Verizon Hotspot

Just finished a 10 day trial with Verizon using their MIFI Hotspot device (Novatel MIFI 451 for $270.00). This wireless router is supposed to give you a WIFI hotspot wherever you are and can be shared with up to 5 other WIFI enabled devices. The product sounded perfect for mobile users of the Internet. Verizon boasts 4-12Mbps download speeds, in the words of my Verizon sales rep; “this is a replacement technology for Comcast”. My Comcast cable modem can score 12+Mbps with Speakeasy speed tests, but Verizon’s Hotspot technology never tested higher than 1.5Mbps with over 30 speed test on Verizon’s 4G wireless network. Verizon has just introduced their 4G LTE network in Boulder, Colorado and there seems be network tweaking issues, or their 4G network is highly over-rated. From my house, I consistently received 4 bars (the maximum number of bars) of 4G signal strength on the Novatel MIFI router I tested. At times, web images visually-poured into their pages just like back in the dial-up days of the Internet.

The Hotspot’s 4G speed was disappointing, and not nearly fast enough for the type of web work I do. Outside of the metro area, the device reverts to Verizon’s 3G network which means even slower data downloads. At $50 per month for 5GB of data, I was hoping I could drop my cable modem from Comcast ($58 per month) and work from a wireless hotspot since I am currently a regular commuter.

Verizon’s customer service was very good. They promptly answered all my emails and requested their network engineers try to investigate my hotspot performance problems. When it came time to return my hardware, they gave me a full refund including waving their return fee.

For now, I am back to looking for another wireless network solution.

4G Wireless reaches Boulder

As of mid July, 4G wireless connectivity has just started to reached Boulder. TMobile and Verizon have 4G coverage now with a MIFI hotspot device, AT&T and Sprint’s 4G networks have not been completed in Boulder yet. The speed tests, in the table to the right, show that wireless carriers have a fair amount of tweaking to do to reach their goals of downloads “up to 12Mbps”. At this point, 4G LTE technology looks very over-hyped compared to Comcast’s cable results.