[conspire] ISPs- commercial wimax and wimax/3G combo experiences

Tony Godshall tony at of.net
Fri Aug 31 09:09:01 PDT 2012

> ... currently I've been using a VirginMobile MiFi 2200 which is slow (don't know the MB/sec)  but it works for me as I can take it with me anywhere I go and have internet connection with this portable router/modem.  it connects 5 devices simultaneously via wifi.  very practical using ipod touch, air print/eprint printer, a pc and mac etc...  also just wanted to say hi to you, Rick and all you guys...


Thought I'd re-open this topic since I've got some recent experience to share.

1. Virgin Mobile Mifi 2200- had one for a while, paid $20/500MB a few
times.  Device ran hot, and I used it when travelling- it was fairly
reliable but slow and expensive and wouldnt charge properly without
its own brick, good riddance.  When it went missing, I didn't mind
that much.

2. Vrigin Mobile ZTE Peel.  Intended for use with a iPod Touch or
iPhone- I never used it that way.  Actually a general purpuse wifi
hotspot like the Mifi 2200.  Less problematic than the Mifi 2200 and
cheaper.  But limited to fewer clients.  Paid $20/500MB/10 days a
number of times when travelling.  One session with spouse and an iPad
can kill 500MB quickly tho!  Those apps are data-hungry things.  Looks
like the those data plans are no longer available.  By the way, the
Walmart version of the ZTE Peel gave 1GB for the same price.  But it
looks like the 10 day plans are gone except for those with older

3. ClearSpot Voyager 4G Hotspot on Clearwire wimax.  Company was a
hassle to deal with.  Tried to sign up online, their website errored
and errored.  Tried to buy it by phone- their people couldnt get it
going and said they'd call me back after the weekend and never did.
Eventually bought it on Frys (they had it on sale).  Bought the
"unlimited" 1.5 Mbps / 0.5 Mbps Upload plan for $35/mo.  Speedtests
gave me 2.7 Mbps down anytime it had a good connection.  Worked great
along the US-101 and I-880 corridors, and in SF SOMA and North Beach.
Worked not a all between Nob Hill and Presidio or CA-17 or CA-1 or
along the peninsula portion of I-280 .  Worked in Watsonville but not
Santa Cruz!?  Recommended if you mostly stay in their solid green
areas, not at all if you are in a marginal place.  I got it to work at
my place at about half-speed by putting it in one particular place,
high up above a glass bricks window, where the water-backed concrete
wall next door would presumably give a good reflection.  Good price
though, might even be adequate as home plus take-along if you spend
most of your time in their good areas.  See Clear.com/coverage

4. Virgin Mobile Overdrive Pro on the Clearwire wimax and Sprint 3G
networks.  Gets me "unlimited" 4G service via the same
Clearwire/Sprint "4G" wimax network (which comes out to 10GB before
they start to throttle), plus a 2 gigabytes of 3G service for $35/mo.
So this becomes my primary on-the-go device.  Not very good battery
life, but I mostly use it as a car passenger so I only generally use
it without external power for an hour or two, which is fine.

Your mileage may vary.  Read the fine print.


wimax "4G" coverage for Clear/VM/Sprint devices:


data plans for Clearwire banded devices:


data plans for Virgin Mobile branded devices:


Hope this information is useful to someone.  I've glossed over the
initial purchase costs and any activation fees- you'll want to take
these into account.  I personally was more concerned with ongoing
costs since initial costs don't multiply.


PS- the ZTE Peel and Clear Voyager are available for donation to a
charitable cause- the Voyager is paid through the next 20 days or so
you could test it for a while before committing to actually sign up
for your own account.  Or anyway, if you'd like one or the other,
email me privately with subject "peel" or "voyager".  And no, I guess
you don't have to be a charity.  And let me know what neighborhood you
are in.

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