iPad2 / Mifi

Discussion in 'iPad 2 Forum' started by npad, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. npad
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    npad iPF Noob

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    I am considering buying an iPad2 for use in my motorhome. When in the motorhome we usually stay in a fairly remote area in Northern California that has poor cell phone coverage.

    In the motorhome I use an ATT iPhone4 on which I can get a usable cell signal if I use a Wilson Sleek Cell Phone Signal booster. (the phone sits in a cradle) Without the Sleek I have one bar with no internet connection.

    With the Sleek I usually get 2-3 bars usually with Edge service but occasionally I will get 3G.

    I don't like using the iPhone for internet access because of the size of the screen and because it sits in a cradle making it awkward to use so I have a separate desktop that I use with a Verizon UMW190 USB modem. Using the modem I get a weak one or two bar but usable signal for my Internet use.

    I am very confused and really need help determining what would be the best way for me to use an iPad in the above situation.

    I am wondering if mifi might be the answer. I have been reading about mifi offered by Verizon and ATT (virgin mobile does not offer coverage in this area) and understand that it turns 3G into a wifi hotspot.(is that basically what the Verizon USB modem does for my desktop?)

    Will mifi offered by either ATT or Verizon be able to grab enough signal to allow me to use the iPad2?

    Will iPad2 operate on Edge signal?

    I have other questions but will start with these, thanks to anyone that is willing to help me out!
  2. SporkLover
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    SporkLover iPad Fan

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    I would call vzw and ask if the can convert your wireless Internet plan to a mifi. If so, you already know the signal is usable. Do it, and get a wifi adapter for your pc. Now one data plan covers your desktop and iPad, and it could even serve your iPhone when it has weak data reception.
  3. testerdennis
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    testerdennis iPF Novice

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    You should be able to use your IPhone as a hotspot for your ipad2. With the iPhone 4 in the settings you Should have a tab for Personal Hot Spot. Turn it on setup a password then turn your Wifi on your ipad2 then connect and you are good to go. We have a Motorhome as well and will be doing this.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  4. ipaduser434
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    ipaduser434 iPad Fan

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    The iPad 2 will work with Edge - but slowly.
  5. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Unless he has activated the hotspot feature with AT&T, cost $20 if I remember correctly, he will not be able to activate the hotspot feature of the phone.

    The Verizon MiFi would be the more expensive option, but it might work better. Verizon has better coverage in rural areas than AT&T, mostly. Check their coverage map. If there is any doubt ask around what kind of coverage people are getting there. If you are going to a camp ground the owners might know.
  6. npad
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    npad iPF Noob

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    Thanks for the suggestion however, isn't that considering tethering? I believe there are additional charges to for tethering to your iPhone as a hotspot.
  7. npad
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    npad iPF Noob

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    Does anyone know if I can I return the mifi device if I find it does not work for me?
  8. npad
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    npad iPF Noob

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    Okay another thing I am not clear about:

    If I purchase the WiFi/3G iPad2 I need to purchase a data plan in order to use it for 3G, correct?

    When I purchase the iPad2 I need to decide if I want to purchase an ATT or Verizon version because that is the provider service I am going to need to use for any 3G usage, is that correct?

    The fee that either ATT or Verizon charges for the iPad2 data usage. is this an additional charge to what I would be paying for the MiFi data plan or is it one and the same?
  9. f4780y
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    f4780y Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe the answer to all those is yes. But assuming mifi works in the locations you want, you would only need to buy a wifi only iPad... Having 3G and mifi seems like doubling up for you unless you are going with different carriers to cover your bases...
  10. madhatter61
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    madhatter61 iPad Enthusiast

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    Yes iPad2 will operate on the Edge signal, but it is much slower than EVDO Rev A. As you know data transfer is capped at 5GB per month. You can go over for a fee ... generally more than you want to pay. For that reason I don't stream movies or watch YouTube.

    There is no radio in ipad (1) or (2) that works with 4G. As you know the availability of 4G is limited ... mainly in large cities. Not where you will typically be camping. This is also why I did not go for the 3G radios built into the iPad2 as in a couple of years all this will be changing. I would rather have a 5 channel router than one dedicated channel (air card). Also the battery on the tethered phone is only about 4 hours max and the speeds are not nearly a good as Wi-Fi. My suggestion is load up movies on an SD card or on the iPad its self and watch what you want. Then update the movies as you desire so a new one is available.

    I have iPad2 & Verizon Novatel 2200 Mi-Fi. It is stricly trial and error for us. It depends upon the signal strength at the location you are in. Data transfer speed is proportional to signal strength ... higher strength ... faster data transfer. If you get a good Verizon signal your in business. As we all know no one carrier is the best in all areas. For example at Crane Lake in Northern Minnesota ATT was better than Verizon as for signal. However in the Mankato area where we live ... in the surrounding Mankato area, Verizon is much better than ATT. We were so busy catching fish we didn't have time to play with the phones or ipads. What is so nice about the camera connect kit is the photos you take can readily be backed up via SD card or USB from Camera. Then you can see a gorgeous slide show on the ipad2. So it goes.
  11. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    Or you could get the 3G Verizon iPad 2. You have an iPhone 4. Pay for the hotspot on the iPhone 4. When you need data on the iPad in a good AT&T area you can use that.

