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Product Review: Verizon's MiFi™2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot

By Andrew Pollack on 06/04/2009 at 09:47 PM EDT

You're not as connected as I am. If that's not true, you're a pretty unusually connected person. When I'm not in the office, I've used cellular tower based connections for several years. Originally it was just a cellular modem, then Verizon upgraded the network to "1xRTT" which gave speeds comparable to a dial-up line at home. EVDO came out and we boosted to the speed of a cheap DSL connection, and now with EVDO Rev A we can be connected almost anywhere with speeds nearly as good as any hotel or coffee shop wireless system.

It just got much, much better.

Verizon's "MiFi™2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot" is a WiFi router that you can carry in your shirt pocket. The best thing I can say about it is that it actually does everything it promises to do.

This little unit featres one button activation and no software to install. True, if you want to use it as a connected modem you could install the VZ Manager connection software -- you don't need to and won't want to. Left on its own, it acts just like the wifi router you use at home or at the office. You connect to it with a browser for configuration, set up you security and use it just like the one at home. It automatically connects to the cellular network and handles your traffic - just like you'd expect.

Details as follows:

Speed -- It outperforms the EVDO Rev A card I've had in my laptop for the last year or so. It feels like a good hotel wireless connection. It isn't my home network, but it's damn good. I can very easily watch my slingbox across it.

Reception -- Better than any cell phone or cellular modem I have. Better still, if you're in a hotel or meeting room where you can get signal by the window but not where you want to sit -- no problem. Just turn it on and set it by the window (or tape it right onto the window if you want). Let it connect from where it wants because you can sit across the room connected to it with WiFi.

Battery -- In practice, about 2-3 hours of connected time. Better news, is that the battery is user-replaceable. I picked up a spare that I keep charged and right near by. When you're not on battery, the charging port is the new micro-usb style connector so you can charge it from your laptop, from its charger, or from a ton of cheap after market usb chargers.

Muti-User -- Up to 5 connections are supported at the same time. That means everyone at the table if you're doing a quick coffee shop review before you go visit the client. It means your wife and you kid can share it on long road trip.

Multi-Device -- Because it's just WiFi, you can use it with anything that does WiFi. Your Nintendo DS, your iTouch, your laptop, your netbook -- and you don't have to pick which to take based on how you want to connect.

Cost -- A cellular connection monthly subscription may be expensive for you if you don't travel and don't use it much. At $50 a month, I save more than that on what I'd be paying for hotspot access and hotel room wireless charges. On top of that, I don't have to be near the hotspot or hotel room to use it.

Other Cool Uses:

One of the things I like most is using it with the eye-fi card in my digital camera. I can turn on this wifi router and drop it in my shirt pocket or backpack, then take my pictures where ever I want. The eye-fi card knows about the little router, and the pictures are up on my server, or Flickr or wherever I want -- almost instantly.

Bottom Line: This is that rare tech gadget that yo purchase and have no regrets about at all. It does exactly what it says, exactly as it says it will.

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Product Review: Verizon's MiFiu21222200 Intelligent Mobile HotspotBy Matt Cook on 06/05/2009 at 11:09 AM EDT
How configurable is the router/firewall? Can I configure DHCP and address
ranges etc.? Will it do DDNS updates?
Good QuestionsBy Andrew Pollack on 06/05/2009 at 11:55 AM EDT
You can set most of what you could on any wifi router.

Security type and passkeys, ssid, etc.
Local Network Address (does seem to want c or smaller subnet mask)
VPN (IPSEC) Support
Port Forwarding (for common ports - not all)
DMZ (for the rest of the ports to forward)

DHCP seems to auto-select the 5 addresses next in line from the LAN IP address
you pick. I'm not sure if you can override that.

Interestingly, if you choose to save the config file as a backup locally, all
the settings are clear text in a straightforward XML file format. I'm not sure
which can be changed -- but possibly all of them I suppose.
re: Product Review: Verizon's MiFiu21222200 Intelligent Mobile HotspotBy Richard Schwartz on 06/07/2009 at 10:27 AM EDT
So, what does the device cost? And what does the service cost?
re: Product Review: Verizon's MiFiu21222200 Intelligent Mobile HotspotBy Andrew Pollack on 06/07/2009 at 10:57 AM EDT
The unit was $50 w/ contract. Rate plans are available for $40 or $60
depending on how you want to use it. The cheaper one comes with 250 megs of
data per month, which is not a good deal unless you're planning to use it only
for text or infrequently. The more expensive plan has 5 gigs of data per month
which - given how its used - is plenty for most people.

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