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What is MIFI?
What is MiFi actually? So you’re curious about the options to have a Mobile Wireless Internet Connection, either on the go or just as a dedicated hotspot for a particular purpose. Bravo, you have found yourself at just the right place to provide you with the information you need to know, in your process of selecting the best option to suit you. In that case, welcome to our mobile internet resource center. This is where you can find all the relevant information which will lead you to find the best solution for your wireless needs.
But first, in order to find the best MiFi device for you, let’s dig into what MiFi actually is. MiFi originated as a brand name for the first Mobile Wireless Router produced by Novotel. The word has evolved into the name of the concept of mobile wifi and is now being used by copycats that produce replica devices. In essence, MiFi devices tap into local 3G, 4G, and emerging 5G networks to provide the user with a reliable solution for internet connection on the go, anywhere in the world thanks to satellites.
What is the difference between MiFi and WiFi?
The difference between MiFi and WiFi is quite significant. WiFi is the prefix of Wireless Fidelity and is a router connected to a fixed modem that is then connected to a wireless router that gives off the wireless internet connection, in other words; WiFi.
Therefore, MiFi as a concept refers to Mobile Wireless Fidelity. In simple terms; Mobile Wireless Internet, WiFi Hotspot, Mobile WiFi, Mobile Hotspot, or Pocket WiFi. There is no official term, however, given that MiFi is a brand that invented the concept, we shall refer to all similar devices in respect of its namesake.
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Smartphone VS Mifi - Which is better to hotspot from?
Number one; user dependency plays a big role when someone’s personal mobile phone is relied upon for an internet connection. Let’s explain why; Mobile Phone hotspots occur when a mobile phone owner enables their tethering hotspot allowing other devices to utilize the internet connection. Essentially the users of this hotspot are reliant on the mobile phone owner’s location. Hence, in the case that the mobile phone owner leaves the vicinity, the other users lose access to the internet connection thus limiting them to the mobile phone owner’s whereabouts.
Consider your cellular phone’s battery life when on the go. In areas where power supply is limited, MiFi is a better option since its power use is more efficient as it serves the sole purpose of providing an internet connection. Whereas your mobile phone processes media in all forms, thus requires a higher use of battery power when used as a tethering hotspot in addition to regular mobile phone use. Hence, using it as a hotspot burns through the battery life faster than usual.
Monthly Mobile Data Use
Your monthly mobile data use is determined by what you personally need on a monthly basis to make daily use of your phone without having to worry about running out of data that is dedicated to the respective month. Using a MiFi device allows you to avoid depleting your mobile data allocated to your monthly use on your mobile phone unless you have unlimited data on your mobile contract. However, your mobile phone would still not be able to match up to the internet speeds provided by Mobile WiFi devices.
A MiFi Router enables you to connect several devices whereas your mobile phone is limited to between 3 to 5 devices at a limited speed. Whereas a MiFi Device enables a minimum of 10 devices at a time. However, some of the latest devices allow up to 30 users simultaneously without compromising the speed of the connection provided.
Stable Internet Connection
Given the fact that MiFi is your dedicated internet source on the go, it means that your connection will not be interrupted by any other activity on the device. Unlike mobile phones which have several functions. For example, if you are sourcing your connection from a mobile phone, and that phone receives a call or streams a video, then your connection to the internet will be interrupted. More, given the fact that MiFi devices are built to provide multiple connections, the signal strength is stronger and more stable than that of a mobile hotspot.
Man in the Middle Hacks
A Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) cyber attack occurs when a third party(the hacker) captures exchanging information between two users on the connection. Instead of information being shared between the server and interest surfer straightforwardly, the connection is broken by a foreign component.
The cybercriminal could then present their own version of a site to show to you, by incorporating their own messages that they want you to see. Anybody utilizing public Wi-Fi is particularly vulnerable to MITM attacks. Since the data sent is, for the most part, unencrypted, your data is just as public as the hotspot you are using. Hence making your information vulnerable and potentially causing undetected harm.
