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Going Mobile With Verizon MiFi and Samsung NC10

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3543147483_5fc15b0aa6I’m in the parking lot at WalMart while my son is inside soliciting donations for his Eagle Scout project. I thought I’d take this little bit of free time to play with the Verizon MiFi 2200. Here’s how things are going.

It was a breeze to activate the MiFi since I already had the Verizon VZAccess Manager installed. I just plugged the MiFi in using the included sync cable and clicked Activate within the VZAccess Manager program. After activation, I unplugged the MiFi and then found the factory configured SSID in my available wireless networks and clicked “Connect”. I keyed in the security key, and then I was off and browsing the internets.

After getting connected, I browsed to the router address at 192.168.1.1, logged in to the router control panel and relabeled the SSID to something  more personal. I also reset the security key. In case you choose to keep things with their factory settings, the MiFi has a label on the back with the SSID and security key so you don’t have to remember it.

3543953920_19366ced88_mFor my work and family life, the MiFi is going to be a much better solution than my old USB aircard. During times when my daughter is in the hospital, I”m going to be able to easily share my internet connection with my wife and daughter since I’ll have an instant WiFi router wherever we are – assuming the cell signal is decent. Another benefit the MiFi card offers is being able to place the modem / router in the best signal location, which is often next to a window. In addition to those benefits, I’ll also be able to use my Eye-Fi card in my point/shoot camera with the MiFi router, allowing instant uploads of my high-res pictures wherever I am.

For work purposes, it gets even better. Since the MiFi is also a  wireless router cell modem, I no longer lose the use of one of my USB ports, which the aircard took up. My USB aircard was also quite wide, and depending on the computer and its’ USB port layout, I would often lose the use of two ports.

This summer, I’ve hired an intern to help me with various projects going on around my office. He’ll be my shadow wherever I go. Since we’ll both be carrying either netbooks or tablet pcs, we’ll both be able to get on the internet at the same time while away from the office. While GBM is covering CES 2010, the MiFi will also be a huge productivity boost, allowing up to five of us to be on the internet at the same time, as well as take advantage of the MiFi + Eye-Fi marriage benefits.

I also meet  a lot  of my clients at various coffee shops around town. Some have free WiFi, while others do not. In addition, libraries are a great place to meet and usually have free WiFi, but normally have  slow firewalls monitoring traffic. Having this portable wireless router now gives me and my client the freedom to both be online at the same time while we go over their needs. That’s service!

The only downside I can see so far is battery life. Fortunately, I can recharge the modem using the sync cable and the USB port on my computer. In addition, I have a USB auto adapter, as well as a power inverter for my car. I do envision having to get a second battery for those times, like when I’m out taking pictures, I won’t have an opportunity to recharge the router.

 All in all, I have to say that I’ve not been this excited about a connectivity solution in a long time. My mobile scenario just improved greatly and it isn’t costing me any more per month than I used to pay. I’m looking forward to all the benefits the MiFi will bring me over my old USB aircard.

As the Founding Editor for GottaBeMobile.com, Rob oversaw the growth and overall direction for content, advertising, and management of the site. Keep up with Rob at RobBushway.com Send email to Rob

12 Comments

  1. Jesse Murphy

    05/18/2009 at 4:50 pm

    Very nice piece on the MiFi device! It is great to see other companies breaking into the mobile broadband market, there’s a lot of potential left to explore. More companies pushing the industry will help make it a widely recognized connectivity tool. CradlePoint Technology has been heading-up the market and perfecting their products for several years now. Their WiPipe technology and freedom to choose any provider really saves money and enables users to access higher speed browsing, utilize a longer signal range (150’ plus), provide access to even more people and do it all with guaranteed security. Might be worth checking out if your looking for a more controlled way to stay connected.

  2. Kupe

    05/18/2009 at 4:53 pm

    Thanks for the great review Rob. As has happened many other times in the past few years, when you get this excited about a device, I feel obligated to buy it. My Mifi 2200 arrives tomorrow on the Fedex truck!

