Wifi options to make MacBook air truly mobile?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by mayhone1, Apr 15, 2011.

  1. mayhone1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2011
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #1
    I was thinking about buying a MacBook air but found that the wifi in my area is not reliable, so I was wondering what options worked for other people to get wifi all the time. I'm a student so I want wifi that goes with me and would prefer something like a USB stick. Since I don't know much about those though I was wondering what others have used and what works the best? Please explain and thanks.
     
  2. Satori macrumors 6502a

    Satori

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    Sounds like you need a 3G modem. The there are two basic options - a USB stick that plugs into the laptop (maybe a bit clunky for an MBA!), or a MiFI device which creates your own WiFI hotspot using a 3G modem.

    You will have options to PAYG for your data or sign up for a data contract.
     
  3. Nachos macrumors member

    Nachos

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Location:
    Lynge, Denmark
    #3
    Get an iPhone and use Personal Hotspot. Works perfectly!
     
  4. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #4
    If you have a high end cellphone you could use that to convert the 3G signal into a Wifi hotspot for your Macs to use.
     
  5. mayhone1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 12, 2011
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #5
    Yeah I don't got a cell phone, so I have to check out other options
     
  6. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #6
    USB stick or MiFi if you only want data. Portable Hotspot/Tethering in Android or Personal Hotspot/Internet Tethering in iOS works fine too if you ever decide to get a smartphone.
     
  7. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #7
    If you don't have a phone then I'd definitely suggest a Mifi higher than a USB stick.

    The reasons that I hold mifi in higher regard are:

    -USB Sticks tend to be wider than a USB port and can obstruct other ports.
    -Mifi will charge via micro USB if required, but don't need to be connected permanently to function
    -You don't need to install extra software on your Mac for a mifi, you connect just like you'd connect to a wireless router
    -It is a wireless router, and you can have up to 5 devices connected to it.

    So if you ever wanted an iPod Touch and iPad too, you oculd connect it easily.

    It's a much more flexible device than a 3G USB stick.

    Virgin Mobile does a mifi for $150 and an unlimited plan for $50 a month with no contract. Although they reserve the right to throttle speeds after you have downloaded 2.5GB. Actually, that's pretty reasonable.
     
  8. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #8
    They usually come with USB extenders (at least mine did), so it isn't a major issue. Carrying around the stick+cable can get annoying though.

    Still- MiFis are much more versatile as you stated. Not sure how it is in the US but sticks are a bit cheaper, so if all you're looking for is to use it on your computer it's a viable option.
     
  9. steviem macrumors 68020

    steviem

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Location:
    New York, Baby!
    #9
    Yeah,

    I was looking on the US Virgin Mobile site and their USB stick is $79.99. My 3 USB stick didn't come with an extender, boo :(
     
  10. Scuba-EMT macrumors regular

    Scuba-EMT

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Location:
    Solomons Island, MD
    #10
    I have been using Verizon's Pantech 4G USB Modem for awhile now with pretty good success, it did come with a cable extender that allows you to clip the modem to the top of the screen for better reception. And if you call tech support and discuss any reception problem, they will mail you a high gain external antenna at no charge, this antenna doubled my bars and my speed.

    Cheers,
     
  11. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #11
    +1 for iPhone and personal hotspot.

    I used the usb 4g stick from Verizon for about 2 weeks. No comparison between the stick and the iphone. The iphone is just as fast since I was not in a 4g area anyways. The big factor was sticking in the usb and waiting for it to initialize, not to mention this large thing hanging out the side.
     
  12. mrsir2009 macrumors 604

    mrsir2009

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #12
    The OP doesn't have a cellphone.
     
  13. IngerMan macrumors 6502a

    IngerMan

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    Opps, post #5. Well then who cares about that big USB sticking out the side, at least you will have 3g wifi:D
     
  14. legvidgal macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    #14
    Clear

    I use a Clear Mifi device. It is $45 a month and there is no contract to commit to. You can have up to 5 devices. We use it for all the computers in our house and can take it with us if we travel.
     
  15. blueroom macrumors 603

    blueroom

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    #15
    3G iPad with a keyboard? It would be the least expensive monthly route if you're just surfing the web or the occasional document.

    The MBA is more practical for school but you're going to have to find better coffee shops :)
     
  16. macingman macrumors 68020

    macingman

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2011
    #16
    Actually I have both an iPad 2 and a MBA and if I am going out to starbucks I will normally bring the MBA. If I was going to school I will bring the iPad and MBA.
     
  17. blipmusic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2011
    #17
    "Unlimited" = 2.5GB? Okay, not entirely true since your speed is throttled after that but in my experience from Sweden is that "speed" is for mail and not much else.

    So, all in all that doesn't sound reasonble at all. Am I missing something obvious here? (Honest question. I'm, always surprised how much you all need to pay for wireless over in the US.) Now, I say this sitting in Scandinavia where pricing on wireless data packages is relatively reasonble and a lot of people do have a 3G modem as their only connection (as am I with my 3GS tethered).

    On the other hand I think we're worse off when it comes to finding wifi hotspots over here.

    The total package I have is $50/month as well. I can use up half of that for calls/text. The rest goes to the data package, which is, in its current iteration, soft capped at 10GB/month (i.e. throttled after that).

    Though, at the time I signed up there was no soft or hard cap so my data is truly unlimited (confirmed by my provider and my monthly downloads). :D

    Sorry for going off topic.

    I'm looking at getting the 11" MBA as my main and only computer and considering this and other threads on connectivity I can honestly say that the feature I want the most in the MBA is a built in wireless modem. I'm at a point where that is the only connection I'm truly interested in. Versatility over speed any day.
     
  18. iRobertM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle WA.
    #18
    I second this, just updated my plan to include the hotspot and am kicking myself for waiting so long.
     

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