Advantages of using a MiFi Device
In summary, the advantages of using a MiFi Router are:
- MiFis are dedicated and reliable internet sources wherever you go
- Avoid using your mobile data allocated to monthly use
- Save your cell phone battery
- Safely tether a connection to a minimum of 10 devices at reasonable internet speed
- Continue working for extended periods without losing internet connection as you would using a public hotspot
- Work anywhere, watch sports and television anywhere, game anywhere.
Disadvantages: There are none! As long as you have a power supply, all you need is your device and you are set to surf the web.
Why you should use a MiFi
Now that we have the name figured out, the reasons why you should use MiFi are only beneficial. So, let’s dive into when they come in handy. But first, let’s acknowledge the way the world is changing, thanks to the Global pandemic; home offices have become the new normal along with suitable trends revolving around it.
In fact, home offices do not need to be limited to actually staying at home. With MiFi, you can create your home office anywhere in the world. Be it in the park, at the beach, somewhere in the desert, or even somewhere up a tree hut, in the middle of a rainforest.
MiFis are an ideal solution for Wireless Internet away from home. Several users can connect to it at the same time, even if it is for different purposes whether it be for work or entertainment. For example, the same MiFi device can be used for someone streaming a live football match, while another person is editing a document on Google Drive, while another person can be online shopping, it can all happen simultaneously. Devices that are supported by MiFi are smartphones, tablets including iPads and iPods, laptops, e-book readers, and portable gaming devices or any other WiFi-enabled device.
Find the best MiFi Device for you
Select the best device based on your needs: don't worry, we have broken down to simplify your selection process!
3G, 4G and 5G
3G, 4G or 5G? Your buying process should kick off with determining your specific needs, starting with the type of connection you require or desire in order to perform your internet activities on the go. Let's see which is the most suitable for your needs.
3G is the third generational broadband cellular network technology and in technical terms known as the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). These networks facilitate data rates of 1Mbps. These connections are reliable and sufficient for basic use of the internet and were initially developed in order to accommodate the development of smartphone features as their functions advanced. They are suitable for browsing on the internet such as online shopping or or research, working online via Google Drive, sending and receiving emails, playing music and streaming playing low definition videos comfortably.
4G is the fourth generational broadband mobile network technology and in technical terms is known as Long term Evolution (LTE). It has increased the data rate to facilitate ten times the data rates than that of 3G, that is; 10mbps and a potential to reach 40mbps depending on your MiFi device. This rate of data enables comfortable High Definition Video Streaming with minimum glitches.
5G is also known as the fifth generational broadband mobile network technology and is based on a modern radio and core network infrastructure that boosts internet speeds to 1Gbps. These types of connections are suitable to run Virtual Reality Applications. 5G was developed to accommodate emerging trends on the tech market which require a heavyweight of bandwidth in order to function optimally. 5G connections are unfortunately limited to certain areas worldwide, however, if you were to make use of it, you would have access to the fastest internet available right now.
Roaming Abroad versus International Prepaid Sim Card
Depending on the country(es) you will visit, you will have to weigh up your options with network providers to decide whether you will subscribe to a data contract that you will pay for on a monthly basis or whether you will opt for a prepaid sim card in every country you will visit. Let’s explore the options:
1. International Roaming Data
Pros: This is the most convenient option in terms of setting up your MiFi device as it requires none. All you need to do is, turn on the international roaming setting on the MiFi device, and it will connect to the most viable network in the vicinity.
Cons: The downside, however, is that this option is most commonly the most expensive one. The reason behind this derives from the fact that network providers charge each other fees to make use of each other’s networks. This fee is then imposed on the individual user, that would be you. These charges have no limit as to how much they can cost given the fact that there is no competition, hence no incentive for them to charge low prices.
In fact, roaming is a niche that is exploited by network providers as one can end up in a sticky situation while travelling and have the urgent need to make use of their roaming data. Having said that, roaming data is the most convenient, yet is the least recommended due to inflated prices of its usability.
2. Prepaid Sim Card
Pros: Purchasing a prepaid sim card in the destination country is the most cost-effective option as it gives you all the benefits of using local networks such as having customer service at your fingertips when you need help and being able to top up your data bundle quickly and easily at the rate you choose to do so.
