Data usage in India rising day by day and we are becoming more data hungry. With the introduction of 4G in India by major telecom companies like Airtel, Reliance Jio, Vodafone, Idea we would be experiencing high speed internet with affordable data price. However not everyone has 4G enabled mobiles, So to access 4G on your mobile you would need to rely on Wi-Fi or you can carry portable wifi device or pocket wifi router with sim slot, So that you can use internet anywhere. Also to access an internet on Tablet or Laptop/Desktop with 4G speed one needs to either make his/her phone as Mobile hotspot or one can get a MiFi device, also popularly called as Mobile hotspots; it is different than USB dongle.
What is MiFi?
MiFi is a small router device which is portable and can fit in your pocket; It has sim slot or a USB port wherein you can put your SIM card or a USB dongle and create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot to which you can connect various devices such as Mobile, Tablet, Laptop or any other device which can connect to Wi-Fi.
MiFi device provides an internet by using cellular network of a company of which SIM card or USB dongle is used in MiFi.
How MiFi / Mobile Hotspot is different than USB Dongle?
MiFi device creates a personal Wi-Fi hotspot to which you can connect 5-10 devices and has its own battery; where as USB dongle needs to connect to laptop which allows only laptop/desktop to access internet through USB dongle. USB dongle do not have battery backup. Also you cannot connect USB dongle to mobile or tablet to access internet directly, you may need to buy different cable to connect to it.
Top 3 mobile hotspots / pocket routers reviewed
Features of Best MiFi Device:
• It has SIM card slot which accepts 2G/3G/4G SIM cards and creates 3G mobile hotspot or 4G mobile hotspot based on type of internet SIM card used.
• It may have USB port.
• It may have SD card slot.
• It may act as power bank based on type of MiFi device.
• It allows 5-10 devices to connect to Wi-Fi hotspot, with more advanced MiFi device it may allow higher number of devices to connect.
• Its portable can fit in your router like pocket mobile router.
• It’s very convenient to carry if you are frequent traveler.
• It may be Telecom Company locked like Airtel or Jio which may not accept any other SIM than the specified company or you can buy generic which accept SIM card of any company.
• It has its own battery which may last up to 2-5 hours depending on device.
Best MiFi Devices/Mobile Hotspots in India
|Huawei E5330Bs-2||*Supports 3G|
*Works with all company SIM cards
|TP-Link TL-MR3040||*3G/4G via USB Dongle|
*No SIM card slot
*2000 mAh battery
*Attractive white color body
|TP-Link TL-MR3020||*3G via USB Dongle|
*Compatible with 120+ UMTS/HSPA/EVDO 3G USB modems.
*IP based bandwidth control feature
|Micromax MMX440W||*3G support via USB Dongle.|
*No SIM slot
*Can connect upto 32 devices
*Personal WiFi hotspot
*Portable WiFi Hotspot
Things to check before buying best MiFi/Mobile Hotspot
Unlocked or locked device – Locked devices only accepts SIM card of respective telecom provider and you won’t be able to use any other SIM card if you are not happy with the current providers data plans or services. Unlocked devices are generic and can work with SIM card of any network provider. Also MiFi devices from of telecom providers might not have features you are looking for and may only provide basic features. So whether you should by locked or unlocked should be your important criteria while choosing a mobile hotspot device.
No. of devices to connect at a time – Check out how many devices you would be connecting to a mobile hotspot over WiFi and make sure the mobile hotspot supports minimum that many devices at a time. Most of the MiFi devices available in India support at-least 5 devices. Always go for a MiFi device which supports more connection as a time as in future you might have extra devices which can access internet via WiFi.
Compatibility with major telecom providers – Check the mobile hotspot you are about to buy supports SIM cards of major telecom providers. You may not find this information on manufacturer’s specification, you should check out the online reviews of the devices. People often write if it works with respective cellular network or not or ask a questions to online seller.
3G/4G support – Check if it supports 3G or 4G network. Always go for a device which supports 4G & 3G both as in future you might get 4G connectivity with cheaper data plan. At that point if you have device which supports only 3G you will have to buy a 4G device separately. So to avoid go for latest technology.