  3. Donna M.

    05/18/2009 at 5:51 pm

    How does its performance compare to, say, running WMWiFiRouter on a Windows Mobile phone?

  4. Rob Bushway

    05/18/2009 at 5:54 pm

    @donna – I don’t know. I don’t have a Windows Mobile phone and WMWiFiRouter to test it with.

  5. Charles Jannace

    05/18/2009 at 5:54 pm

    I’m dying to hear how much your first bill is from Verizon. Sounds like you use 5GBs before breakfast. (I’m holding back on buying one until Verizon changes this stingy policy.)

  6. Rodfather

    05/18/2009 at 6:05 pm

    Overall, it’s great so far, but I have a few gripes.

    When you plug the MiFi into a computer (my netbook), it’ll go into USB modem mode. The WiFi router will not kick in when plugged into a PC.

    So if you plan on charging the WiFi with a PC and want to share its connection with multiple devices, it’s not going to happen. You’ll have to charge with an AC adapter/car adapter/USB charger.

    Plus, if you plug the MiFi into a PC/USB charger, it’ll constantly stay on. If you try to turn it off, it’ll automatically turn itself on. This may be an issue if a nearby device automatically connects to the MiFi and end up using all the quota.

  7. Kevin Allen Purcell

    05/18/2009 at 7:32 pm

    I just got one of these today and I like it. I was surfing on my laptop at a coffee ship within 20 minutes of leaving the local VZW store. Then I plugged it into the cig lighter on my van and was on the web with my ipod touch in the park as the boys kicked a soccer ball. Of course that was after I was tired out after 40 minutes.

    Sadly a rated battery life of 4 hours is disappointing. So I won’t have it unplugged a lot. But keeping it charged in the car while driving will allow me to take it in where I need to go with my touch.

  8. Brook

    05/18/2009 at 8:05 pm

    I am using a tekkeon mp3450, it will charge the MiFi and my viliv s5, only wish it could charge the samsung :( but I am sure any of the portable battery packs that have a 5V USB charger should work.

  9. Genghis Khent

    05/18/2009 at 10:20 pm

    Rob, I’d blame you for getting me hooked on the MiFi but the nefarious James Kendrick beat you to it. I love it so far. It really is a game changer. One question though. Re your use with an Eye-Fi card. Doesn’t that put a bite in your 5GB limit. Or are you careful with your picture settings so the file size isn’t many MBs each? Or am I just unclear on the concept, never having used an Eye-Fi card, though very interested in doing so.

  10. Nathan

    05/18/2009 at 10:21 pm

    The MiFi came out a few days too late for me.. I recently purchased a USB aircard. When it comes time to upgrade, I’m sure I’ll choose something like the MiFi…

    I have one concern, and perhaps you guys can provide some guidance:
    The plan I’ve selected includes 5GB of usage — how much is that, really? I VPN back to the office so I can use Outlook (downloading headers only unless I open the message), access files on the server, etc for work. Should I be careful about usage, or is 5GB alot more than I imagine it to be?

    So far, the aircard is a life and work changing little gadget — I love it.

  11. Gavin Miller

    05/19/2009 at 3:44 am

    Rodfather

    Have you tried disabling it in Device Manager, or removing the connection software from your PC?

    Just a thought that might be worth a try.

  12. Rob Bushway

    05/19/2009 at 5:01 am

    @genghis – If I take 100 pictures a month with my point / shoot, that’d be a lot. So, we are talking 150 – 200 mb per month on pictures. The rest I take with my camera.

    @nathan – you definitely need to keep a watch on it as I imagine you’d bump on it pretty close each month, depending on how many files you transfer over VPN and if you use it daily. The access manager has a dashboard that will provide the usage for you. That said, I’ve never gone over 5gb a month in the 5+ years I’ve been using pc card based aircards and usb based air cards.

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