just signed up for verizon mifi

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by chstr, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. chstr macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #1
    Im pretty excited. should be here in 2 days they were out of stock. running a promo right now, got the mifi for 99 bucks after 50 mail in rebate, and first month of data free (60 per month for 5 gb) I am moving so I had ordered optimum, just to wait a week and then wait 3 hours (after confirming earlier in the day) and to call them and have them tell me my area is serviced by time warner. so I ordered time warner but will be cancelling it tomorrow and just trying this mifi for a month to see how good it works. (I can get high speed wifi from my landlord by permission in parts of my apartment) I also dropped my iphone data plan so this really seems like a cost effective solution for me right now. I'll post a review when it arrives.
     
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #2
    The only potential flaw with the device that I have read is that it runs off batteries. I read the FAQ but it doesn't mention anything about it.

    I use a USB dongle when I'm not connected and it works great.
     
  3. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Central US
    #3
    The MiFi is an interesting concept. I guess you'd just have to make sure the network it creates is secured in a public place so people around you can't start chewing up your bandwidth. If those work out, it would be nice to see that kind of technology built into something like a mobile phone.
     
  4. chstr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #4
    I guess I'll keep it password protected in public. can that be hacked? I don't want people eating my data since I have a 5 gb cap
     
  5. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #5
    Use WPA2 if possible and change the default password on the device, if it has one.
     
  6. chstr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #6
    gotcha I'll check on that
     
  7. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #7
    I just bought a Verizon MiFi on Thursday, and I have been using it all weekend. At home we have Verizon FIOS... so the MiFi is strictly for our very frequent traveling.

    When we arrived at our beach condo on Friday evening, I plugged the MiFi into a wall socket and tested the range of the WiFi. I had assumed that this would be the achilles heal of the unit since the internal antenna is so small. Amazingly, I had full bars on the Airport icon no matter where I went in the 1400 sq ft condo. It easily penetrated several walls without any visible signal degradation.

    For security, I did several things:

    1) Changed the device password to a very strong PW
    2) Set up WPA2 with a strong passcode
    3) Enabled MAC address filtering... so that only our physical PCs could access the device... all others are rejected.
    4) The only thing that I did not do was disable SSID broadcast... but I felt it was unnecessary after doing 1-3. I think I will try it out... to see if it is difficult to connect to an invisible network. (Has anyone ever tried this?).

    There are essentially 3 ways to use the MiFi:

    1) Tethered... which shuts off the WiFi and uses USB and and the VZmanager software. This method will show you your usage which is important if you have a monthly data cap.

    2) WiFi using batteries: This gives about 4 hours of usage... and will be handy for a quick connection between flights at an airport as an example.

    3) WiFi using a wall adapter. It comes with a wall charger with retractable prongs. This lets you use the WiFi without power concerns and also charges the battery.

    If you want to check your usage without tethering... you must visit your account on the Verizon website. There is a hiccup for us Mac users. In order to establish your account, you must answer your passcode question. If you do not already have one (I don't because I use AT&T for my iPhone)... then they will send you a text message to your phone number. The problem is that this is not a phone per se... and the VZmanager for the Mac does not display text messages. However, the VZmanager for a PC does accept text messages. Our daughter is visiting tomorrow, so I asked her to bring out an old, unused PC laptop of mine... so that I can install the VZmanager... just to receive one text message and set up my account. This was pretty disappointing.

    My wife and I have been using it all weekend with a MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air and it has been flawless. We felt the net slow down a bit during the busy evening hours... but then I tried the shared internet connection provided in our condo complex... and it was so overloaded that it was unusable. Hence... in our very limited experience, this is great. The MiFi will support up to 5 simultaneous users. So far we have only tried it with our two MacBooks... but I am sure that our daughter and another friend will want to try it tomorrow... so we will probably test it with 4 devices. I did not bother to include our iPhones in the MAC address filter... I really do not see the need in most cases... and I would rather use my free AT&T bandwidth rather than consume data off of the MiFi plan.

