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Author Topic: Mobile hotspots: your experiences. (mine included)  (Read 2211 times)
superboyac
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« on: March 19, 2012, 10:06:04 AM »

I know relatively few people have tried hotspots, so I'm curious what any of your experiences are.  I've been reading about them on web articles, and most of them are completely useless.

So, I've been using one for a month now.  It's the AT&T Mifi 2372:


Firstly, it's built as cheaply as possible.  The plastic feels about as sturdy as a Pez dispenser.  It takes up to two minutes from when you turn it on until it's actually usable (like the wifi is active and ready to go).  The speed is 3G, and I don't really know what I'm supposed to expect, but it's slow as shit.  Loading the Android market on my tablet takes as long as 5 minutes, usually with a couple of refreshes necessary.  The connection is so slow that it becomes unstable.  Maybe they're two different issues...but when a browser takes so long to load a webpage because the connection is so slow, it usually breaks the connection...so from an end user's standpoint, it makes for an unreliable connection most of the time.

GPS.  I love GPS applications on my mobile devices.  This device supposedly has GPS.  Does it work?  Not really.  It's worked maybe 1 time out of 10 or 20 times I've tried it.  If I open google maps and get in my car and drive...it may take 30 minutes until it's connected and figured everything out.

And remember, these companies offering these are charging $50-$100 a month for this shit.  That is a lot of hours of labor for most people.  I mean, the thing simply doesn't give you close to the service that it is made for and marketed as.  What does this say about these companies?

Furthermore, like cell phones, you can't buy a good device and use it with your carrier.  You can ONLY use the two or three devices your carrier offers, because they're the only people who can buy the hardware. undecided

Anyway, these hotspots are a joke.  Until they can make them connect in under a minute with all the features working, and with a little bit more build quality, I don't see how they are worth more than $20 a month, if that even...if you can't use it, what are you paying for??
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4wd
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2012, 10:25:03 AM »

You can ONLY use the two or three devices your carrier offers, because they're the only people who can buy the hardware. undecided

This is something I don't really understand, don't/can't any of the carriers in the USA just sell you a SIM ?

Fair enough if you have to be locked into some kind of monthly contract but why do you have to use their hardware, (phone/3G router/etc) ?

Are you saying you can't buy a phone/3G router from somewhere, (store internet/China), grab a pre-paid SIM and just use it ?

Does the USA even have pre-paid SIMs ?
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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2012, 10:33:23 AM »

You can ONLY use the two or three devices your carrier offers, because they're the only people who can buy the hardware. undecided

This is something I don't really understand, don't/can't any of the carriers in the USA just sell you a SIM ?

Fair enough if you have to be locked into some kind of monthly contract but why do you have to use their hardware, (phone/3G router/etc) ?

Are you saying you can't buy a phone/3G router from somewhere, (store internet/China), grab a pre-paid SIM and just use it ?

Does the USA even have pre-paid SIMs ?
I've looked into it, but have hit far too many obstacles to deal with.  You can get a sim card, I think, but even that would be a little complicated.  Getting a router, no way.  You can get an unlocked phone or something and use that as a router, but that will probably be very expensive and complicated, too.  Then, after all that is done, it's a crapshoot what kind of connection you will have.  It may be connected and working, but possibly so unreliable and slow or choppy that you'd be spending half your time using the connection, but the other half of your time will be spent watching and waiting for the wifi to connect, or adjusting the wifi settings, or managing the connection preferences, etc.  Android's wifi manager doesn't help, either.  That's another thing I suspect: the Android OS seems to have trouble with these mobile hotspot things, and wifi in general.  It's not terribly smooth.
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skwire
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2012, 12:47:04 PM »

I use my (rooted) Android phone as a hotspot for my kids when they want WiFi acces for their iPod Touch devices (when we're on the road, etc.).  It takes all of twenty seconds to start the app and have the kids connected.  I've also used it for my work laptop when I'm travelling.  For the record, though, I'm on an unlimited plan and I refuse to pay tethering charges.  What a damn joke they are.  Instead, I use whichever free tethering app works at a given point in time.  If said tethering app gets shut down or stops working, I simply move on to the next one that does work.
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superboyac
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2012, 12:54:13 PM »

I use my (rooted) Android phone as a hotspot for my kids when they want WiFi acces for their iPod Touch devices (when we're on the road, etc.).  It takes all of twenty seconds to start the app and have the kids connected.  I've also used it for my work laptop when I'm travelling.  For the record, though, I'm on an unlimited plan and I refuse to pay tethering charges.  What a damn joke they are.  Instead, I use whichever free tethering app works at a given point in time.  If said tethering app gets shut down or stops working, I simply move on to the next one that does work.
Yeah, they are cracking down on the tethering lately.  The phones converted to hotspots seem to be working far better and more reliably than the actual hotspots.  I tried it with a couple of my coworkers' samsungs.

But think about, of course it works.  People will complain like crazy if their phones behave as badly as the hotspot I described.  So the cell phones and whatever is inside is pretty reliable, and using it as a hotspot is also pretty good.  Now, why are the hotspots so much worse?  Because they are an afterthought right now.  Not only that, but hotspots are bad for business.  The cell phone companies don't want hotspots to become high in demand, because it makes it harder for them to charge per device.  So they're not going to go out of their way to market them, or make them terribly convenient to use.  Not until the demand increases.  And the way they are cracking down on tethering, and bandwidth limits, and additional charges for whatever they can find...the demand will soon increase.  Most people still don't understand the flexibility of hotspots as it relates to bandwidth and monthly bills.
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superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2012, 12:56:23 PM »

The other annoying thing: a lot of the cooler tablets that I use are wifi only, like the ASus transformer.  The wifi connection routine is a pain and difficult to manage just right.  On the other hand, an ipad or an android phone's cellular connection works all the time every time.  When these guys want to get it right, they can do it.  But only if it means $$$.
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Stephen66515
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2012, 10:28:34 PM »

I just use my cheap android phone as a wifi hotspot for when im on-the-go or stuck in a car for long periods of time.  Quite handy as my phone allows you to turn it into a wifi hotspot, using the stock firmware (With or without security {PSK/WEP etc})

Its not brilliant in terms of speed (3G) but it gets the job done, and does allow me to watch youtube videos and such, and can also grab streams from my home PC without any real buffer issues smiley
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 10:45:45 PM »

I just got back from Seoul a little while ago - it's probably enough to say that Seoul IS a Wi-Fi hotspot! smiley

You only need to scan to find an open signal. There are some that require payment, but if you have Skype, it will automatically detect it and do the payment for you with your Skype-Out credits!

Here's a screenshot:



Most of the time I could just get an open, free signal.

Man... if only the rest of the world could catch up (and not be so darned paranoid about 'security').


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barney
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2012, 12:18:47 AM »

As does skwire, I use a cell phone, a T-Mobile MyTouch 4G in my case, whenever the need arises.  I've had as many as five (5) systems accessing it w/o strain, and it's a part of my service, so there's no extra charge.  Don't really see the need to get a discrete device for that functionality, since it doesn't interfere with inbound or outbound calls.
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kyrathaba
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 10:14:22 PM »

how about karma?
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