Big news. Hah. To save a whopping $10 a month I have let go my line for the Verizon Wifi Hotspot (left in featured above). I’ve not used it nearly as much as in years past, my contract is up. I’ve been testing tethering from my iPhone (which years ago required arcane jail breaking).
The downside of wireless tethering is it eats battery life. Bluetooth has distance issues, and some things suggested it more prone to dropping the signal. I did a few speed tests, but frankly if you do three in a row, you get varied results, so it ended up being pointless. I get good 4G up here in the metropolis of Strawberry, AZ and saw downloads while tethering of 16-24 Mb/s down, and about 1 to 1.5 upload.
It ended being put to use two nights ago when my cable internet went flaky for about 30 minutes, and I was able to do all my photo uploaded in not bad time using he tethered connection (I was wireless, but had the phone plugged into a charger).
I got my first “Mifi” when they were pretty new, in late 2009, when I was working for NMC (they paid):
That was when 3G was the norm. I had my carriers covered, as I had an AT&T iphone and a Verizon hotspot; I used that random in 2011 when I drove 15,000 miles around the US and Canada.
But look at what I described as “good” 3G speeds in a 2009 test from Portland:
These were super handy while traveling, in airports which lacked wireless or lacked free wireless, in hotels that charged crazy rates, or just being on the road. Around that time, 2010 or so, my cable internet at home was not all that stellar. In December when the cable got knocked out by a snowstorm, just for fun, I fired up the 3G mifi and found that it not only worked, but felt faster than my cable.
Also, because I came in early, I had unlimited data on that thing. For maybe a year or more, I used it at home more than the cable internet.
When I got back from my 2011 trip, I found that AT&T had stopped leasing a tower near my town, so there was not only poor signal, there was none. Being off contract, I waltzed down to the Verizon store and switched. Their signal was strong here.
But more than that. A year later, I walked from my house to have breakfast with friends at the Strawberry Lodge, leaving with 3G signal on my iPhone. By the time I got back home, I saw it had been bumped to 4G / LTE. I ran a speed test and was more than impressed with the numbers
I’m not sure I have seen 9 Mb/s uploads in a while, my hunch was I might have been one of the first people up here with a 4G phone?
But alas they would not let me upgrade the Mifi and keep my unlimited data (a kid in the Verizon Store spent 45 minutes trying every end around). The 4G/LTE speed was more that enough rational to give up that unlimited plan, and I got the JetPack that I just de-activated:
Having a backup connection has saved my butt countless times, when wifi is wonky. Or like nowadays at airports the inane ad hoops you jump through to get free wifi.
It’s been a nice ride, but I’m letting you go, Mifi. I’ll give the phone tethering some more tests, but at some point I will likely sell the Mifi on eBay.
I’m untethering myself from it.