and portability. Handles multiple computers.
Cons Has trouble handling tower conflicts when not actually mobile (moving). Very short battery life (even Verizon admits this is an issue).
Summary The tower switching issue relates to having a very weak (no bars) that is 3G and a strong signal with 2G. This has been an issue with every device I've ever had (GSM, PCS, etc). It would seem the internal software still can't learn that a strong 2G signal is preferable to a very weak 3G one, and it keeps switching between the two. This can cause a variety of connection problems many of us hard core mobile users have been dealing with for years.
For the majority of mobile computing junkies like myself, the MiFi 2200 works great, and the cost for service is right in line with those with far less to offer when it comes to coverage and network capacity. We use two laptops with the device. As an over-the-road trucker, coverage is everything, and Verizon has it. It may not be as fast as others, but if you can't get even a weak signal to work, what good is their service? Thus far, even in West Virginia (where I'm writing this), the device works just fine, and coverage surpasses two other carriers I've used, including one who dumped 50% of their coverage so they can claim to have a faster average speed!
While I would love not to have a 5 GB limit (I hat having to keep track of things like that), I'm one of the few that gets why the limit is there. Put simply, there are too many selfish people who would gladly eat up all the bandwidth capacity, as AT&T is learning with the iPad, making even placing a phone call on their network difficult. Back when cellular mobile computing had no limits, many businesses bought "personal" service plans and then used them to get their office networks online. It only takes a few to ruin it for everyone else, and some people just can't help but push it to the breaking point. Again, the iPad, which has an unlimited data plan, with users downloading tens of gigabytes of data daily, driving off other mobile computing customers who pay twice as much for limited service that now works about as well as the slowest possible dial-up service.
Having said that, Verizon would do well, especially with devices like this one, to offer more bandwidth if they want to keep limits to prevent abuse, or perhaps to emulate those with no limits who throttle the speed back on those who abuse a truly unlimited service.
Okay, the device itself, from a trucker's perspective...
With the exception of the tower issue I pointed out earlier, this device works great. We have two laptops sharing the device via WiFi, and no problems thus far, regardless of location. One thing I was unprepared for was that the device talks! It warns us when in extended (read slow connection speed) service areas, when no signal is found, and when it reconnects to the Verizon network. On the advice from Verizon, we keep the device plugged in all the time to a power source. While the device does get power from the computer's USB port, Verizon has warned me this would shut down the WiFi functionality. We used the home computer to set the device up, and then mounted it stand-alone in the cab area of our big rig. We have the option to run the device of the USB port on our power inverter, but opted to use the supplied 120v adapter through a surge suppressor instead, to protect the device. A 12v adapter would have been nice, given the intended use for it, but none was supplied.
Tower switching, as I mentioned, can be twitchy, a problem with every cellular modem I've used, regardless of the carrier. This can be overcome with a wireless cellular amplifier in most cases, which can also increase the range of the device when in very remote areas.
Software is supplied on the device for single computer use, which installs automatically, or manually for those like myself who shut down the auto-play feature of their computer. Before installing for the first time on any computer, call Verizon first to activate the device, or you will encounter problems quickly (like we did). The software is straight-forward and easy to understand, and appears to work well with Vista 64-bit and XP computers (the two platforms we use.
To access the device (once activated and set up) via WiFi, simply disconnect from the computer, plug in the 120v power supply, and then go into your computer's network settings and set up your WiFi as usual. It is a secure connection, and the required password is both on the device and on a small information card (handy when you have the device mounted somewhere inconvenient, but have a new computer you wish to add to the WiFi).
As I mentioned in the intro, the device works as advertised, and has met the expectations I have for mobile computing nothing and no one else has been able to meet.
"It works... BUT!"on by kvanderw
Pros Was able to see 4 hours of HULU without problem.
Was able to connect my Laptop and iPhone concurrently.
Cons Sales people answered all questions wrong!
#1) cannot connect USB to laptop for charging (WWAN mode) and use WIFI at the same time.
#2) Power bars seem worthless indicators.
#3) Seems like WWAN (direct connect) is faster/more reliable than WIFI.
Summary My comments are based on the single unit that I own. I have now idea if this anomalous or normal.
First of all, we will ignore the sales clerks. Why should we expect them to be properly trained?
