Posted by Andy Murphy on 1/26/2020 to Internet Connectivity
When it comes to internet options on the go, there are a lot of options. This topic also bleeds into cell phone carriers and compatibility with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint.
A Verizon Jet Pack or “Mifi” is a very popular option that most people start out with. This option is offered directly from Verizon and is very much a traditional hotspot. The device is extremely portable, runs off a rechargeable battery, and has a screen to manage its own settings and such. There are a few different model options, some offer longer battery and the ability to connect 10 sometimes 20 devices to each ‘Mifi’ unit.
The normal cost for one of these is under $150 and sometimes you can get them for free or ‘included’ in our data plan.
For those who are not on the Verizon network, AT&T has similar jet pack options. Most popular being the Netgear Nighthawk at $189. Overall it has the same pros and cons of the Verizon get packs.
This outlines a great case for the use of these Mifi units, but they do have some drawbacks. They have a tendency to not stay powered on and connected all the time. This can create drops in internet connection. Due to their size, they are powered by a small computer which can reduce their capability to manage high speeds and gives a very limited usable wifi range. You need to be quite close to the device to use the wifi signal it is releasing. Finally, from an advanced user side, they have no device management, reports, network management, etc.
Now let’s talk about the Pepwave LTE Modem and Routers. These devices also have a small footprint but are about twice the size of a Mifi. They have exterior antennas for better signals, work with any cell network, have at least two SIM card slots, and use cat6 and cat12 modems (faster speeds with same level or signal).
While a Pepwave device can be compared to mifi for functionality, the use is much more like a home network modem/router. These devices create a very strong wifi network, can be set up with failover SIMs for constant uptime and can be used to connect to nearby wifi to rebroadcast internally. Has great network management options, can work off of DC power, and is much better-built product.
Overall Pepwave unit
Who is the Mifi good for?
The Mifi does have it's use cases. This is a great unit for weekend warriors and the vacationer. If you only need wifi here and there to get your computer connected, you use your phone for most of your internet needs, than the mifi is a great option. The price point is low enough to buy it once and use it over the summer trip or weekends.
You can also add this to your existing cell phone plan without the cost being too much (normally $20-$30).
Who is a Pepwave good for?
A pepwave is a much strong device but does come at a higher price point. If you live full-time on the road, or even take extended trips, this device greatly changes the easy of staying connected. Using a pepwave for connectivity gives a home-like connection to your vessel and has almost no management needed.
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