One of the many burgeoning wireless technologies gaining traction with users is mobile 3G/4G MiFi Hotspots.
With the increasing desire for WiFi mobility and omnipresent connectivity, carrying around a portable hotspot just makes things easier. One of the best perks of the mobile hotspot is saving money especially if you know how to maximize its usage. Merging data plans into one prime service makes monetary sense.
Popular 4G mobile hotspots like Novatel MiFi 2200 and Samsung SCH-LC11 get pretty good speeds ranging from 5–12 Mbps download and 2–5 Mbps upload. Who wouldn’t want to pay one price for one device that can cover your wireless Internet needs wherever you go. This little credit card sized device can help you avoid the collection of expensive (and often throttled) wireless data plans. Who needs separate 3G/4G data plans for their smartphone, their tablet, a wireless laptop card, and whatever way mobile providers want to lock you in and milk consumers for cash.
The MiFi Limited Connection Problem
If you use the MiFi hotspot as your central connection point at home to replace your broadband, give yourself a pat on the back for being an intelligent and thrifty consumer. For others, 3G/4G MiFi Hotspots have been a godsend, bringing broadband speeds to locales unable to get wired service, especially in rural and remote locations that providers do not feel is worth their time to invest in laying cable and fiber-optic services.
One of the major downfalls of a MiFi hotspot from a provider like Sprint EVO, Verizon, or AT&T is connection limitations. The standard for 3G and 4G MiFi devices is a limit of 5 assigned IP addresses, clearly not enough for an entire family and barely enough for the average individual with a moderate amount of devices.
Imagine you have 3 devices (an iPad, an iPad, and a MacBook) and your wife has 2 (maybe an Android and a Roku for her favorite shows) and your children have 5 (a PS3, an Xbox360, a Wii, a Windows Laptop, and the latest shiny Samsung Smartphone) that adds up to 10 IP addresses. Who wins the battle for the five spots?
Do you want to spend all your time trying to mitigating the battle for these assignments and keeping everyone happy? It sounds like what appeared to be a major win for savings and convenience quickly became the central point of contention for everyone with you at the center.
So to break the situation down in the simplest of bullet points…
Advantages of Purchasing 3G/4G Wireless Hotspot Router
- Portability. Good For Traveling.
- Save $$$ from Multiple Wireless Data Plans.
- High-Speed Internet Access in Rural/Remote Locales.
Disadvantages of a Using 3G /4G Hotspot Router
- IP Address Limited to 5 users.
- No Ethernet Connectivity.
- Minimal Advanced Routing Options.
- No VPN Capabilities.
How to Overcome those 3G/4G MiFi Hotspot Blues?
A DD-WRT Router of course! If you are having a wireless limitation or issue, DD-WRT Routers usually provide the solution.
In the case of the MiFi Hotspots, we recommend getting a router like Netgear R6400v2 pictured to the left loaded with a pre-screened DD-WRT build that works properly with the Wireless Client Bridge Mode or Wireless Repeater. FlashRouters will even set up the wireless client bridge or wireless repeater mode for you if you provide us with your network information.
What a Wireless Client Bridge does is take the MiFi Hotspot signal and redistributes the connection for upgraded purposes. It turns the MiFi connection into a fully functional network which is now connected to the Internet with full wired functionality.
The repeater mode does the same thing as a Wireless Client Bridge but instead of simply giving out wired connections it actually repeats your wireless signal and can also provide extra wireless connections. With a fully featured DD-WRT Router, you can set the number of users and IP addresses assigned to as many you want through automatic DHCP. No need to be limited to five connections.
For a more complete comparison, read our Wireless Client Bridge versus Wireless Repeater blog post.
If you need to take the MiFi card out and about with you, use it as you go and then return home, you can then simply reboot the Wireless Client Bridge DD-WRT Router or unplug it and just plug it back in (do not reset it) and the FlashRouter will establish a new bridge/repeater based on the pre-configured settings for you to activate your home network.
How to Use a DD-WRT Router with a 3G USB Modems/Dongles?
Many of our routers come with Networked USB ports like the DD-WRT favorite, the Netgear R6400v2. These units have plug and play connectivity with 3G USB dongles as long as your router is loaded with the proper firmware upgrade which is included in the price of all FlashRouters.
Once plugged in, the DD-WRT FlashRouter becomes like any other router and can be the gateway router for your entire home. If you want to take the 3G USB Router on a trip or out to the local cafe so you can be out in public but browse in private, just remove it and take it with you. When you come home, just plug the USB dongle in and reboot the FlashRouter to re-establish the connection.
All FlashRouters include full support for basic DD-WRT setups to make sure your router is up and running just as you desire.
For a complete list of supported 3G and 4G modems, please make sure to check out the DD-WRT list or Google your model number and DD-WRT to confirm compatibility.
If you have questions or are looking for unique setups or routers configurations, contact us via our support ticket system for the fastest responses.