Are You A MiFi Guru?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Felasco, May 30, 2014.

  1. Felasco Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #1
    I know almost nothing about MiFi, and am interested in learning more.

    For those who know even less than I, Mifi refers to small devices which work as portable router/modems, allowing you to set up a wifi network anywhere you can get a signal.

    My goal is to create a portable net connection for my Mac laptop. I know about tethering, but don't need or want a cellphone, so am looking at MiFi instead.

    If you have and use a MiFi device, I hope you might share your experience, make vendor and product suggestions etc.

    My wife has a cellphone and an AT&T account. We have a Cox Cable net connection at home. I'm wondering if I'm going to need yet another net connection account if I want to use MiFi with my laptop. Creative thinking is welcome here.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    A Mifi device is a cellphone for all intents and purposes. It allows you to connect wirelessly to the device and communicates over LTE (or 3g if you find an older device).
     
  3. Felasco thread starter Guest

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    Oct 19, 2012
    #3
    Do you have a MiFi perhaps? And thanks for introducing me to the term in another thread.
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #4
    No I don't own one, but rather tether my phone or iPad when I need access. My needs are such that I generally can by on free wifi if I'm out and about, failing that or if I wish to ensure its a secure connection I use my phone/ipad.
     
  5. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #5
    I have a MiFi from AT&T and about 40 MiFi's from Sprint that I deployed to police agencies to connect their laptops back to my office.

    I'm not totally understanding what your goal is though. Are you looking to replace your Cox connection with a MiFi?
     
  6. Felasco thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #6
    Ok, thanks, I hear you. My needs are to compute in the woods, no free wifi there. There might not be a signal either, depending on the spot.

    I suppose bringing the net out in to the woods is probably a pretty bad idea to begin with anyway.... :)

    ----------

    Aha, I have found an expert. Thanks for jumping in.

    To work online from nearby state parks. Make my laptop fully mobile.

    Yes, maybe. It depends on how reliable the MiFi connection is.

    We have a local Wifi network in our house, and it works fine most of the time. But the connection to the net is wired via Cox Cable.

    If the MiFi connection was reliable, I suppose I'd have no need for the Cox account, as we use it only for net connection, not TV.

    The Cox account is $45/month I think. I don't know what I'd pay to connect MiFi.

    My wife has an iPhone. Should I assume a Mifi connection at home would be as reliable as her ability to connect via her iPhone? Is her iPhone a good testing device for me?

    Thanks much for everybody's comments.
     
  7. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Location:
    Carolina Beach, NC
    #7
    Just remember MiFi's are not unlimited in Data use typically. They work great for remote access anywhere your carrier gets a phone signal. Novatel makes a great device.

    ----------

    Any reason you use Sprint? Price or Coverage?
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    We found we had decent coverage with Sprint in our area, the price was right and the customer support, from a local Sprint retailer, was excellent compared to VZW and AT&T.
     
  9. Felasco thread starter Guest

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    Oct 19, 2012
    #9
    Ok, thanks, didn't know that. I've never had a cellphone, so I'm ignorant of many such issues. Feel free to educate me on the most basic things.

    So how does it work typically? I can pass X amount of data through my MiFi for a flat fee, and then I pay some huge amount for overages? Or?

    What might a typical plan look like? How much data for what price etc.
     
  10. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    Carolina Beach, NC
    #10
    Currently, I'm a Verizon retailer, so PM me if you ever switch! ;)

    Yes, typically you pay a flat rate for a certain amount of Data. At Verizon, you can get a 5GB of 4G service for $50. There are many, many options and uncertainties so check with your provider or stop in to a local retailer and ask away.
     
  11. Felasco thread starter Guest

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    Oct 19, 2012
    #11
    What happens if I wind up using 500GB of data instead? :)

    I understand. Just trying to get in the ballpark for now.
     
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #12
    LOL, I'll keep ya in mind!
     
  13. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    Carolina Beach, NC
    #13

    Your smiley would look like this: :mad:

    ----------

    :)
     
  14. Felasco thread starter Guest

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    Oct 19, 2012
    #14
    Yes, but, but, how much is the MiFi smilie inversion feature?????
     
