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Considering MiFi

dennisb66
Grafter
Posts: 371
Registered: 01-08-2007

Considering MiFi

I think I am wasting a lot of money on my broadband and home phone .During the Summer months I now stay in my static caravan in Chapel St. Leonards only coming home approx every 3/4 weeks  for 2/3 days to catch up on my gardening.During these months I am using a T-Mobile dongle to access internet on my laptop.My wife and I both have a mobile phone.I think that my last 4 months use on my Plusnet is about 3GB.
          So i am considering closing my Plusnet and landline phone down and using a monthly contract MiFi.  I would be grateful for any advice from anyone who is experienced in using MiFi and the best to use.
12 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,280
Thanks: 444
Fixes: 40
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

I've used one out in Portugal earlier in the year ( it came with the apartment we rented ) and it worked great. Much simpler and flexible than a dongle.
I've just got one of these http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/search-keywords/xx_xx_xx_xx_xx/m5350/xx-criteria.html to use occasionally in the UK and for when I go back out to Portugal. Very impressed so far but haven't used it in anger yet. The advantage with that one is that it's not locked to any network so I can use it here on a UK network and then get a sim out in Portugal. A colleague of mine got one just after me and is using on the 3 network and says it's much quicker than the dongle he was using.
Hope that helps
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,921
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

I've been a very big supporter of 3G internet for a few years now and while I don't use MiFi, I wouldn't hesitate to do so as the dongles take an age to plug in, load up, get connected etc.
I'd prefer mifi over a dongle any day.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,459
Thanks: 274
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

As an alternative to MiFi, have you considered using a regular wireless router that has a USB socket which supports a 3G dongle.
You can simply plug your existing 3G dongle into it for full networking functionality, or unplug the dongle for when you want to use your laptop away from your base.
When in your caravan it will give you a decent wireless router, with proper firewall and all the usual networking capability of a wired connection, and a strong WiFi signal.
An example of a router with 3G capability is the Vigor 2110, but there are many others.
Wink
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,825
Thanks: 1,115
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

My 3G dongle connects within a short period of time... about the same time as ordinary wifi takes to find a suitable connection signal... less than 30 seconds in some cases... and I am using ****** windows so stop slagging off between windows and linux...
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,770
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Registered: 08-10-2010

Re: Considering MiFi

I used a 3 dongle for years. No problems at all.
My daughter got a mi-fi from 3, had 2 laptops and a phone running without problems. Mi-fi is convenient at home, and if you go anywhere, it has a battery so you can take it with you so if you have desktop and 2 mobile devices connected at home, when you go away you take the mi-fi and don't have to worry about setting up.
Only thing to research is making sure you have a network with good coverage at both locations.
Don't forget to check out giff-gaff. No contract, unlimited data for about a tenner.
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,459
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

Quote from: doris
Don't forget to check out giff-gaff. No contract, unlimited data for about a tenner.


I thought that looks interesting, until I found this -

From GiffGaff FAQ - http://community.giffgaff.com/t5/Using-giffgaff/Tethering-policy/ta-p/7816336
Quote
Tethering is the act of sharing your mobile Internet connection with any other device through WiFi, a USB connection, or any other connectivity method.

Quote
Tethering is strictly forbidden on all goodybags that contain unlimited data allowance (£12 and upwards), but is authorised on the goodybags with a limited data allowance (Hokey Cokey, the £7.50 goodybag and the £10 goodybag).
It is authorised on all gigabags and also authorised if your mobile internet usage is being charged from your airtime balance.
The reason that we do not allow tethering on an unlimited mobile internet goodybag is to ensure that we are utilising our network resource as efficiently and fairly as possible, so that it’s working to deliver the maximum benefit to giffgaff members. 

Quote
If you are tethering with an unlimited data goodybag, your usage will be identified as an illegitimate usage, as per the Terms and Conditions.
You will then fall under the policy to manage illegitimate usage and your Internet access may be suspended.


Here are the GiffGaff data plans for dongles - http://giffgaff.com/goodybags#data
Thunderclap
Grafter
Posts: 673
Registered: 08-09-2008

Re: Considering MiFi

Quote from: dennisb66
I think I am wasting a lot of money on my broadband and home phone... i am considering closing my Plusnet and landline phone down and using a monthly contract MiFi.  I would be grateful for any advice from anyone who is experienced in using MiFi and the best to use.

Indeed you could be waisting good money. People who use the internet for email and web pages every few days, come nowhere near the data limit. Pricey unlimited Fibre is not for them, it is for multi user families with data greedy teenagers!
I assume by going MiFi you mean using those pebble sized standalone devices like the Huawei E586/E5331? These devices are great for On The Go (OTG) usage; especially in a hotel, a train (or caravan park I assume) where the only thing hot about the wifi hotpsot is the price.  However, for constant home usage the downside is they need recharging. Furthermore, although five to ten users can connect, in practice two users could sag the internet response time of the little box. Good wifi range is about twenty meters.
There is a halfway solution though, and that's to use the existing dongle plugged into a custom 3G router. A 3G router is a fully functional network router that instead of connecting to the cloud via ADSL, has a USB port in the back for a third party 3G dongle. The box functions as a normal network router, with firewall, multiple connections and strong wifi. The NetGear MBR624GU is one example and the TP-Link TL-MR3020 is a smaller more portable 'travel' version.  Not all dongles are supported by these router's firmware and, that's probably the case with the new breed of 4G dongles.
btw Everything almost Everywhere does a 4G Pay As You Go dongle (see Argos).
Cheesy 4G   Grin 3G   Cry GPRS
itsme
Grafter
Posts: 5,924
Thanks: 1
Registered: 07-04-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

Giffgaff monitor data usage very closely and cut users off when tethering is suspected.
Ovivo http://ovivomobile.com/ my be worth looking at 750mb per month no charge.
Thunderclap
Grafter
Posts: 673
Registered: 08-09-2008

Re: Considering MiFi

Quote from: itsme
Giffgaff monitor data usage very closely and cut users off when tethering is suspected.

Tethering is 'discouraged' on Giffgaff mobile phone (voice) plans, but most of their internet (data only) plans allow for it.
You use the data only SIM in the MiFi device.
Razer
Grafter
Posts: 1,375
Registered: 17-11-2012

Re: Considering MiFi

Tethering was forbidden on my 3 'all you can eat' data thing. Made me laugh. 'all you can eat' and tethering was forbidden? Fuck that. I still tethered. If I'm paying for all you can eat data, I'm gonna eat all I want.
Community Veteran
Posts: 13,921
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Considering MiFi

Quote from: purleigh
As an alternative to MiFi, have you considered using a regular wireless router that has a USB socket which supports a 3G dongle.
You can simply plug your existing 3G dongle into it for full networking functionality, or unplug the dongle for when you want to use your laptop away from your base.

Yes I've seen these but mifi is pretty much the same thing IMO except that the mifi is portable (although it doesn't offer routing as a network switch afaik).
Quote from: shutter
and I am using ****** windows so stop slagging off between windows and linux...

I didn't say anything other than it takes an age to get the software loaded up. I don't recall mentioning windows at all. I certainly didn't mention that other heap of ****.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,770
Thanks: 33
Fixes: 1
Registered: 08-10-2010

Re: Considering MiFi

Quote from: Thunderclap

Tethering is 'discouraged' on Giffgaff mobile phone (voice) plans, but most of their internet (data only) plans allow for it.
You use the data only SIM in the MiFi device.

I was pretty sure you could use Giffgaff for internet on laptops etc. I have a couple of friends who do so, and have done for some time. They both reckon it is really cheap.
It is a 'virtual network' though, so it runs on one of the main companies system. Not sure which though.  Embarrassed