    The 3G on the iPad 2 can be turned on and off month by month right on the iPad. It does not require a contract. So when you get to a place that AT&T isn't working well, just buy a 3G plan on the iPad. When you are done you can turn it off with no penalty, right from the iPad.

    For quite a while I was doing it the other way around, with AT&T on the iPad and Verizon on my Phone. It works well, except I never got around to turning off the iPad's plan. It was just to convenient to have the data whenever I wanted without fumbling around with the phone too.

    I only used the phone when I wasn't near a WiFi spot and 3G AT&T was not available.
  12. wytey
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    wytey iPad Junkie

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    as you are getting a weak signal on your mobile, you will also get a weak signal on the mifi, unless you use a different carrier, providing they have a stronger signal in the area that you are in.

    since you can get a decent signal on the iphone using a booster, you may as well stick with that and save yourself some money, or get a solar charger for the iphone, so it doesn't run out of juice in the wild
  13. jsh1120
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    jsh1120 iPad Addict

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    Most of the OP's questions have been answered in the previous posts. I'll just add two cents.

    I recently upgraded a 3G enabled netbook from Verizon to their first 4G hotspot. (Samsung) and purchased the two year contract for $50 a month (capped at 5Gigs per month with $10 per gigabyte beyond that.) I don't use the VZW cell phone network very much but when I travel I must have internet access (for business) so the two year commitment is insurance for me.

    This enables me to connect up to five devices (via wifi) to the little hotspot router. Thus, when I'm unable to get a wifi signal at a hotel or client site, I can get 3G or 4G coverage via the hotspot router and connect my laptop, iPad, and Android phone via wifi.

    Of course, I cannot always get 4G coverage, but when I can it is about 8 times faster than a 3G connection. Not as fast as my cable modem at home (20-30mps) but almost equivalent in terms of experience (about 15mps).

    Here are some other options. Get 3G coverage with the iPad. An additional $130 for the iPad but the option of month to month data plan. This doesn't work for me, especially since it eliminates the 4G option.

    Use a phone as a mobile hotspot. This "tethering" option requires a monthly charge ($20 from VZW) unless one opts to violate one's contract and either "jailbreak" or "root" one's phone. And if you want 4G coverage, you'll have to get a new phone (e.g. Verizon's Thunderbolt) to take advantage. (And 4G speed with the Thunderbolt is slower than equivalent coverage with the hotspot router, though still very fast.)

    4G connections are also possible with Sprint's new phones but their "4G" network is significantly slower than Verizon's LTE version. However, it covers more territory at the present time and their "unlimited" data plan is cheaper.

    Unfortunately, no one offers a month-to-month data plan for phones or hotspot routers (to my knowledge.) And 4G coverage is just beginning to roll out. (It's useful to me because I frequently travel to cities that are supported but is currently useless if I go camping.) On the other hand, 4G networks are rapidly expanding. And once you've experienced the speed, you'll find 3G to be frustratingly slow.
  14. twerppoet
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    twerppoet iPad Legend

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    :eek: Flash back: Reading bulletin board messages faster than they scrolled down my screen, via 300 baud acoustic modem on a C64.
  15. jsh1120
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    Jeez, you're as old as I am. ;)
  16. twerppoet
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    Possibly older. I didn't get my first modem until I was in my late twenties.
  17. wytey
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    spectrum 48k

    ah the days of loading from tapes, only to find something went wrong and you had to rewind and reload lol

    or you had the volume wrong
  18. f4780y
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    Sinclair ZX80. Birthday present when I was 10. You had to build it from a kit!
  19. Catfiend
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    4k Apple ][, cassette player from Radio Shack, not mine but my step-fathers. I think it was my junior year in high school. After it was stolen several years later they found that the serial number was in the low 700's. The last Apple computer I used before my iPad.
  20. npad
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    Thanks to all for your comments and suggestions.

    I think because of the extreme remote area with almost no cell signal I would have to go with Verizon MiFi for whenever I purchase the iPad2.

    Although I get anywhere between a 1-3 bar Edge signal on my ATT iPhone when I use the signal booster, Internet access is very iffy. Sometimes it will not even connect and when it does it is indeed s.l.o.w.

    With the current Verizon USB modem that I use for Internet access, while I get a weak signal it does allow me to connect my desktop to for acceptable Internet access. I am assuming that my signal would be comparable with the MiFi.

    Unfortunately, this may be moot point because according to my account information when I checked online, I am not eligible for an upgrade until May 5012. For some reason I thought my modem contract was only a year contract and up soon. Damn!

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