FOR THE PAST TWO years, Mifi has impressed me with its versatility. However, I've also learned to appreciate the limitations of the little portable wifi dongles.
When I attend industry events throughout Ireland, people with devices set to snoop for open wifi nodes often know I'm in the vicinity because I have two E586 Mifi dongles offering free internet access to anyone within 20 square metres of my Bihn bag where the dongle rests. One E586 has the SSID Topgold running with a Three Ireland SIM and the other shows up as Bern-ie powered by O2-Ireland. I get appreciative glances because my devices are often more resilient than venue wifi. However, I also know they misbehave and need to be reset occasionally, just as I expect to reboot my normal wireless router.
In my experience, my fastest Mifi service (using 3Ireland) also returns the most errors in DNS look-up. That means the Mifi cannot find the name server so the web page I need to use returns blank with the DNS error message. I cannot get a result by refreshing the web page--I have to disconnect my laptop from the Mifi dongle and reconnect it.
In other cases, both my O2 and 3Ireland Mifi dongles cause errors when connected to apps on my handsets. I can often work around those errors by selecting a different Mifi option.
In all cases, I've been able to correct data problems by resetting the individual E586 dongles by turning them off and then back on.
My biggest surprise is discovering my O2 Hotshot is much more eager to connect me to multiple services simultaneously. The O2 Hotshot delivers a better experience with Google Hangouts than either a Vodafone USB modem or a Three Ireland Mifi dongle. The O2 Hotshot also appears to grab and hold downloadable audio coming through Android and iOS apps.
A lot of my experience is very anecdotal. I know other people, living in different parts of Ireland, have reported varying results from mine in County Tipperary.
I can get a minimum of four hours from a freshly charged Huawei dongle, even when it's connected to several clients. I can recharge its battery from a main power source via a micro USB connection, from my laptop or from a Mili portable battery pak.
I like how the Huawei E586 intelligently shifts from 2G to 3G to HSPA+ depending on availability.
I haven't used the E586 as a wireless component, although the dashboards in both of the providers suggests I can do that.Bernie Goldbach needs Mifi to service a mobile classroom.