Wednesday, May 19, 2010

REVIEW: How the Verizon MiFi SAVED me money

The little Verizon MiFi & Laura's new iPad
Guest Blogger Laura Terbrack is back with a review of her niffy gadget - The Verizon Mifi.

Keep reading to learn how Laura is now never without internet and SAVED money on her iPad ...

Almost a year ago, I was moving my parents from their house into their new condo. In the midst of getting everything transferred, I was working on setting up their new TV/Internet/Phone service. At the time, Comcast had a deal running and I called them out. It should come as no surprise to ANYONE that has ever dealt with Comcast that I sent them packing after they wouldn’t install the cables the way I wanted and told me that they’d have to charge me a BAZILLION dollars per hour to install it the way I wanted.

Next up on the hit parade was AT&T and their DSL plan after I had the DirecTV people hook up the satellite for the TV (seriously love the DirecTV people!). After the DSL was installed and NOT working, we discovered that the phone lines running into the condo complex were very old and that it could possibly take AT&T a while to get it all fixed. With my patience running thin, I started researching my other options and discovered the Verizon MiFi 2200. While not ideal (I wasn’t crazy about the 5GB limit per month), I decided that my Mom and Dad weren’t going to be downloading a ton of media per month and that I’d go ahead and buy it for them.

MiFi to the rescue!
The MiFi 2200 is really a neat little device. It runs on the Verizon 3G network, so it’s not as fast as DSL or a Cable Modem, but still has decent speed. Once I got the device, I hooked it up to my Dad’s PC to register it. This is a very straight forward process and before I knew it, his PC was online. I unhooked it from his PC and put it on the lower level so I could add my Mom’s PC to it. This is the true beauty of the device. It allows up to 5 wireless connections, so anywhere I go, as long as I’m in a spot with Verizon, I’ve got Internet.

Of course, not more than 2 weeks after I got the device, AT&T figured out the problem and the DSL started working at the condo. I was still within the 30 day return period on the MiFi and considered returning the device and then remembered what happened on a recent vacation. We decided to rent a beach house in Oscoda, Michigan, about 2-3 miles north of the downtown area. Everything was really nice, except for the service on my iPhone. You see…there was none. No phone, no e-mail, no Internet. Nothing, nada, zilch. For a person like me, becoming completely unplugged without my permission was not relaxing. It was the most stressful vacation I had ever been on. I actually found reasons to drive into town, because there was ONE decent location where I could check my email. It was this memory that convinced my cheap butt that I needed to keep this little device for my own amusement. And let me tell you, that was one of the BEST decisions I ever made.

Internet even in the woods!
Approximately a month after I got the MiFi, I found myself in the woods on a camping trip in Port Austin, Michigan. With memories of Oscoda still not far behind, I was nervous about again being cut-off from the world. But I packed that little MiFi and even brought along the laptop, hoping for the best. The Verizon service map was promising, but I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment. And disappointment was not in the cards, because the green light on that baby showed up and I had a signal. An honest to goodness signal…in the freaking woods. Hallelujah.

I am a Super Hero with my MiFi
Since that time, I’ve discovered so many more options for the MiFi. For instance, when my iPhone signal drops because AT&T is stupid, I can pull out that MiFi and use it to hook my iPhone up on the Verizon 3G network and check my e-mail or surf the Web. Or I can make my friend really happy when we are attending a conference that is supposed to have free wireless, only to find that the wireless is not working, and save the day by pulling out the MiFi. That time I actually felt like a super hero.

No need to buy the 3G iPad when you have the Mifi
Or there was the most recent way I decided to use it. I refuse to give AT&T any more money due to my sick Apple addiction, but because of said addiction, I really had to have the iPad. I was actually considering holding out for the 3G model when it dawned on me…just use the MiFi to connect. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. And it works like a charm - and I'm saving money by not needing yet another data plan. Verizon rocks. ‘Nuff said.

Laura Terbrack is a wife, mother of two and a self-professed tech goddess. In addition to her busy job as an IT professional, Laura is a contributor to FREEISMYLIFE and just started her own blog called "Laura in the Motor City". Follow her on Twitter at @lauramotorcity.


  1. You don't hit the 5 GB monthly cap?
    How much is the MiFi per month? The iPad unlimited plan is $30 / month.

  2. I've never hit the 5 GB limit, but that's just a reflection of my usage patterns. The MiFi is $59.99 per month. I understand that the iPad plan is $30, but I am not happy about the AT&T coverage. I haven't yet had the Verizon device stop working, and I'm able to connect up to 5 devices to it at the same time. Why buy a $30 plan for one device when I get a $59 plan for 5 devices? I can connect my iPhone, iPad and laptop up all @ the same time and still have room for 2 of my friends.

  3. I can tell you that I appreciate Laura's MiFi. We were at the #FMW10 conference in Royal Oak with no internet service due to a silly hacker who broke into the network and brought it down. Laura pulls out that MiFi and we were both back in business - and the envy of everyone at the conference!

  4. Not just Laura is using the Verizon MiFi with their iPad: