Earlier this summer, Novatel announced MiFi 2200, a mobile hotspot device that allows users to connect to the Internet by bridging WiFi enabled devices to cell networks. So instead of driving around to find a Starbucks or other Internet hotspot, you can bring your hotspot with you! Originally the MiFi device was only available through Sprint and Verizon but Novatel just announced in July a new HSPA version of the MiFi that will work on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. Cellular wireless routers have been around for years but this is the first device of its kind that provides its own cell signal.
Imagine you and a colleague are on a business trip together and have some time to kill before an important meeting. You could both share the signal of one MiFi device to browse the Web, download emails, and connect back to the corporate network on your WiFi enabled laptops. You could even utilize the GPS capability of the device to find a local place to eat lunch.
Tech savy users will be happy to know that the MiFi is configurable just like any other broadband Internet router. The configuration page is accessible by entering the device's IP address in a browser. Items such as password, network name, and port forwarding are available. The MiFi 2200 has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 4 hours but could easily last all day by utilizing the sleep mode.
However, there are some drawbacks to the MiFi device. Verizon and Sprint have capped their download capabilities per month to 5 GB with a $0.05 charge per MB overage. The device can also only handle up to five WiFi enabled devices. Despite these drawbacks I believe Sprint and Verizon are on to something good. I'm sure we will soon see unlimited bandwidth options as well as other MiFi type devices.