Cons: However, the downside of a prepaid sim card is that you would have to do your research in order to find the network with the best deals.
- You would not have access to using the sim card straight away.
- You would probably have to stand in a line right after your flight, depending on your mode of travel.
- You would need assistance setting it up and run the risk of facing a language barrier, again, depending on the country you find yourself in.
- You would probably have to do this for each country you visit.
3. International Roaming Data Plan
PROs: If you opt for an Internation Roaming Data Plan, you would need to predetermine your internet usage needs beforehand in order to get the best deal out of it. You can do so by discussing this with your network provider and be able to make the best decision based on your needs with professional advice.
- You would have immediate access to the use of data by simply activating your roaming data in the settings of your device.
- You pay a consistent price to have a consistent amount of data to use. Along with an overview thereof which you can monitor on the mobile network application that applies, depending on the network provider. Yet most networks these days have applications dedicated to user-friendliness and transparency of their data plan usage.
Cons: You might still have a glitchy connection considering your sim card is from your network provider at home.
- If something goes wrong, you will have to contact customer service in your home country which could incur extra costs on your behalf and you would have to take time zone differences into account when contacting your service provider.
4. So, what is the best option?
All in all, it can be stated that the most convenient option would be to sign up for an International Roaming Data Plan from your provider at home, given the fact that this will work in the majority of the countries you intend on visiting. Moreover, you eliminate the hassle of standing in lines at airports after a long flight and having to make yourself understood in a foreign language, simply to get connected to the internet. Preparing yourself to stay connected anywhere in the world beforehand, saves you from incurring unnecessary expenses in the long run, we are talking about both money and headaches.
WHAT IF I HAVE A LOCKED MOBILE?
But first, let’s clear up what it means to have a locked mobile phone and why it is locked in the first place. Well, it basically boils down to mobile networks selling mobile phones that are either locked to a specific network, country, or subscriber identity module (SIM card) to stop the phone user from using another network while on contract with the providing network.
Locked phones are sold to the user at discounted prices, usually on a contract basis with the aim of earning revenue through the provision of network services such as mobile data, mobile calls, and text messaging - in essence, a mobile phone plan. Locked phones can be used seamlessly when the user does not divert from using the internet service provider.
Therefore, when considering a MiFi device it is important to establish whether your phone is locked or unlocked as it determines the option you have in your buying process. Hence, we have picked out the best unlocked MiFi options especially for you.
TOP 3 UNLOCKED MIFI DEVICES
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MR1100
The Netgear Nighthawk range is of the best MiFis on the market. This particular device makes use of 4G connections and boasts the best features within its price range.
- Size: 4.2" x 4.2" x 0.8"
- Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Battery life: Up to 11 hours
- Connections: Up to 20 simultaneous devices
- Coverage: Global
Glocal Me G4
GlocaMe literally makes it their business to innovate devices for international travel. If you are willing to spend a little extra, you can't go wrong with the G4 Pro device. 4
- Size: 5.4" x 2.8" x 0.5"
- Weight: 6.7 ounces
- Battery life: Up to 15 hours
- Connections: Up to 5 simultaneous devices
- Coverage: 100+ countries
The Huawei E5577 hotspot can be used with any unlocked phone, this is a perfect budget option for on-the-go MiFi.
- Size: 5.75"x2.2"x0.56"
- Weight: 4 ounces
- Battery life: Up to 6 hours
- Connections: Up to 10 simultaneous devices
- Network: 4G
Best MiFi Brands
The best MiFi brands boast the latest technology with the most innovative features, robust hardware, and of course the fastest internet available.
Founded in 1983, Verizon is primarily a wireless network provider whose target audience is mainly business orientated. They provide solutions at a larger scale which is beneficial to larger businesses who seek quality service in large volumes, however, they also supply smaller businesses and entrepreneurs with their devices.
5G solutions are currently the latest and highest performing innovations offered by Verizon and they come in various forms suitable for all needs from students to large conglomerates.
