Priced at $400 without a contract ($170 with a one-year contract or $100 with a two-year contract), the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot isn't affordable, especially when you consider the data plans. There are two of them: either you pay $40 for 250MB a month or $60 for 5GB month. Considering some cell phone plans give you unlimited data for just around $30 a month or the $50 unlimited data plan of Boost, these are rather expensive. There's no option to have an unlimited data plan, either, which means you will have to pay extra (5 cents and 10 cents per MB for the $60 and $40 plans, respectively) if you go over the limit.
However, as a mobile broadband router, the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, which is manufactured by Novatel, is an excellent product. It's a tiny device that offers instant Internet access to up to five Wi-Fi devices, virtually anywhere in the United States. This is the first of its kind that we've reviewed and we really liked it. If you travel for business in a group of five or less, this superportable router will come in handy.
Design and ease of use
Just slightly larger than a credit card and about five times as thick, the Verizon Wireless MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot is tiny and attractive. You can even keep it in your wallet, though we wouldn't recommend sitting on it.
On top, the device has a big power button that also works as a power light and battery indicator. This light is solid green when the device is turned on, red when the battery is low, and flashing green when it's charging. The light is almost too bright, though, which is nice in some cases but could be annoying if you want to keep the room dark.
On the right side, there's a Micro-USB port that accommodates the included wall charger or USB cable.
The MiFi 2200 ships with a small user manual booklet, but chances are you won't need to read it. You need only to connect the device to a computer using the included USB cable and you're almost set to go. When you connect for the first time, the MiFi's self-contained software will launch by itself and start the VZAccess Manager application. It then takes just a few clicks to activate the MiFi 2200. The MiFi will charge when it's connected to a computer.
After activation the MiFi 2200 will work as a modem when it's connected to a computer, or a router when disconnected. In modem mode with the VZAccess Manager software, it provides an Internet connection to only the computer to which it is physically connected. In router mode, however, it automatically connects itself to the Internet and shares that connection wirelessly to up to five other Wi-Fi devices. This mode works just like any other wireless router and clients can just pick up its signal automatically.
The default network name (SSID) and the default encryption key are printed on the bottom of the device. In case you have changed those and forgotten the information, there's also a little reset hole on the bottom of the device that brings it back to its original default settings. So generally, once the simple setup process is done, all you have to do is turn the MiFi on and you're ready to go.
Given its tiny size, we didn't expect many features from the MiFi 2200 and were happy with what it has to offer.
By default, the router's Web interface is easily accessible by pointing the browser to this address: 192.168.1.1. Here you'll find regular features including the capability to change the SSID, the encryption key, the default gateway IP address, and so on. Other than that, we were impressed to find Port Forwarding, which is an advanced feature that allows for setting up special Internet applications such as an FTP server, an HTTP server, or a remote desktop connection. The Web interface itself was well organized and responsive, and works with any browser.