The Wireless Age lent us a Mifi to test out and the results were great! If you do not know what a Mifi is, let me explain. It is essentially a mobile wifi router. It takes a 3G signal and distributes it to your devices (up to 5 at once) via wifi like you would use at home.
The configuration on devices of this caliber are usually not very easy and require instructions for even advanced users. Not with this one however. This device has won awards for Innovation and Ease of Use. I would agree with those awards. It does not get any easier.
Let’s go through first use.
step 1: Remove the back (battery) cover of the device. Note the SSID and WiFi key on the white sticker. You can leave the cover off and move on to the next step, however keep the device upside down as the battery falls out otherwise.
Step 2: Press the power button. It has to “boot up”, wait about 30 seconds and proceed to the next step.
Step 3: On your computer, down by the clock should be a “Wireless Network Connections” icon, or something along those lines depending what flavor of Windows you use. Right click that icon, select “View Available Wireless Networks”. You should see the SSID found on your battery cover. Connect to it. It should ask for the key, that is the other number on the back (CAPS does matter).
Step 4: Commence interneting. That’s it, it’s really that easy! (You can put the back cover on now if you haven’t yet)
Over the weekend we tested it out a lot. We drove from Moose Jaw to Regina, browsing the net the whole way on a MacBook (I didn’t, I was driving). It was very speedy. Ironically, there was a 1 second hiccup in the service, right in front of the Sasktel building on Sask Drive! But that was the only issue we had all weekend. The rest of the time it worked flawlessly. I do a bi-weekly podcast, and this time we decided to record it in a pub in Moose Jaw.
The Mifi decided to come along for the ride. We had my netbook as well as my BlackBerry connected to it. Both had very impressive speeds. Websites came up just as fast as they do on my home DSL connection.
I had a few people ask me if these steps need to be done every time you use the device. And the answer to that is No. You only need to do this once per device, it should then happen automatically as long as both the device and Mifi are powered on and in range.
Conclusion: If you have a need or desire for one, I highly recommend it. In fact, I will be buying one when we take this loaner back. They are $0 on a 3yr contract.