If blog comments are any indication, it seems that most folks take issue with the $50-$60/month fee wireless carriers charge for mobile broadband. However, for me, data freedom is priceless. In addition to my Starbuck’s WiFi and Melissa’s T-Mobile Hotspot access, I’ve been relying a USB Sprint Aircard these last few months for on-the-go computing (as Xohm/Clear still doesn’t provide the coverage or software I’m looking for), often in conjunction with my Cradlepoint CTR500.
As frequent readers know, I tend to avoid clutter and prefer converged devices/tech… when it makes sense. Which is why I’ve been tracking the Novatel MiFi since fondling the little guy at CES back in January. The MiFi 2200 is an ultra-compact piece of tech that functions as both a 3G modem and wireless access point, supporting up to five simultaneous clients.
The first MiFi to hit was on Verizon’s network. And I nearly made the jump, until learning Sprint would also offer the device. So while most folks were Pre-occupied June 6th, I queued up amongst them for the MiFi. I was hopeful of getting a deal, instead of paying the $300 non-upgrade fee. After an employee misunderstanding, a bit of consternation, and some excellent Twitter support, I did indeed end up with the MiFi at the discounted rate of $99 (although I offered to pay $150, forget the rebate).
Unlike its Verizon counterpart, this Sprint edition does not require any sort of software install – everything is done via a web interface. Also, unlike Verizon’s unit, it doesn’t ship with a USB cable. So I haven’t yet verified if it’ll charge via USB while maintaining a 3G connection. (I haven’t tested claims of four hour battery life, but frankly I’d be satisfied with 120 minutes.) The manual seems to indicate the Mifi won’t act as a WiFi access point when tethered via USB, but I’m hoping I can use it like a traditional aircard in that manner.
And that’s really about all I have to say. It’s tiny and works exactly as advertised: I’ve set up a (sort of) hidden WPA2 wireless network, connected multiple devices while mobile. Including usage during a weekend roadtrip to NYC. No complaints. Well if I had to nitpick, those indicator lights are bright and I’d prefer something other than microUSB. Outside of that, I’m quite happy with my purchase and Sprint’s coverage.