MiFi vs WiFi – WiFi Router Or MiFi Mobile Hotspot?

MiFi vs WiFi - WiFi Router Or MiFi Mobile Hotspot?

What Is Mi-Fi?

Mi-Fi is a branded name originally coined by Novatel and was used for their portable wireless devices. Mifi devices are often referred to as ‘mifi routers’ or ‘mobile hotspots’.

In simple terms, a mifi device connects to the Internet via a mobile data sim card. That Internet connection is then shared out locally via Wi-Fi. Most portable mifi mobile hotspots (the 4G ones) allow up to 10 – 15 wifi enabled nodes to connect (normally around 5 nodes on 3G).

Example of a Mi-Fi Router: Netgear Around Town Mobile Internet

Netgear Around Town Mobile Internet AC778AT MiFi vs WiFi
The Netgear Around Town Mobile Internet 4G Mifi hotspot allows up to 10 nodes to connect.


Mifi Routers

Connectivity to the Internet is via 3G (up to 21Mbps) or 4G (80Mbps +). The 3G mifi routers can be picked up pretty cheap these days, now that 4G is becoming so popular. So depending on how fast and/or how many need to connect at the same time, 3G mobile hotspots may be enough for you.

4G is also known as ‘LTE’, which stands for Long Term Evolution.

Devices that can connect can be anything that has wifi capabilities. These can range from laptops, tablets, smartphones and even games consoles.

The main purpose of mifi hotspots is to allow connection for a few users to the Internet at the same time. This is generally the case when traveling, or working remotely, as normally people connect to the Internet via a traditional ISP through cable/fiber/ADSL etc in their homes.

Coverage is generally around 10 metres from the mifi unit at any one time.

One thing to note, is that the battery life on mifi routers can be a bit of a let down. Mifi routers require a lot of power, relatively speaking. Think about it, not only are they connecting to the Internet (which in itself isn’t too bad), but they then have to negotiate and transfer data back & forth between all the wifi devices – now THAT starts to kill battery life.

MiFi vs WiFi

What’s the difference between Mi-Fi & Wi-Fi?

Well, as we have kind of already explained, Mifi is a portable hotspot, which shares the Internet connection via mobile data to wifi devices. So, Mifi hotspots/routers actually use Wifi.

Wi-Fi is purely wireless connectivity to wifi enabled devices, which most of the time is for local clients, although it is sometimes used in long rage, often point-to-point or point-to-multipoint communication.

Check out our latest Wireless AC device round-ups here

Best MiFi Mobile Hotspots

It really depends what you are looking for. If you are after a really fast connection or you need more than 5 wifi devices to connect, we recommend opting for a 4G enabled mifi router. Otherwise, 3G just won’t do the job.

The last thing you want is everyone trying to browse the net and unable to do anything due to there not being enough bandwidth to go around.

So, to kick things off, here are a couple of the best 4G mobile hotspots. Note that none of these have contracts, so are unlocked and ready for you to add your own sim card.

Best 4G Mifi Mobile Hotspot

Verizon MiFi 6620L Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

Verizon MiFi 6620L Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
Verizon MiFi 6620L Buy Button
>>>Click here to learn more about this product, read customer reviews and purchase at Amazon<<<

With this badboy, you can connect to the Internet with either 4G (or 3G – although we don’t see why you would use a 3G card in a mifi router of this quality).

You can also let up to 15 wifi nodes to connect to it concurrently.

Battery life is pretty impressive – up to 20 hours. It also has a built-in USB port, so you can charge your device(s) off it if they are getting dangerously flat.

Of course, the downside is that the MiFi 6620L will drain faster, so you have to think through exactly how much battery you have left and balance out how much you should charge the other wifi devices against using the precious battery left in the Jetpack.

There is also a second mini-USB port, which is used for charging the unit. It also doubles-up as a tether port. So basically, you can plug in a device (whether it is wifi or not) directly into the Jetpack.

There’s a large touchscreen display which is easy to navigate.

Best 3G Mifi Mobile Hotspot

Huawei E5330 21 Mbps 3G Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Huawei E5330 21 Mbps 3G Mobile WiFi Hotspot
Huawei E5330 Buy Button
>>>Click here to learn more about this product, read customer reviews and purchase at Amazon<<<

The Huawei E5330 is those of you who are happy enough with 3G.

Remember what we said before. If you aren’t connecting many devices and are just doing some basic browsing, 3G MiFi hotspots can be sufficient enough for your needs. Just remember though that if you are in a low reception area, data throughput could be painfully low.

In this day and age however, 3G has great coverage in most urban areas, so hopefully, poor or weak reception won’t be too much of a problem for you…

Best Mi-Fi Plans

So, you have your Mifi router….now you want to get a plan.

The guys over at Prepaid Wireless Guide have a list of mifi plans for those of you in the US, who want to buy a mifi router outright (prepaid), and then want to buy your own monthly rolling plan.

In fact, there are many offers that are just daily or weekly plans, which is ideal for those of you who just want it, for say, a vacation or a work conference, when you temporarily need data on the move.


What about you guys….? Have you got a MiFi router? Do you rate them? Or are thinking about getting one?

Drop a comment below and tell us all about it!

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