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Cellphones Portables Wireless Networking

Mobile Wi-Fi Hot Spot 202

bsharma writes to let us know about a little goodie that we will be able to buy starting May 17: a battery-powered, rechargeable, cellular, Wi-Fi hot spot that you can put in your pocket. "What if you had a personal Wi-Fi bubble, a private hot spot, that followed you everywhere you go? Incredibly, there is such a thing. It's the Novatel MiFi 2200, available from Verizon starting in mid-May ($100 with two-year contract, after rebate). It's a little wisp of a thing, like a triple-thick credit card. It has one power button, one status light and a swappable battery that looks like the one in a cellphone. When you turn on your MiFi and wait 30 seconds, it provides a personal, portable, powerful, password-protected wireless hot spot. ... If you just want to do e-mail and the Web, you pay $40 a month for the service (250 megabytes of data transfer, 10 cents a megabyte above that). If you watch videos and shuttle a lot of big files, opt for the $60 plan (5 gigabytes). And if you don't travel incessantly, the best deal may be the one-day pass: $15 for 24 hours, only when you need it. In that case, the MiFi itself costs $270." The device has its Wi-Fi password printed on the bottom, so you can invite someone to join your network simply by showing it to them.
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Mobile Wi-Fi Hot Spot

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  • by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @06:13PM (#27899919) Homepage

    And what do you do when you no longer want to let them have access?

  • Enable VOIP! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gible ( 526142 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @06:26PM (#27900027) Homepage
    So wait... The telco's won't allow my iPhone/G1/Crackbery/etc to use VOIP over their network unless I buy one of these first?
  • by bughunter ( 10093 ) <> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:04PM (#27900293) Journal
    Agreed. If I already have a device whose main function is to connect me to a network, why do I need to have *another* one because I want to send a different kind of data? It's the same network, same protocol, same everything, except for the opportunity to sell me something I already have. So explain to me again why I need a MiFi in addition to a 3G cellphone?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:04PM (#27900297)

    It's not a stupid question, more of a snide remark. The password is printed on the device. This "feature" supposedly enables the user to share the password with other people "simply by showing it to them". If you change the password, you break that feature. So really, that can't be the point of printing the password onto the device. Some marketing guy dreamed up another bullet point. In reality it's just a way of making sure that the default password doesn't get lost, without making it the same for all devices.

  • So, how well does your iPhone share out that connection to a real computer (you know, what the whole point of this little device is)? Oh wait, Apple doesn't allow tethering apps? Hmm, sorry, I think you don't quite get it. There are LOTS of Internet-capable handheld devices out there (some much more-so than the iPhone, thanks to having Flash and the option to install your own browser/mail client/whatever). The iPhone is a neat device, but until you can link it with a PC and share the wide-area connection (without jailbreaking, that is), it won't do what people buy these things for.

  • by Jay L ( 74152 ) * <jay+slash&jay,fm> on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:21PM (#27900381) Homepage

    The iPhone is a neat device, but until you can link it with a PC and share the wide-area connection (without jailbreaking, that is), it won't do what people buy these things for.

    Good point - and I too "have one and it's called an iPhone".

    What I think this really means is that Apple can do what it's done repeatedly this decade: Create something versatile and potentially disruptive, but hold off on the disruption as long as is profitable.

    F'rinstance: Everyone else sold MP3-based music players with no DRM. Apple made an iPod that could play DRM-free music - but, instead, they turned around and partnered with every major music label to provide a locked-down but fully-stocked catalog. Gah! Where's my free music?

    In retrospect, it was pretty damned smart. Guess what they could do just as soon as "pent-up consumer demand profit" became greater than "become best buds with the RIAA profit"? Remove all the DRM.

    They did it again with the iPhone App store. Every other smartphone allowed independent development, but Apple told us we'd get nothing but WebKit-based apps, and we'd like it. Meanwhile, that let them ship the first iPhone without worrying about the public API - and create visible, vocal demand from the development community. By the following year, programmers everywhere were screaming: "Please! Let us write programs for your platform!" And what do you know... the App Store appeared, and Apple gets a cut.

    I don't know if it was truly planned this way, but it does seem to be a pattern, doesn't it? Most companies either court the rebellious-hacker base with an open API (early TiVo, some Google, Twitter), hoping to Be The Platform, or build a fortress (late TiVo, Facebook), hoping to Be The Gatekeeper. Apple seems to have a knack for being the gatekeeper as long as it possibly can - and then amazing us with the new power of the platform.

    The jailbroken apps, as well as the 3.0 betas, prove that Apple could offer iPhone tethering next week - or next year. But they'd have to annoy AT&T to do it, and probably renegotiate. Why do that before they have to?

    My hope: The MeFi will be a huge success, and there will be clamoring for Apple to offer something nearly as good. And then, one day, they'll send out a firmware update... and behold: the iPhone tethers. "It's amazing. I'm really proud of this capability, which is the first in a capacitive-touchscreen smartphone." etc.

  • Hmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by untg ( 1551725 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:32PM (#27900445)
    Sounds like paid (or unpaid?) dvertising to me. -1, it's probably not as good as it's it sounds. For $60 a month I can get 80 GB with my ISP and this is, what, 5GB?? -2 to that...
  • by digitalchinky ( 650880 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @07:44PM (#27900519)

    Because 'the industry' that runs the 3G typically runs the GSM and CDMA too. It's obviously not in their interest to hook you, the customer, up with data and then allow you to make unlimited voice calls over your own private SIP server running out of your basement. They want their cake, and they want yours too. Your VoIP sounds better because it typically has a metric arse load more bandwidth to work with. GSM codecs are about 13kbps, your typical land line turns digital a few hundred feet from your front door, 16 - 32kbps is not uncommon. Add an extra hundred or more kbps and this is why VoIP sounds better.

