Friday, June 12, 2009

MiFi Hotspot Comes to Sprint

Wait! What's that slim silver box? Is that a cigarette case in your pocket? If so, how retro is that?

No? It's actually a WiFi hotspot? How avant-garde is THAT?

The silver case is actually the new Novatel MiFi 2200 Personal HotSpot for Sprint PC wireless service. A WiFi hotspot? Yes, indeed. OK, so where do you plug it in and where's the RJ-45 network connection?

You don't plug it in. It's wireless and portable. There's no power cube, no network cable, no stubby rubber antenna. All you see is a silver case that could be concealed in your palm or shirt pocket. There's a button on the front to activate it and LED indicators so you know the operational and battery status. But make no mistake about it, this is really a WiFi hotspot that performs as well or better than the ones you find in the coffee shop.

What's inside that slim silver case is a cellular transceiver that connects to the Sprint PCS data network. It runs the EVDO Rev 0 and Rev A mobile broadband protocols, with fallback to the slower 1xRTT if necessary. Peak download speed is 3. 1 Mbps. That's a LOT faster than what I've been seeing on the free restaurant WiFi services.

The other component inside the box is a WiFi transceiver that works with just about any Wi-Fi enabled device from laptop computer to gaming console to digital photo frame. Like any good hotspot this one reaches out 10 meters or 30 feet. You may not care about a 30 foot radius if you've got it in your shirt pocket, but your eager friends will. That's because this hotspot will support up to 5 simultaneous users. Be kind and share with family and friends. Or hog it to yourself. Security includes WPA2-PSK, WEB and SPI Firewall. That should keep the unworthy wretches from slowing down your connection and using up your 5 GB monthly bandwidth quota. Wretches, meaning those people who use to speak to you before you started bogarting your broadband.

Oh, there's one other important component inside your MiFi 2200. It's the 1150 mAh Li-ion battery. Like a cell phone or digital camera, this battery is both small and potent. You'll get up to 4 hours of continual usage for a single Wi-Fi client. Standby time is up to 40 hours. How do you recharge it? With the included wall charger or through a USB cable connected to your computer. That could be the same computer that makes use of the cellular broadband service provided by the MiFi. It's a symbiotic relationship.

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