Sprint 3G Mifi @ SFO Aug 19

I promise that after this week I won’t focus so much on the Mifi and this Sprint 3G service. From an early Wednesday morning perspective here’s what I’m seeing for performance.

There’s quite a bit of variability but the service has been genuinely useful. In fact, during a protracted tech setup yesterday I left the Mifi running so my associate could make use of email and web access even though we were in the bowels of a TV station. It was very handy.

Had I gone to the trouble of bridging the networks on one of our laptops I’d have been able to use the 3G to provide internet access to our suite of demo equipment. I had other priorities so we didn’t go that far yesterday. Perhaps later today.

I can see how the 5 GB transfer cap might be an issue. In only one week of use I’ve already pulled 720 MB of total transfer. If I should start to need more than 5GB i may have to explore other providers. I see that Cricket has a mobile broadband offering based up reselling Sprint’s service. They claim “unlimited” data for $40/mo. I’d have to explore how truly “unlimited” that might be.

The Sprint contract that I purchased through Amazon is a 2 year deal with a $200 early termination fee. It might be worth breaking that contract and paying the fee if overages are becoming commonplace. Since the Mifi was effectively free, well one cent with the contract, I wouldn’t feel that paying to get out of the Sprint contract was so onerous. I presume that I could take the same Mifi device over to Cricket or some other Sprint reseller with a more generous plan.

Last evening I took a few minutes to make a couple of test calls. I was also taking the opportunity to trail the new Skype FreeTalk Everyman headset, but that’ll be the subject of its own post later on.

A G.722 call from Eyebeam to the ZipDX wideband demo was choppy. IMHO, too choppy to actually use. A call to the Skype call testing service was bright and clear with no chop. Based upon the initial choppy result I didn’t bother trying to have a conversation over the service. I’ll try that when I call home later this evening. At that point I’ll try using a low bitrate codec like Speex or G.729a.

  • So I have the Verizon MiFi… and just drove from Michigan -> Florida and back for some work. During the trip in a very remote (but beautiful and mountainous) area of I-75 I got a call about a critical issue. I was able to pull over, put the MiFi on the dashboard, connect to it via WiFI and resolve the issue. Besides saving me the hotel Internet access charges for a 9 day stay, the MiFi truly was a lifesaver for me… and allowed me to hit the Internet with one of the most amazing views I have ever seen.

    • Yes, I’m feeling similarly liberated and empowered with the Mifi device. Now, how much of your monthly data transfer allocation did you use on your trip?

  • I used almost nothing 🙂 Maybe 200MB (I get 5GB a month). But I was very, very careful.

    • In the first week with my Sprint issued Mifi I used 1.5 GB! That includes three days in SFO. During the trip I used the device heavily, letting in it run constantly so that both an associate & I could monitor email & Twitter during a full day of tech setup and another full day of presentations. I saved $60 in hotel access costs compared to past visits to SFO.