If only you could bring your home wireless router with you wherever you went. On road trips, in the airport, at hotels, at your friend’s apartment, or even on the beach it would be convenient to access the internet through your laptop just like you do at home. Previously, this mobility was only afforded to one computer at a time through wireless data cards or sticks. Time and again, I’d be staring at the person across from me typing happily away on their internet-connected computer, thinking that so much of that internet connection was going to waste.
The Novetel MiFi 2200 Card simply takes two previously invented gadgets (wireless data card and a wireless home router) and fuses them into one very useful, tidy package. Without even taking the MiFi Card out of your bag, you can pull out your laptop and connect to the internet without any extra fuss or cords. And if you see the person across from you staring at you as you happily surf the net, you can offer them internet connectivity as well. Up to 5 people can connect to your mobile MiFi hotspot through your painless wireless charity.
The first thing MiFi made me think of was that I was no longer going to break my wireless data card. Everyone has either had this tragedy happen to them or seen it, a wireless data stick is plugged into the USB port when you accidently set it down/swing your arm/stuff it in your bag and the stick snaps in two. And then no more internet for you.
The Catch: The MiFi Card is just as expensive as another cell phone bill. It is currently only offered through two US carriers: Sprint and Verizon. If you opt for a 2-year service agreement with Sprint (and you’re a new MiFi customer) you will only have to pay $50 after a mail-in rebate ($100 normally, $300 without contract). If you opt for a 2-year service agreement with Verizon (and you’re a new MiFi customer) you will only have to pay $25 if you buy online ($75 normally, $270 without contract). For both carriers, your data plan is $60 per month for 5GB (or 300MB roaming with Sprint, no roaming charges with Verizon). After that, you have a fee of 5 cents/MB if you go over, like the old overage fees before we all had unlimited minutes. And no, there is no unlimited data plan for the MiFi yet.
Personally, I would pick the Verizon MiFi because it is slightly cheaper ($25 with online purchase and free overnight shipping) and there is no roaming distinction (which is key if you are traveling). Verizon also seems to have the best coverage in the US, which helps when you just have to get online all the way out at Grandmas.
Bottom line, the MiFi is ideal for small businesses that need internet connectivity for their laptops wherever they go. If you have others working on a presentation/deal in your business, all of you have access, no more hunching over the one person with mobile internet. Additionally, if you have a Skype-enabled cell phone you could connect to your MiFi and not have to be paying for two cell phone bills. Or even if you have a different carrier and you’re not getting the internet on your smartphone, you can just connect to the MiFi as if it were any other home wireless router.
The ways the MiFi can make your life easier are endless. So do yourself and your friends a favor, get a MiFi and share the internet in 2010!