More; they have joined the competition with Zoom and Microsoft Teams with their video conferencing platform Blue Jeans by Verizon, and have been so fortunat to establish their headquarters in Silicon Valley. The platform boasts the ability to collaborate seamlessly, with easy to use and high-speed performance.
That’s not all Verizon does, the company runs testing and researching projects to seek out where cybersecurity measures can be enhanced by analyzing potential threats and breaches performed by so-called hackers or cyber attackers. More can be read about this in the 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report.
Alongside that, Verizon provides other networking services in all sectors. As mentioned, their primary service is providing connectivity. Along with that comes mobile phone services and home connectivity solutions. Let us not forget some of the best MiFi solutions they provide with the latest technology incorporated into the devices they innovate.
Founded in 1983, Huawei is one of the top providers of information and communications technology running the race of innovations adjacent to the top brands like Samsung and Apple. Huawei pioneers some of the latest technology features which have not yet been researched and developed to a market-ready standard by Samsung or Apple. Instead, they dare to take risks in launching cutting-edge innovations that the world has never seen before.
Huawei produces a wide array of gadgets including, but not limited to mobile phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, wireless headphones, and of course MiFi devices. Like all their technological innovations Huawei’s MiFi devices stay up to date with the trends on the market. In fact, they launched one of the first 5G enabled Mobile WiFi devices called the Huawei 5G Mobile WiFi Pro.
Opting for Huawei gives you the security of an internationally trusted brand with potentially the latest features on the market. However, reviewers have repetitively claimed that Huawei products have proven to not guarantee the longevity of their products. Of course, depending on how careful you are with your gadgets, they work optimally for approximately one year until they start showing signs of defects, as if they have an expiry date.
Founded in 1966 in China, TP-Link is a global provider of networking devices that started out by producing routers for homes and businesses and their products have evolved over time to keep up with trends on the market. They now provide businesses with smart solutions for connectivity, storage, and security measures.
TP-Link provides Omada software solutions for performance management within Human Resource Departments, Shared Project Management Programs and Point of Sale platforms and so many more smart solutions to streamline processes that can be applied to several industries to improve networking.
They have also caught up to the Smart Home Trend such as Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa. With seamless wireless connectivity, the consumer home can now be equipped with TP-Links very own devices to pair with the Deco ISP Cloud Management System. Moreover, Deco ISP is not only compatible with generic devices to connect to it, but also with other branded devices.
Opting for TP-Link for a MiFi device, you will be ensured a thoroughly researched and developed apparatus produced by a company that learned from their competitors’ mistakes and applied improvements to their own products.
Founded in 1996, above all, NetGear, promises high performance and stable connectivity in the form of simple solutions. They accommodate consumers of all demographics such as families, homeschooled children, gamers, and even hobbyists. Moreover, they innovate products suitable for all types of businesses. That includes entrepreneurs running businesses from home and small to medium sized businesses.
For consumers on the other hand, Netgear makes it their business to innovate the best networking technology for homes and businesses. Their mission is to transform their ideas into user-friendly devices that feel like it has been personalized to the user.
With the latest and fastest wireless internet technology, Netgear boasts a superior level of streaming, storing solutions for all your important data, and having all networks and devices seamlessly connected. Bringing the user convenience and saving the user the hassle of glitchy connections, allowing the user to do more.
Businesses are enabled to use their time more efficiently, while NetGear takes care of keeping the network stable and connected with their easy-to-use solutions. Allowing businesses to focus on growing and boosting their productivity while NetGear takes care of the rest.
Netgear’s main focus remains simple to use wireless network technology that offers networking, storage, and cybersecurity solutions while eliminating the complexity and cost of elaborate IT solutions.
When referring to Att MiFi, Netgear is the most commonly associated brand. However, several other networks provide Netgear devices on a contract or prepaid basis.
Founded not so long ago in 2014, Glocal Me as a company is solely dedicated to providing Mobile data Solutions, thus MiFi devices and mobile network data subscriptions. Glocal Me mainly targets local and international travelers and has coverage in most places in the world that enables wireless internet connection via their devices. Their devices are priced in the mid-range compared to other products on the market yet they still boast the use of some of the latest technology available.
