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Mobile WiFi hotspot comes stateside

May 14, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Novatel Wireless's Linux-based mobile hotspot device will soon be offered by two U.S. wireless carriers, says eWEEK. Verizon Wireless will start offering the “MiFi 2200” to customers on Monday, while Sprint will introduce the Linux-based device in June, says the publication.

(Click for larger view of the MiFi)

As reported when the MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot was announced in December, the pocket-sized device is a low-cost WiFi/3G bridge/router that connects up to five WiFi users to share the bandwidth of 3G HSPA networks. The device is primarily intended for mobile teams that need to quickly set up ad hoc workgroups in places with little or no existing Internet infrastructure.

The MiFi 2200 measures 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.4 inches, weighs 2.05 ounces, and provides integrated internal CDMA and Wi-Fi antennas, says Novatel Wireless. It is also said to offer GPS, a MicroSD slot supporting up to 16GB cards, and security and authentication technologies. The MiFi 2200's rechargeable battery is claimed to provide up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge, when limited to a single user.

In February, Telefonica Espana announced it would offer the MiFi 2352 version, which appears to offer similar features as the U.S-targeted MiFi 2200 devices. Now, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have picked up on the novel device, say two eWEEK stories.

Both carriers will offer the MiFi for $100, after a $50 mail-in rebate, and with a two-year customer agreement, says eWEEK. Verizon Wireless monthly charges are $40 for a 250MB monthly allowance and 20 cents per megabyte overage, or $60 for a 5GB monthly allowance and 5 cents per megabyte overage. Sprint, meanwhile, plans to offer a $60 per month mobile-broadband-only plan as well as a $150 per month “Simply Everything” plan, which combines phone service, plus MiFi device connectivity.

Hotspot for the beach

Sprint's president of network, wholesale and product Steve Elfman, was quoted by eWEEK as saying, “You can hold the MiFi 2200 in the palm of your hand, slip it in your pocket, even place it on a beach towel if you're lying under the sun and wirelessly connect your laptop, MP3 player and gaming device to the Internet all at once.” Elfman was also said to have announced that Sprint Wholesale will offer the device to wholesale wireless partners for professional field deployments.

Novatel Wireless has stated that it will encourage the development of third party applications for the MiFi, with planned applications include auto VPN, automatic syncing of email, location-based applications, and optional remote management capabilities for enterprise IT managers. User-specific “landing pages” will be available on the device that “consolidate and personalize mobile Internet services,” and act as a platform for wireless operators to offer content and services, says the company. So far, however, there is scant information available on any of these plans.

Availability

The eWEEK story on the Sprint MiFi offering should be here, and an earlier story on Verizon Wireless' MiFi deal should be here.


 
This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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