    I am really miffed that they do not have an unlimited plan in our area. Does anyone know if this is universal across the USA, or if it varies by region? I will be on the east coast next week, and would gladly buy one there if I could get an unlimited data plan. The monthly charge is $60 for 5GB. After that, they charge $0.05/MB which is an exorbitant $50/GB. Be really careful monitoring your usage if you have a data cap. I suspect you would be quite upset if it cost you $250 to download a 5GB movie. I have set a strict policy that nobody streams any media when connected to the MiFi. Also... do NOT use it internationally unless you are very rich (if so, you are probably not reading this). I had an employee who believed he had an unlimited international data plan... and he came back from a trip to find a $4,000 cell phone bill which I had to pay. OUCH!!! I shut my aircards off if I am within 20 miles of the border of Canada or Mexico. I do not need any surprises.

    One last thought. I called and requested that they shut off my MiFi if I hit a 5GB cap within a particular month. They said that they cannot support that request. :(

    I hope this helps. I really am quite happy with the device. It is the size of a credit card, and about 1/4" thick. It is very convenient to have a personal hot spot whenever I want. For me it is worth the $60/month... but I am going into this with eyes wide open to monitor my monthly data usage.

    /Jim
     
  8. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #8
    Thanks for that information. I stand corrected fortunately for the purchaser above. :D

    FYI, I'm not seeing an unlimited plan on the east coast either.
     
  9. flynz4 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #9
    Bummer... but thank you for checking!!! I have heard rumors that once LTE (gen 4) is launched the data caps will go away... but I'll believe that when I see it.

    /Jim
     
  10. chstr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #10
    yeah Im on the east coast as well and the best plan is the 5 gb. perhaps that will change
     
  11. chstr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #11
    okay, so one thing that is annoying is that when you plug the mifi into your mac via usb you can NOT use the wifi function, you must tether, which means you can only use it with the gadget it is tethered to.

    the unit seems to get HOT. Hope a firmware update helps that.

    speed is pretty good, although not as good as I had hoped. I'll keep experimenting with that.

    Its very cool to get 3g speen on my first gen iphone (because you ae connected via wifi) :cool:


    so far I am liking it but have more testing to do....
     
  12. jmann macrumors 604

    jmann

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2007
    Location:
    bump on a log in a hole in the bottom of the sea
    #12
    I work for Verizon, and here is a secret. There is a "Mobile Broadband Overage Policy" and the first 3 times a customer has overages with the Mifi the overages will be capped at $190, and we will credit 100% of the overages the first three times that occurs and then after that the regular overage policy applies. I hate the pricing tiers for the price plans for the Mobile Broadband unit. The 5GB is $60, and the 10GB is $200, proportionate at all? No. If you got a mobile broadband a few years ago, there used to be an unlimited plan for the same price as the 5GB but that is gone now unfortunately. :(
     
  13. jseyf5 macrumors member

    jseyf5

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    #13
    Another great thing you can use is an app called mywi, availble in the cydia store. ( i beleive it is 1.99, but dont qquote me on that) What it does is it allows you to take your iphones connection ( which is unlimited, plus 30 bucks a month less) and create a wifi hotspot with it. Same exact concept, just one less device to carry around. it is much more effecient, and in these times, $30 is no small fee. I highly suggest you use that instead, as it is what i do now. i use it on my macbook, my brother uses the internet on his psp, and my sister uses it on her ipod touch. My dad also uses it on his dell, all while we are in the car. im just saying if you want a much cheaper soulution with NO MAX of 5gb, then you should defenitly consider it
     
  14. bostonte macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    #14
    If you have permission, a better solution would be to extend/repeat that network throughout the remainder of your apartment.

    Depending on his equipment you may be able to setup a WDS or mesh type arrangement that just extends his network.

    Or a desktop could connect to his network and then create your own wireless to share it to.

    Finally a no computer necessary solution is a wireless bridge in the room that connects to your landlord's network and has an ethernet jack on the other side. Connect a wireless router to the ethernet jack and it would create your own network connected through wired ethernet to the bridge which is connected to his wireless.

    Fast speeds, no wireless bandwith cap.

    Edit to ad:

    In the last solution you would need a cheap wireless router (easy to find Belkin/NetGear/Linksys Wireless G routers for around $30-45) and a "Wireless Game Adapter" that's usually sold for connecting an X-Box and the like (around $40-50).
     
  15. chstr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    chstr

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    #15
    update #2

    reception is EXcellent. I get data in NYC subways and inside buildings up in the catskill mountains

    Battery life sucks. Just the way it is. make sure you turn it off when not using data.
     

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