This Mifi Sucks!

sprint_mifi_2200_2-432x479…power that is. I’m  such a sucker for a pun or inflammatory headline. The one area that the Sprint issued Mifi device leaves me wanting is in the battery life. If you are accustomed to wifi all the time then the battery in the mifi is just not going to satisfy. Oh, it lasts a good long while…perhaps 2-3 hours…but that’s not near long enough in many cases.

This is by no means a defect of the device. It’s just a little contrast between the permanence of a real wifi AP and the wee little Mifi. Around the house I expect that the wifi is just always there, and so the connection, although wireless, is constant.

I went looking last weekend to find the Mifi box. I wanted to check and see if I had overlooked a USB cable. I hadn’t. According to the manifest on the side of the box Sprint doesn’t provide the micro-USB cable. I gather that Verizon does.

Rumor has it that the Mifi will operate directly attached to a host PC usng a micro-USB cable. So attached the PC powers the device resulting effectively unlimited run-time. This seems more ideal tha my present situation so I bought a micro-USB cable on E-Bay for $4 and will try this when I get home on the weekend.

  • Jason

    Alternatively, could you get a micro-usb phone charger and use that? Like the ones used on newer Blackberries? Probably a little more than $4, but doesn’t require a host PC then.

    • The Mifi came with that sort of a charger, but it’s just a other thing to carry around…or forget. I’d rather plug it into the laptop in many cases and just leave it there. I guess the USB stick is in this regard more convenient.

      Also, the micro usb port on the mifi is not the same as the one on my Blackberry Pearl. It’s much smaller, and without the little ears. I may be calling it by the wrong name. On the Ebay auction I looked for a cable with a picture of the correct connector, and specific mention of the Novatel Mifi device.

  • Jason

    Yeah, the Pearl is using the more standard USB. The 8900 and Tour use micro, which will become more popular as its the new standard for phones.

  • It is the nature of wifi.

    Cell phone users that like their soft phones are discovering this.

    Wifi wireless phone users knew it too. Yawn

    Wifi Sucks is right.

    I don’t have a solution right now, was considering the mifi.

    Last year I had a Verizon PC card in the PC for travel. In the Mtns we use the same card in an access point that uses the card for its WAN connection. Basically a non portable version of the mifi. I was debating between reactivating the card or getting a mifi.

    It would be nice when at home, to be able to connect this wireless solution it to the WAN2 RJ45 port on the router – but that doesn’t seem very simple to do. The WAN2 port would make Comcast failover fairly transparent.

  • The Mifi is great in that it supports up to 5 Wifi clients. That’s really handy. But the fact that it’s nominally battery or AC powered is a little inconvenient. If it powered off the USB port with the micro-usb cable then I’ll be happy enough I won’t bother putting the AC adapter in my shoulder bag.

  • I haven’t tried it myself, but what I’ve heard from my boss (who has a Sprint MiFi) is that if you plug it in via USB it looks like an ordinary USB dongle and disables its WiFi. You still then get a laptop-powered connection for one though.

    • That’d be ideal for a lot of my travels.