Speed of MiFi device – Check the speed supported by your MiFi hotspot device, it should offer good speed. Generally its 21.1 Mbps.
SIM card slot – Check if it has SIM card slot or you will have to use a USB dongle to connect to a cellular network to access internet. Having SIM card slot saves the headache of carrying USB dongle and it also saves you from buying a USB internet dongle.
Battery Life – Check how many hours MiFi device will work on a fully charged battery. Make sure it’s big enough for your one internet access session say atleast 2-3 hours. Otherwise you will end up carrying a extra power bank just to charge the MiFi Device .
Warranty – Find out the service and warranty details of the manufacturer and whether the service center is available in your city or not. Hope you don’t need to use it.
Other features – Check other features like if it can work as a power bank. Lot of MiFi device offer this feature and it’s nice to have as you can use it to recharge your smartphone in an emergency. Check how many USB ports it offers.
Points to consider to keep your MiFi devices/Mobile Hotspots secure
- Hide SSID while you are carrying mobile hotspot so that no other device can detect your WiFi name and try to hack it.
- Use very strong WiFi hotspot password.
- Use the strongest encryption available in MiFi device.
What is MiFi mobile broadband, How does a MiFi work?
A MiFi device or your mobile hotspot device uses 3G or 4G signals of your phone network based on the SIM card you used in the device and creates a personal WiFi hotspot. You can then connect your smartphone, laptop or any other device which can connect to WiFi and access the internet.
How many people can use MiFi at a time?
It totally depends on specification of your device however, we have observed that there are MiFi devices in Indian market which allows to connect from 5 devices up to 31 devices. However since it’s a personal WiFi device the range of MiFi device would be small as compared to regular home WiFi routers.
What’s the speed of MiFi device?
The internet browsing speed in MiFi depends on whether its 4G or 3G SIM card and the speed offered by your telecom provider. However MiFi devices generally supports speed up 21.1Mbps and it varies device to device.
Which companies in India provides MiFi device?
In India, there are various companies provide MiFi device like Vodafone, Airtel, Reliance Jio, Idea however these devices are locked and can be used with the respective telecom providers SIM card. Generic or unlocked devices are also available in India which can accept 3G/4G SIM card of any telecom provider like Huawei, which creates generic MiFi devices.
How to setup MiFi device or mobile hotspot?
Setting MiFi device is pretty simple and varies from device to device. However, here some generic steps.
Insert SIM Card in the sim card slot
Insert battery in the MiFi device
Power on the device
Find out the default username and password of WiFi signal.
Connect your smartphone/laptop to WiFi using the default username password.
Using the configuration URL of MiFi device you further change the SSID, username/password of WiFi.
Why should I use MiFi when I have internet dongle?
USB dongle is limited to only one device at a time and it can only be connect to laptop/desktop which has USB port unlike smartphones which has microUSB port. Also using MiFi you can connect multiple device at a time and its battery powered. USB dongle need power source via USB.
What is the difference between MiFi and WiFi?
WiFi is a wireless local area network used in office or home or public places (to create WiFi hotspot) which allows to connect devices like smartphone,laptop/desktop over 2.GHz or 5.0GHz frequency band. To create WiFi hotspot you will have to use modem and a wireless router, modem will connect to the internet service provider’s network and the router which is connected to modem will create a WiFi using which you can access internet. Whereas MiFi device will use telecom providers 3G/4G network to create personal WiFi hotspot. You do not need a separate modem for MiFi.
Benefits of MiFi or Mobile Hotspot
- It’s Portable, size is on the side of this little device. It’s very small and you can carry it in your pocket anywhere without feeling its weight or size. Some people also call it Pocket Router. So whether you are travelling, or at home you can always keep it with you and access internet using the telecom operator’s 3G or 4G network.
- Multiple devices can access the WiFi hotspot created using MiFi device as against to internet USB dongle which only be used with only one device at a time and that too only if it has USB port.
- It’s battery powered means you don’t need to worry about the power source. Popular mobile hotpots offers backup up to 5-6 hours and that’s reasonable.
- Since MiFi device uses cellular network for internet access you can take it anywhere where network is available and you don’t need to carry any other device.
- Depending on the specification some MiFi devices have microSD slot means you can create mini network storage on the go.