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Verizon Mobile Broadband
January 16, 2011
11:31 am
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MrsGeek
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We’re at the Tampa RV Super Show this week and we spent some time talking to the folks in the Verizon booth.  They are selling the Mi-Fi 3G mobile hotspot device as well as the 4G USB modems. Watch the video to see what they have to say, then click on over to our Forum to discuss it.

January 16, 2011
4:16 pm
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David Cross
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Okay, I'll go first. I have a Cradlepoint MBR1000 which I have had for at least 2 years. I have a Verizon 727 aircard in it and it works good. Recently, I purchased a Droid 2 and have started teathering it to my computer using PdaNet. It works sometimes, but seems to hang up quite frequently. I was also using Connectify to allow Lynn to share the Droid's unlimited bandwidth. The frequent hang ups bother us both. When Verizon sent me an email telling me I could get an iPad through Verizon, I jumped on it, without even thinking. That is a bad habit I have. I have wanted the iPad since it was first introduced, but didn't want AT&T. I also would have prefered the iPhone, but that is another story. Had I thought just a little about what Verizon was doing to allow them to sell the iPad, I would not have bought the package which includes a MiFi2200. When I bought the package, I cancelled the 727 aircard contract. It had been over 2 years, so I was on a month to month and didn't have any penalties. Anyway, the MiFi2200 is month to month so I can at least dump it without penality if I choose to. Now back to the method Verizon is using to use the iPad on the Verizon network. They sell the WiFi only version of iPad and then let it access their network through the MiFi. I could have simply purchased the iPad from any retailer (Apple Store, Best Buy, etc.) and used my Cradlepoint with the aircard. Anyway, I also discovered that the WiFi only version of the iPad  doesn't have the GPS chip in it. That chip resides on the 3G board in the iPad, so I don't have true GPS capabilities like I was expecting and it can't be upgraded. Now, for the MiFi2200, I don't find it any faster then the 727 aircard and it seems to hang up also. Very Frustrating to say the least. Now, I realize that Verizon's 4G network is very limited at this time and it will be a couple of years before they get it built out, but I am wondering if I can just upgrade the firmware on my Cradlepoint MBR1000 to allow 4G. I am going to call the 3GStore tomorrow to ask them. I might be 4G sooner than I should. Bad me.

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

January 17, 2011
11:07 am
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David Cross
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Here is the answer I got from the 3GStore this morning.

See: http://CradlePoint.com/Lte

You will need to run a Beta release of firmware and be using a Pantech UML290 modem.  The VL600 by LG currently has no support.

Day after day as I try to remember, I find my forgetter working better and better.

January 19, 2011
8:27 am
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MrsGeek
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Hi David,

thanks for telling us your experiences. 

Although I think the MiFi is a really cool little device, I would definitely not recommend it over the 'data card – Cradlepoint' option.  I think the MiFi is for people who don't want to go to the extra expense or trouble that the cradlepoint requires.  When I asked the Verizon folks about putting the new 4G data card into a Cradlepoint they just said 'sure'!  Let us know how it goes.

January 19, 2011
12:55 pm
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S Allan Wilson
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I have a LG Octane phone that I got in November.  The reason was the Mobile Broadband Connect feature.  You could turn this on and off as desired.  When it is active (feature turned on) it cost $49.99 per month and allowed 5 Gig.  I turned the feature on when we went to the Western FMCA Rally in Indio, CA.  However, there is no more Mobile Broadband Connect feature.  Now, I have to have an unlimited data plan for my phone at $29.99 per month.  Then I need to add the 2 Gig MBB Cnnct Mob Hotspot package for $20.00 per month.  This is all so that I can either tether the phone to one computer or use it with my Cradlepoint 350.  Lower data than before.  Also, now my outgoing email does not work.  They seem to have changed something and I cannot use the smtp email server from GoDaddy.com(my web site host).  I need to switch to my Escapees smtp server.  This is new and annoying.  According to Judy at Verizon, they have opened a trouble ticket.  Time will tell.

January 20, 2011
2:15 am
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MrsGeek
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Oh no!  I didn't know they did away with the Mobile Broadband Connect … that is how we connected with our old LG phones too.  We now tether our Droids – but they can't tether to the cradlepoint router like the LG did.  That worked really nice, and we've kept an LG phone in reserve for just that purpose.

