The answer, until recently has been “sorry chum, you’re out of luck”. That is unless you have a rocket stick for your laptop and you do some clever network tweaking in Windows 7.
Thankfully, there is now a much more sophisticated and robust solution in the form of the MiFi 2372 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. Just released on the new Bell Network, think of this tiny gadget as 3G rocket stick and Wi-Fi router all rolled into one, plus a handy MicroSD slot which can act as a shared drive of up to 16GB.
You’re even free from the hassle of finding an AC outlet as the MiFi sports an internal rechargeable battery which the manufacturer claims can last for up to 4 hours on a single charge.
Here are the detailed specs:
- Connects up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously
- Computers, PDA’s, cameras, music players, personal and game players and more
- Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery
- GPS- enabled
- Advanced internal antenna system
- NovaSpeed® capable
- Auto-install and auto-connectivity
- 10M (30 ft) range of network coverage
The possibilities with a gadget like this are endless, but some of the ways it could be used include:
- Turn your car into roving internet access port. When on vacation with the family, all of the passengers could be running internet-connected devices from netbooks, to MP3 players to portable gaming systems like Nintendo DS or Sony’s PSP and PSP Go.
- Set up ad-hoc gaming parties in almost any location.
- Internet for the cottage, campsite or cruise ship: You no longer need to wonder if there is internet access when you head out on vacation.
The MiFi allows up to 5 devices to connect via Wi-Fi and can support download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps and uploads of up to 5.76 Mbps.
For more info on the MiFi and Bell’s 3G data plans, check out Bell.ca.
Update: May 10, 2010
Looks like there’s a wee problem with Novatel’s MiFi product. Apparently the battery may “swell” and that, obviously, isn’t good. If you own one of these units, either through Bell or one of the other service providers that offered the MiFi, be sure to get in touch and see what they will do for you. Bell customers are getting their MiFi’s battery swapped free of charge, and during the 6-8 week turnaround time, they will be sent a Novatel TurboStick 3G to tide them over.