Their Unique Selling point is without a doubt the cloud sim feature which enables the user to access connectivity without the hassle of a tangible sim card. The service can be used through the downloading of a phone application(app) and signing up for the service from within the app. They offer several options ranging from prepaid sims to long-term contracts.
Opting for GlocalMe allows the user to rent the device at a fairly low price per month without the binding of a long-term contract. This allows the user to use it in the short period of time that they intend on traveling, without the hassle of holding onto an item they purchased while having no use for in the long run.
Founded in 1996, Inseego’s mission is dedicated to innovating the best technologies for wireless internet. In fact, they invented the first device for Mobile broadband in the 1990s, and 10 years after, they invented the first Mobile WiFi-enabled Kindle by Amazon. Another 10 years later they invented the first touch screen MiFi Device. Since then they have been the patent holders to groundbreaking innovations for Mobile Routers which now feature on most MiFi devices produced by other brands.
Inseego thinks of solutions beyond the consumer’s initial thinking. When we talk about 5G, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Probably something along the lines of “hm faster video streaming, or faster mobile phone connection” But there are so many more critical uses for 5G that are not commercialized to the public.
For example, 5G enables paramedics to send faster signals in an effort to save lives. Faster connectivity enables a smoother and faster flow of traffic within a city by optimizing transport infrastructures. It enables more productivity in smarter factories or farms by means of industrial automation, and this is only to name a few. Inseego thinks of advanced solutions to transform industries such as the Government, Health Care, Public Safety, and even Education.
Opting for Inseego as a brand will guarantee you the best MiFi technology available with partners with the most stable network providers. Given that their sole purpose is to provide solutions for Wireless Internet, they have a device suitable for every need in all shapes and sizes.
Founded in 1999 in the US, Cricket Wireless is a subsidiary of AT&T which is purely dedicated to providing wireless services mainly to consumers. However, small businesses can also benefit from their services.
Their unique selling point is the personalization of their offers to suit every consumers’ needs. The range of phones offered, caters to all price ranges, along with the wireless data plans with which the phone is used.
Within their offers, they provide the latest technology on the market at competitive prices. Cricket Wireless has one single device called the Cricket Turbo Hotspot 2, which makes use of the 4G/LTE mobile connectivity boasting some of the features offered in higher-end MiFi devices at a budget price. Their biggest competitor would most probably be the straight talk hotspot who only offer one hotspot as well, however, have more competitive data plans which come in prepaid variations, hence no strings attached which in some cases work
In addition, Cricket Mobile offers plans to help consumers make investments for the future. These plans can also be personalized for all budget sizes and savings goals for the future.
Opting for Cricket Wireless will leave you with one choice for a Mobile WiFi solution, the Turbo Hotspot MiFi Router. This option is perfect for those who are on a budget yet still looking to make use of modern wireless internet technology.
5G by Qualcomm
If you are tech-savvy, then you probably want to learn more about how MiFi devices are built and why they can lay the claims to the high speeds of internet connection they provide. Well, hotspot technology is advancing faster than we can keep up with it. In fact, over the last four years, the industry has witnessed exponential innovation of wireless internet service.
With 5G connectivity emerging around the globe, tech experts were forced to develop fast enough to accommodate the fastest network ever. We won’t dive too deep into the complexities of the technology, but we will pay tribute to the innovators of such incredible technology that make our daily lives more convenient.
Opting for 5G means that you have access to utilizing the latest technology designed and built by Qualcomm, the pioneers and world’s leading wireless technology innovator. Qualcomm innovates technologies that transform entire industries and enable ones that are emerging.
Opting for a 5G MiFi Device will not limit you to 5G networks. All 5G devices will still be able to connect to 3G and 4G networks in regions where 5G connectivity is not available. In fact, if you had a mobile phone that only accommodates 4G networks, then connecting it to a 5G enabled MiFi device would give you access to the internet speed provided by 5G broadband technology.
