Living in a bubble

phone sign 3I now live in a bubble — my own personal wi-fi bubble.
Wherever I go, theoretically, I have available a private hot spot, thanks to a new gadget called a Novatel MiFi 2200, available from Verizon.
I went to the local Verizon store on Monday and bought a MiFi 2200, signed up for a two-year contract at $39.99 per month and installed the software on my Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook and on my laptop. It seems to work fine.
The software will first seek an available wi-fi signal, as in a cafe or coffee shop. If no such signal is available, it will link the computer to the Verizon network.
wi-fi bubbleThe MiFi, the size of a credit card but a bit thicker, gets its Internet signal just as cellular modems do — in this case from Verizon’s 3G (high-speed) cellular data network — “and converts that cellular Internet signal into an umbrella of Wi-Fi coverage that up to five people can share,” said a May 6 story in The New York Times.
That should be very handy on my planned bicycle ride across the United States, depending, of course, on Verizon’s coverage in such areas as the desert Southwest and the Texas Hill Country.
I’m headed for the Hill County today for three days of cycling and hiking. We’ll see how well the MiFi performs.



Filed under Blogging on the road, Cool stuff

4 responses to “Living in a bubble

  1. Ben P.

    You should be far enough away from Roswell so that you won’t disrupt any extra terrestrial communication with your wi-fi bubble.

  2. Ben P.

    You are approaching 2,000 hits.

  3. flashriversafari

    Did you have any luck with your “personal bubble” MiFi connection on your ride out into Texas Hill Country? I think this could be the perfect answer to the canoe trip as well as they’ll be lots of out-of-the-way camp spots…

    • Neal,
      Cellphone service is sporadic in the Texas Hill Country. Because the MiFi relies in getting a cellphone signal, its use was also sporadic. I and two friends all had cellphones — two AT&T and one Verizon — and none of us could get a cellphone signal in the cabin where we stayed, so I wasn’t able to blog from there. As we traveled around in the Hill County, by bike and car, we would find cellphone service in and around various towns, but then I didn’t have my MiFi device with me. I would guess that the MiFi would work pretty well on a river trip because of all the towns up and down the river. But I know there will be dead zones. For example, a riverside restaurant a short way upriver from my hometown, Alton, Ill., is a dead zone. I’ve had breakfast there with friends quite a few times in recent years and none of us could get a cellphone signal. I’ll be taking the MiFi in June on a bike trip along the Katy Trail across Missouri and will give it another test then. Most of the 225-mile trail tracks the Missouri River.

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