Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Novatel MiFi 2200 Makes YOU a WiFi Hotspot

If that's a WiFi hotspot in your pocket, they're going to be glad to see you. That is, if you're willing to share. For making instant friends, the MiFi has more potential than a box of hot donuts. Just be the only one on the bus or in the waiting room with broadband connectivity and you'll have them eating out of your hand.

Novatel MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. Click for details. What's a MiFi? It's the latest mobile Internet gadget, and perhaps the product introduction of the year. You've seen those little portable routers that you can carry in your briefcase? This is better. This is a WiFi hotspot that slips into a shirt pocket. With it you can provide 3G connectivity to up to 5 WiFi devices within a 30 foot radius.

How does it work? The Novatel MiFi combines a wireless modem aircard with a wireless router in a package smaller than a touchscreen cellphone or a good size candy bar. It measures a mere 2.5" x 2.3" x 0.4" and weighs-in at 2.1 oz. In addition to the aircard and router, there's a rechargeable Li-Ion battery good for 4 hours of continuous use and 40 hours of standby. There's also a micro-USB connector so that you can plug the MiFi into a computer and charge it or use the handy wall charger as needed.

The way it works its magic is that the wireless modem aircard connects to a cellular broadband signal, in this case one from Verizon Wireless towers. Verizon has been a leader in 3G wireless for cell phones using the EV-DO data standard. The MiFi will run on just about any Verizon tower signal it can get, although some out in the boonies might be on the slower 1XRTT standard. That means that anywhere you can get reliable Verizon cellular service, you can have an Internet connection for your hotspot.

Now, you have a choice. You can keep the MiFi hidden discretely in your pocket or bag and just say that your laptop computer is configured to pick up cellular broadband. Or you can be generous and offer to share your mobile Internet signal with up to 4 other grateful nearby users. That's the function of the built-in wireless router. It works just like the one at home, except no wires.

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