  15. preyan macrumors 6502

    preyan

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    Aug 31, 2007
    Location:
    South Africa
    #15
    I have a MiFi device and it's not a cellphone. Just thought I'd correct you there.
    But he is somewhat correct. You can use a cellphone to create a wifi hotspot and connect your device/s to that. But the cellphone is not seen as a MiFi device.

    I have the Huawei E5331 which connects up to 8 devices and speed of 21.something mbps. So you basically need to look for a MiFi device and see:
    - what speed you can likely get
    - how many devices you can connect to it at the same time
     
  16. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #16
    Without knowing the specific plans... by specific vendor in your area... it could be on the order of $50 for the first 5GB, and then $10/GB there after.

    Hence... 500 GB of usage would cost you

    $50 (first 5 GB)
    $4950 (next 495 GB)

    $5,000 for your 500GB

    Is that enough of a smiley inversion factor for you?

    BTW: I once had an employee who came in with a $4000 phone bill one month. That was a big enough smiley inversion day for me.

    /Jim
     
  17. Felasco thread starter Guest

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    Oct 19, 2012
    #17
    Thank you for your report, appreciate it. Ok, I need to face the reality that mobile connection is expensive. I sorta knew that, but not the extent.

    In comparison, our Cox account is $45 for pretty much all you can eat. They do have limits, but they don't really enforce the limits unless you wildly exceed them. I never give a thought to how much data I'm moving.

    Thanks for helping me focus on the real expense here. I needed a nudge out of the mindset that the MiFi box was the burden.
     
  18. SFO 1K macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    #18
    MiFi as a fixed broadband replacement isn't practical at the moment unless your needs are very "light" in nature. My personal thought is that we'll see more and more opportunities for fixed wireless broadband in the future as the national network matures.

    Since your wife has an account with AT&T, the Mobile Share Value Plans allow you to pick a bucket of data and use it among any connected devices:
    • Smartphones
    • Mobile HotSpots (note MiFi is a specific maker's name for hotspots)
    • Tablets
    • Connected Cars (something new, starting w/GM)

    You could purchase data in buckets from 10-50GB. Prices range from $100-$375/mo for the data component and then an add on for each device with a connection. Depending on if your device is on a contract, out of contract or on a no-interest installment plan, the monthly line charge will vary. Also, if you are eligible for a discount (many people are and don't realize it!) the discount can be applied to this data bucket helping to reduce the bill by 10% or more each month.

    With regard to the actual device, my personal current favorite hotspot from AT&T is the Unite Pro. It supports up to 15 connected devices and will support LTE Advanced as the capability is deployed across the network. LTE Advanced will provide greater speeds on the LTE network. It uses a touchscreen interface that is easy to use and intuitive.

    http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/devices/netgear/att-unite-pro-black.html

    Feel free to reach out to discuss your specific questions via Private Message if you like.

    #ATTEmployee
     
  19. Felasco thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2012
    #19
    Thank you, yes, this is one of the main things I've learned from this thread.

    Ok, I get it now. My desire to go mobile is not pressing, so being patient may be the best strategy. I've done this before with many technologies, so it's a gear I know how to find. Anybody remember when net video was postage stamp size?

    $100 is probably the very top end of what I'd consider. For me personally, adopting a state park work strategy that doesn't include the net is probably going to be the solution for now.

    Thanks for this. When you guys come out with your Pathetic Cheapskate Plan we can talk again. :)
     
  20. BGBUXA macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    #20
    Good Speeds

    I used to work at Best Buy and mobile broadband (midi) is awesome! It has comes a long way in regards to speeds. With companies now offering 4G LTE speeds the connection is great is your just using it for web browsing and some cities you can stream.

    I know Best Buy runs silly promo's on those devices. On a 2 year contract you get the device for $1.
     
  21. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #21
    I'm not affiliated with these people, but I've bought from them (Cradlepoint cellular router, a few years ago, and some antennas) and can tell you they are legit and good to deal with.

    And they have a lot of devices. Possibly there's something on their site you haven't seen elsewhere.

    http://3gstore.com/
     

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