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Review: Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi 4510L

Portable hotspot permits wi-fi use for mobile devices on the go

Older father and son on web camera on fishing trip for Internet on the Go

The MiFi 4510L makes it easier to share that next family outing with others. — Photo by Ocean/Corbis

Speeds of both a tortoise and a hare

We found the download speed of the 4510L fast like a jackrabbit, rivaling both our home and office networks speeds (7 megabytes per second). The upload speed however, had a much slower pace, like that of a tortoise (about half a megabyte per second; closer to dial-up).

What does all this mean? Well, if you plan to watch a few YouTube videos, surf the Web, and read your email or stream Internet radio — you're golden. However, if you want to attach large picture files to your email responses, or upload that crazy cat of yours playing the piano — again — you might want to step away from the device and watch some vegetables in the garden grow, as they will be ready before your video upload and picture attachments are done.

Home network wireless routers vs. MiFi

Unlike the wireless router you have at home, which allows a dozen or more devices to simultaneously connect to it, the 4510L only permits five simultaneous connections. This may sound like a lot less, but in reality it is probably all you and your family will need on that next vacation.

As long as your home router is plugged into the electrical outlet, it will stay on for years; we got about 4.5 hours of battery life out of the MiFi, which will get you through half a work day on the go before having to plug it into a computer or AC outlet for a recharge.

Your home network should have fairly dependable broadband speeds; the MiFi will deliver the same as long as you do not leave the Verizon Wireless data coverage area. For the fast, 7 megabyte per second–plus speeds, you will need to be in a Verizon Wireless 4G data coverage area (which is quite scant at the moment, unless you live in one of the bigger metropolitan areas; think D.C., NYC, etc.). If you leave the 4G coverage area, have no fear as the slower 3G connection will still get the job done while surfing the Web or checking email, just a few seconds slower per click.


Next: Should you ditch your home's current ISP? >>

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