After a week with the beloved iPad, I am starting to see the bigger potential for the device. admittedly in the beginning I was a naysayer (sorry to all), but after using it for the last week, I truly see the bigger picture.
That said though, my biggest gripe about the iPad is the WiFi. Well, I suppose I can’t really call it a gripe, I think it’s got more to do with the fact that South Africa still hasn’t seen the WiFi wave that you have in say America or Europe. Internet access is hard to come by in SA unless you have an ADSL line, which means you can’t use a mobile device, or 3G. although the higher spec iPads do have 3G connectivity, the model I received is a WiFi unit.
So that’s that were the Vodacom MiFi device comes in. The awesome team at Vodacom kindly sent me a MiFi device to use with my iPad, and WOW, what an amazing piece of hardware. The MiFi is a 3G broadband router which is capable of speeds up to 7.2MB/sec, AND it also acts as a Wireless hotspot. What this means is that you can have 5 wireless devices connected to the MiFi hotspot, all sharing the 3G connectivity.
So I picked up the MiFi (marketed as the Vodafone MiFi 2352) yesterday from the swanky new Vodacom offices in Umhlanga Ridge. They have just completed the building, and it looks awesome, although no where near as pretty as Vodaworld :) Earlier in the day, I had bought a pre-paid simcard for 99c (Bargain), which I had to RICA before I could use it. Surprisingly the RICA process was pretty painless, and I did all my sims, and I was out in 5 minutes. I then loaded the sim with a prepaid data bundle (R88 for 110MB). Once I had the new gadget in my hands, I put the sim card in, switched it on, and it just worked. Boom. Just like that. No config, no setting up, no messing with advanced settings. It JUST worked. Easy.
Once the MiFi is up and running, you can search for a wireless hotspot using the iPad, or any wireless device, it will pop up with the name of the MiFi, usually something like VodafoneMobileHotspot_XXXX. It will then ask you for a WEP key password. They key can be found on the back of the battery compartment, and once you have entered it, it stores the key and keeps you connected. You can also change settings by navigating to http://vodafonemobilebroadband.hotspot/ from any of the connected devices, which will allow you to log in and change some of the options.The rechargable battery lasts up to around 4 hours, so you can use it while you are on the go.
And that’s it really. It is by far one of the easiest pieces of equipment I have ever needed to set up. I am looking forward to getting out and about and using the MiFi device, and seeing what it is capable of. You can pick up a MiFi device from most Vodacom retail outlets, for around R2500. The price may seem steep, but it is well well worth it if you travel and need constant internet access. If you don’t come right, pop me a mail, and I will try to point you in the right direction. I will also post some of my findings in the future about the MiFi and how it handles the networks and the different devices.