Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool Technology of the Week

In an era of ubiquitous WiFi, many meeting rooms have guest wireless connections available for visitors.

However, some government agencies, some larger firms and some healthcare facilities are concerned about the security implications of uncontrolled wireless access points and do not offer connectivity to visitors.

How do you solve this problem? The Verizon Intelligent Mobile Hotspot (MiFi) brings a WiFi network wherever you need it.

I recently had the opportunity to test it in a meeting. I put the MiFi device (about the size of a pack of cards) in the room, turned it on and a few seconds later 5 people in the room had 802.11 b/g WiFi at 1 meg/second speeds.

How does it work? The small Novatel manufactured device is mostly battery (which lasts about 4 hours), an EVDO/3G Mobile Broadband chip that connects to the Verizon Cell Network, and an WiFi access point all packed into a 2 ounce package.

The price is under $100 with a 2 year contract and two plans are available. The 5 Gigabyte plan for $60 per month is the most attractive.

Here are the specs:
• 1x EV-DO Revision A (Rev. A) /0; 1xRTT; 800, 1900 MHz
• Wi-Fi Mode: 802.11 b/g

• CDMA authentication and identification
• Dynamic MIP key update; CHAP
• Wi-Fi: WEP/WPA/WPA2-PSK, SPI firewall
• MAC/Port filtering
• NAPT/DHCP server enable
• VPN Pass-through

It's also usable as a USB connected device via the VZAccess Manager and support is available for both Windows and Mac platforms. OF course, in WiFI mode it's operating system neutral.

An ultraportable WiFi access point wherever you need it using a 3G cell phone network - that's cool.


Bernz said...

Any WiFi enabled computer is technically enabled to share its connection and be its own access point.

While the device is super-easy to use (and that's worth something), I can use my laptop to share my connection. I have a Verizon connection for my computer and can share that connection with anyone in a room.

It's not nearly as easy as the device you show, but I've gotten good at it. And I have a flat-rate data-plan attached to my phone so it doesn't cost extra. It's just the price of my phone with the price of my data plan.

Though I'm willing to bet it violates any number of Terms of Service.

The device you're talking about is super-easy to use and if the price doesn't bother you, then it's cool, too. I'm just saying there's a more complex, but cheaper, solution.

Medical Quack said...

I agree, nice little device and it beats having to take your air card and place it in a router, been there and one that one too.

Unknown said...

Very Cool - there is a nice write-up in the NY Times Technology section last month about this as well. This is going to be very good for your consultants, traveling trainers..etc..