While thousands of establishments are rolling in free wireless internet, and municipalities follow suit, I still stand by using a secure, personal connection. Simply put, I don’t trust public systems which require nothing more than booting your laptop. And that’s not the only problem.
If you’ve ever tried to hop online during a conference or convention, you’ve probably experienced the molasses-slow chug of data transfer. This June, Steve Jobs asked a room full of journalists to turn off their WiFi connections so he could continue his presentation.
I’ve been using my own connection via Verizon Wireless for a few years now. Though I’ve always been pleased by the ability to connect from anywhere, the MiFI 2200 took the cake. I was thrilled to read Wired’s thumbs-up approval, and applaud them for recognizing what I already knew. This device is sleek, fast and easy to connect.
Don’t take my word for it though. Last February, while at a conference in Las Vegas, a rather influential colleague mocked me for paying $60 a month for Verizon’s 5GB service. He pulled out his iPhone and said, “All you need is this”.
I scoffed again, as I’d already heard the lectures for using a Palm Treo (I ran the 755 at the time). I simply shrugged and replied, “It’s never failed me. It’s cheaper than hotel connections, and it’s secure.”
The next morning he called me over to a table. We were scheduled to give a presentation in about an hour, and he was up in arms.
“Let me connect to that thing,” he said, holding up his iPhone. “I just can’t get a connection in here.”
And thus, my point was made. A separate device built specifically for connecting to the Internet will almost always be superior to tethering and mobile hotspots. Not only that, but while I consistently hear others complain about poor conference-wide connections, I just keep on working. And when the WiFi at Starbucks goes down? No problem.
I’ve let others hop onto my connection – last month an author desperately trying to research shared my device, and I’ve been known to let others in airports get online as well.
So, for that, I say stop mocking my $60/month service when it works virtually anywhere, almost 100% of the time – even when others can’t get a signal. Be nice, and perhaps I’ll let you piggy back off me when you need it the most.