The MiFi Hub – Connect Your Net book, PSP and Nintendo DS Anywhere

One of the alternatives to the very popular USB modem now on offer is the mobile broadband hub. Small, light and compact, this battery-operated wireless machine can connect several devices including a Nintendo DS and an iPod Touch to the Web at the same time as your Netbook. Up to 5 devices can be connected at once to the WiFi network created by a “MiFi” hub. A security key is necessary for each device so that just equipment that you authorize can access this mini network, which is an important privacy feature and will prevent others piggy backing your bandwidth.

If you are carrying your mobile broadband hub in a pocket or a case you have a means of getting several pieces of equipment online without having to chase around for a WiFi hotspot. In a practical sense, this means that you can get new tunes to listen to on your iPod when using your net book, or get on the internet with your Nintendo DS all from the same hub. If you prefer a hard-wired connection a socket allows you to connect via a cable if you wish, but as this disables the wireless capability it is an option few people choose.

The bulk of MiFi modems include built-in rechargeable batteries that generally last for up to 5 hours, making them ideal for individuals who travel frequently. By using a pay-as-you-go tariff you can keep tabs on how much you’re spending and simply pay for the airtime you use. Typically, a £10 top-up will get you about 1GB of usage over a 30 day period, or for £15 you can get up to 3GB for the equivalent period. Anybody needing more than this can opt for the business rate, which with many providers means 7 GB for around £25 a month. Just like the evolution of the cellular phone market, this price point brings these devices inside anyone’s reach and is expected to result in a big sales boost.

There is a possible security issue, though, and that is that in a company on-site internet access is generally tightly restricted via the administration. Most employ safety measures to lower the threat of virus infection, and a number of others enforce limitations on employees usage of the Internet. The type of mobile hotspots produced by a cellular broadband hub may unwittingly provide a means by which staff may get around these precautions, so as they become more common many employers are banning their operation within the workplace.

Even so, as they are so handy and affordable these Mobile Broadband networks have become very widespread and that pattern is likely to increase in time.

-Set up an ad hoc WiFi network wherever you are -Connect any Wi-Fi enabled device -Get online with any WiFi-enabled equipment -Built-in rechargeable battery -Can double up as a storage device

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