    Telco's have been about reducing bandwidth since day one. They aren't about to change this mindset, it'll take a few more generations yet.

  • by It doesn't come easy ( 695416 ) * on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:18PM (#27900705) Journal
    I have checked out every last cell phone carrier's data plan, this one is no exception. You agree that the first 5 GB of data download costs you $60. The second 5 GB of download for that month cost in excess of $1,200. Only a fool would sign a contract that has no upper limit to how much it can cost you. If you sign such a contract then don't go bitching to the carrier when you get your first multi-thousand dollar bill.
  • by Max Littlemore ( 1001285 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @08:19PM (#27900709)

    Not necessarily. I think it's far more likely that cradlepoint isn't mentioned because the entire thing is an ad. An ad for something that /. readership outside the US probably can't use, and /. readership within the US who know what they are doing wouldn't bother using.

    Thanks kdawson, your amazing editorial skills astound me once again.

  • Insulting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gearloos ( 816828 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @09:00PM (#27901003)
    Doesn't anyone else find this insulting that Verizon has the nerve to charge their customers $15.00 a day? Thats typically what a hotel would charge a one time use guest. And lets look at that awesome data plan. 250 MEGABYTES for 40$ a month!! Jeeze, get a grip Verizon. You can only screw the general public so much(Of course there will probably be enough idiots opting into this service just for the cool factor to keep it alive as a business model). Theres always the $60.00 a month 5Gig plan-You gotta be kidding me, $60.00 a month for 5 GB! This whole thing must have been cooked up by the same bean counters that figured out the SMS rates.
  • by adf92343414 ( 1332481 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @09:55PM (#27901411)

    Beats hauling around a bulky CPE device and WiFi router everywhere.

    Did you RTFA? The article says it's similar to a triple-thick credit card. Or are you comparing the device your company makes to some heretofore unmentioned piece of hardware?

    The only downside is that WiMax coverage isn't in many markets yet.

    That's no small downside. The article you linked to says, "One big constraint, of course, is that WiMax from Sprint/Clearwire is currently limited to Baltimore and Portland, OR, but is growing this year and next to many cities." Two markets is hardly worth mentioning.

  • great... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cyn1c77 ( 928549 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @11:03PM (#27901867)

    I don't know if anyone else read the article, but my favorite quote was:

    Last week, I was stuck on a runway for two hours. As I merrily worked away online, complete with YouTube videos and file downloads, I became aware that my seatmate was sneaking glances.

    I am sure he was "working" on Youtube because he is a reporter. He was probably "researching" on Wikipedia too.

    Anyway, I like how they keep emphasizing how easy it is to put that thing in your pocket. Cause I need another microwave source to irradiate my testicles...

  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:02AM (#27902209) Homepage Journal

    For me, the biggest hinderance is the cost of service. I don't travel a lot, but $15/day is exactly what I had to pay for my last hotel's internet service, and cellular internet is generally not as good as hotel WiFi, so I don't see the point in this device. Find some way that I can get device rental + service for $10/day or less, then maybe I'm interested.

  • by digitalchinky ( 650880 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:03AM (#27902215)

    Who said anything about a hand out? I don't think you understand the environment you are wanting to change good sir. Or the one you currently have. Dumping the voice carrying component of any mobile or cellular system is not going to happen in your lifetime. It's far too entrenched. Billions of dollars are tied up in this infrastructure, in making it as efficient as possible for the financial benefit of the telco. You'll never make any traditional voice call these days without going through some kind of digital circuit multiplication equipment. DTX-240's and up are pretty common here. This makes the whole system a nice big cash cow, you'll only ever get less bandwidth in this domain. Not only that, people don't link voice and data together - we (you and I) know these things are just bits on the wire, we also see the benefits of switching to VoIP, but your voice is already packet switched and raking in the money, it's hard to change that for a lot of technical reasons (Remember, billions of dollars). We know how cheap bandwidth is, but the majority of people do not. And no matter how much you are willing to pay, you're going to get screwed because of the aforementioned greed, but also because corporations are slow to roll with the trends.

    You can have what you want right now, but you'll pay an extortionate rate for the convenience - there are some exceptions to this though. The main problem is that if everyone wants their XXXMbps link to their MiFi, to their iPhone, to their whatever that is fed over 3G, it'll require some pretty massive upgrades on the back end - these are happening right now, but it'll be years before you reap the benefit right across the country. Your average phone on its own can't do much damage, but tethering, the 3G infrastructure isn't quite ready for that yet. I don't make the rules here, I just roll out the tech.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:20AM (#27902355)

    Under some plans, tethering is a TOS violation. Under this plan, it's the entire point.

    Note that $0.10 per Mb = $100/Gb. Assuming you got 1.0Mb/sec DL speeds, that's $6 a minute. It's cheaper to make a call from a plane... in 1980.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @07:00AM (#27904259) Homepage

    Just wait until they figure out you are tethering.

    your "plan" will jump to $99.00 a month.

    Yes they are aggressively looking to find who is tethering, and charging them big fees.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:55AM (#27905797)

    What makes this (very expensive and limited) product so special?

    Whenever you ask yourself this kind of question, you know there's money involved. Plain and simple.

    Slashdot isn't about cool gadgets anymore, it's about who blows the "editors'" cock best, so that said "editors" will hawk the latest bullshit for some shitty dollars.


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