Verizon Wireless stopped by one day like Santa Claus and left us a couple goodies. One of them was the Verizon MiFi 2200, a pocket-sized and battery-operated WiFi router that allows up to five devices to share one 3G internet connection.
At first I was a little skeptical about the usefulness of such a device but once I had passed it off to Ced, I found that I missed the little bugger. It sure came in handy a few times while traveling - it gave me the power to discipline Post-Gazette web servers with ease from the side of the road.
When you turn the device on, it scans for the Verizon network and in most cases it found it very fast. In fact, by the time my netbook was ready to go from standby mode, the MiFi was ready to hook me up. The notebook connects right away after you enter the WPA key that appears on the bottom of the device. Like all wireless routers, it has a web-based administrative page that you can access through a browser to change settings.
Surfing speeds were pretty admirable so long as you keep things in perspective. The best speed I was able to get from the SpeakEasy.net speed test was about 1,250kbps download and about 780kbps upload. This will work fine for checking your email or some basic web surfing, but things like streaming video and large file downloads were a little difficult. And if you do happen to share this connection with a few other people, those numbers will start to drop pretty quickly. In short, it's great for single-person use or occasional simultaneous use by a couple people.
Verizon says the device has four hours of active use and forty hours of stand-by time on a single charge. We figured that if we used it that much in test, we'd probably not hear from Verizon again, so we took their word for it. I can tell you that I charged it only twice and got quite a lot of use out of it during those times.
You can pick one of these up from Verizon stores for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate when you sign a new two-year agreement. You'll have two choices of packages for your contract:
- $39.99/month for 250 MB allowance, $0.10 per MB overage fee
- $59.99/month for 5 GB allowance, $0.05 per MB overage fee