So, what happens when you plug in the phone and bring up the VZAccess software?  Usually features like that are grandfathered in for folks already using it.  Doe yours say, “Feature no longer availalbe, please call Verizon support” … or something like that?

As for your SMTP … there is usually a setting – 'Requires Authentication' – or – a different port number … that gets them to work.  Or the godaddy smtp should work too.  Check out this article: Why can't I send my email?  Another option is to use your gmail smtp.

January 20, 2011
2:35 am
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MrsGeek
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Lower fees for overages:

One thing I learned at the Verizon booth that didn't make it into the video is that they've lowered their fees for going over your data limit.  It used to be 10 cents per Megabyte (I think) which would translate to $100 per Gigabyte.  Now it is $10/Gigabyte.  A big difference. 

I think this makes their new $35/mo plan for 3 Gigabytes a reasonable option for lots of folks.  3GB is plenty for casual internet users who just check email and browse the web a bit.  And, if you do go over you get a bill for an extra $10 … not $100!

January 20, 2011
1:20 pm
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S Allan Wilson
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Well, the story continues.  I received a call from Verizon last night and was told that it was something to do with my computer.  Gee, nothing had changed since I last used the feature.

 

Bottom line, Verizon states that they just supply a method to connect to the internet, and do not support email functions.

 

I have been told that I can turn the unlimited data plan ($29.99) and the Mobile hotspot ($20.00) off.  We will see after the first of the month.  Now the Verizon store tells me that I could have done this with a smart phone.  Problem that I believe exists is that I have to have a data plan with that type of phone.

 

I am glad that we just use this feature once in a while.

January 21, 2011
9:47 pm
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MrsGeek
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Al, have you tried using a gmail smtp setting?

March 25, 2011
1:47 am
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CLARK Pohl
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I have used verizon mifi 2200 for over a year & traveled from arizona to Iowa to Oregon & washington & didnot find a location

that I wasn't able to connect. I use a pc with win 7 and a macbook pro and never have a problem with connection right a way

with the mac book but sometimes it takes several tries to get the pc to connect & then get msg.. that windows stopped

working & have to re-connect. i'm waiting for the 4g to come to our area , then can't decide if should get a iphone or the

droid for phone.  Also would like suggestions as if should stiick with I pad  and keep all  items on the apple network or if

the droid and xzoom should be way to go.  anyone with experience to date?

clark.pohl@gmail.com

March 25, 2011
11:04 am
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MrsGeek
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Hey Clark!

Glad to hear your experience with the Mi-Fi.

As for Macbook vs. Windows 7 – hmmm … I really don't see why Windows would have stopped on you.  But, that certainly is one of the reasons given why people choose Macs … they generally work smoother.  (as they should for the extra cost and the fact that it's a closed Apple system)

As for iPhone vs Droid … that was an easy answer when iPhone was on AT&T only.  Now that you can get iPhone on Verizon, it's not as clear.  iPhone is definitely more elegant, and has more apps.  Droid is more open and flexible, for example, you can use third party software like the tethering software we use, without 'jailbreaking' the phone.

As for iPad – do you have it now?  If so, I see no reason to switch.  If not, then I just ditto my comments on iPhone vs Droid.

Here are a couple of great video reviews by my favorite Tech columnist, David Pogue:

Motorola Xoom review

iPad2 Review

December 2, 2011
12:09 pm
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Dick
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Since we travel a lot, cellular mobile broadband seems to be the most economical alternative for us.  Prior to getting my I-Phone on AT&T, the Verizon 5 spot provided my only Internet access.  I have been using the Verizon 3G Mi-Fi 5 Spot mobile broadband with VZAccess Manager (on Windows 7 and Windows XP PC's), usually connected with the the USB cable, for over a year (one more year left on my contract).  The recent firm ware updates provided good improvements for on/off functions, etc.  While traveling in Alaska, Florida, and along the East coast we usually had good cellular connectivity.  However, I am experiencing problems with “stalled” connections and dropped connections, particularly at my home location in Wisconsin.  Connectivity is CERTAINLY NOT as fast or reliable as my old hard wire cable modem and Ethernet router that I abandoned when we started traveling.  Skype works fine, but even U-tube videos are disturbingly choppy.  I need to make some measurements at my home, where the location may be physically poor, or Verizon may be limiting the through put of their network.

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