5G versus Wi-Fi 6
5G and Wi-Fi 6 networks are complementary to each other rather than competitive. We will explain why as soon as we have cleared up the difference between the two:
The 5G Antenna makes use of massive multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antennas that send and receive more data simultaneously than any internet technology before its time. The size of the antennas are similar to that of 4G, however, they will transmit a higher frequency of the signal.
5G networks will provide 50 times more speed and 10 times more latency and 1000 times more capacity than 4G. This indicated that 5G is able to supply more devices and transmit more data and faster than ever was possible. If you wish to utilize the 5G network, you will need a 5 G-enabled device.
WiFi 6 has been developed to reduce the issues associated with connecting multiple devices from the same network. Although it claims to have an even faster speed than 5G networks, that is not the initial purpose for which WiFi 6 was built. Instead, the main focus is to maintain a more stable connection with several devices feeding off the cellular data network along with a high-quality signal.
Wi-Fi 6 delivers 4 times the highest capacity and 75% lower latency. As mentioned before, Wi-Fi 6 is geared towards stabilizing the connection at higher speeds rather than increasing the potential speed of the connection.
The difference between WiFi 6 and 5G
However, WiFi primarily remains the connections that feed home-based networks to support multiple devices that are hungry for data like Smart Television, Gaming Consoles, streaming devices to name a few. Moreover, offices are more likely to utilize WiFi as they are in most cases bound to a specific location.
Whereas 5G is more dedicated to supplying mobile cellular data networks on the go such as Mi-Fi devices or even just mobile cellular connectivity to users on the go such as mobile phone users or travelers who seek a Dedicated Mobile WiFi source. As mentioned before, many industries utilize mobile networks more than we realize such as paramedics in Health Care, construction workers to communicate across large and loud construction sites, or Government agencies like the Police Force and the Fire Brigade. Below we have listed the best 5G MiFi Routers available in different price ranges.
TOP 3 5G MIFI DEVICES
NETGEAR M5 MR5200
Netgear NightHawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro is considered the best device available at the moment with the latest features, the fastest signal and the widest coverage.
- Size: 4.1" x 4.1" x 0.82"
- Weight: 8.6oz
- Battery life: 12 hours
- Connections: 32
- Network: 5G
INSEEGO 5G M2100
As the groundbreakers of the 5G MiFi devices, the Inseego M2000 offers the latest MiFi features in a robust case.
- Size: 5.9” x 2.2” x 0.7”
- Weight: 7.4
- Battery life: 12 hours
- Connections: 30
- Coverage: 5G
The main difference between theM2100 and the M2000 is that the M2100 enables more than double the amount of battery life before charging.
- Size: 5.9” x 2.2” x 0.70"
- Weight: 7.4oz
- Battery life: 11 hours
- Connections: 30
- Network: 5G
The fastest MiFi device for intense usage
Internet users looking for the fastest and most stable connection will have to be the gamers and streamers of 4K videos, as these internet activities transmit the largest volumes of data while running, therefore, the connection requires both optimal strength and speed in order to function sufficiently. Both of these features can only be found in the best of the best MiFi Routers in 2021.
Fastest MiFi for Streaming
Wanting the Fastest MiFi for Streaming is not such a tall order these days. As we mentioned before, technology keeps advancing to facilitate our first-world needs. Depending on the quality of streaming you prefer, the speed will vary accordingly. Hence, HD streaming merely requires a speed of 5Mbps. However, if you wish to stream higher quality videos, such as HDR or 4K, you will need at least 10Mbps to start with and for the optimum streaming experience, 40Mbps is recommended. Below, we have selected the best MiFi device dedicated to streaming high-quality videos. With this device, there is nothing you will have the best mobile streaming
Inseego 5G MiFi M2100
Streaming on the go is a luxury, lets admit it. Any router that reaches speeds above 40Mbps will do for streaming 4K, however if you want to guarantee you will have the best streaming quality, we recommend you go for the M2100 as it has a battery life of 24 hours.
- Size: 5.9” x 2.2” x 0.7”
- Weight: 7oz
- Battery life: 24 hours
- Connections: 30
- Network: 5G