So, lets get to the workings of the device.
I love the size.
I like the Hotspot nature.
But, when reality sets in, I have some real problems with the way this 'easy' device works.
I should admit that I am on a MAC. Not a PC.
The software was written by Smith Micro. Seems to be pattern here. They wrote the software for my previous dongle as well. Apparently, they only know and understand the windows world. After the software was installed for the WWAN mode, the idiots actually forced my machine to reboot. I haven't rebooted that MAC in months. Never needed to. And I highly doubt the requirement here. But oh well, the software is installed and I have re-opened all my apps.
There are two modes of operation. WWAN (Attached via USB cable to computer) and WIFI. At least with my device, these seem to be mutually exclusive. So, the short answer is that I can share my WIFI with others for 2.5 hours. Then, I must find a power source or plug the device into the USB. At which point, the WWAN takes over and the WIFI turns off. It still works well for my laptop... but all other devices that wanted to connect via WIFI are toast!.
Sales told me I could connect via Ethernet. Apparently, they don't know the difference between USB and ethernet. The proper answer was USB.
Another anomaly.... When I take the MIFI2200 out of my bag and plug it in... The power light comes on... BUT NO COMPUTER SEES THE WIFI. I guess that it is in some kind of hibernate mode. I ended up having to unplug it from power, press the power button, discover it on the network, AND THEN.... I could apply power to the device for long term wifi usage.
I am sure I can get past all these problems and learn the spells and incantations necessary to use the device. But the reviews about 'super easy''.... Not here and not for me.
I mean come on.... This is supposed to support up to 5 devices concurrently. That is the reason for acquisition. I wanted to avoid an additional charge on 2 new iPads.... I travel a lot. I loved my previous dongle and if all I am doing is replacing that for one device.... This device makes for a bigger, heavier, unit with power requirements and longer tails... So much for technology that gets more efficient and smaller over time.
But if it is a device for 5 units... Then automatically shutting down the WIFI because I need to charge the device is arrogantly STUPID on the part of the designers.
I do believe that there may be a simple solution the the WWAN / NOT WIFI dilema. Since the device DOES work as a WIFI when plugged into the wall. And since both the WWAN cable and Power cable use the same connection point on the MIFI2200... Then we just need a USB cable that has all the leads CUT except for the power leads. I am guessing that the device sees the data lines on the cable with signal and that indicates to the MIFI2200 to shut down the WIFI.
That is my 2 cents.
Can't find something better, so I will live with it for now.... but hardly the super product of all the reviews that I have read.
Pros Works all the time anytime and wherever I am at.
Works out of the box with my laptops,desktops, IMac, Mac Laptop and even my iphone !
Battery life is really good
Everything you need is included and in the box.
5 gigibytes is a LOT of usage
Cons Have not found one in two years of usage. And I am hard to please !
Summary If all routers had the advance features of this unit in the little package it is in, we would all be better off !
Pros Great range, works fine, no serious problems installing or using it so far
Cons Supports 1 wired connection (via USB) and up to 5 wireless connections BUT NOT AT THE SAME TIME. You can either use it as a wireless hotspot or for one computer via USB, but not both at the same time!
Summary I signed on with Verizon when they had unlimited data plans, so I'm grandfathered in luckily. I always used their USB modem to connect my desktop to their network. My wife recently purchased a laptop and wanted it on the Internet as well, so I called Verizon to see what I needed to do. They told me I needed the MIFI device. I was able to get it for free (sort of...I had to renew my contract with them). When I installed it on my desktop it worked fine. But the laptop would not see the wireless network. I called Verizon and they told me when its connected via USB, it disables the wireless mode so only one computer can be connected at a time. I ended up having to buy a wireless USB adapter for my desktop, but now both are on the internet and working fine. No real problems yet, but it does sometimes just stop for no reason.
Pros size it's very small. Speed is very good.
Cons battery life when it's not plugged in.
Summary I have had the vzw service for a while now and I love it. I never come close to the 5gb and I use it a lot. Plus I hated paying comcast $150 a month and I could only use my computer at home. I know can take my computer anywhere and I have the internet with me. Plus I don't have to search for wifi or pay for wifi like at certain airports and hotels now.