Mobilehotspot.com reviews the newest LTE option for hotspots.
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A Brief Background on 4G LTE and Mobile Hotspots
A few years ago Verizon planted the seed for a new wireless network that was to become the future fourth generation replacement to its then current third generation (3G) nationwide wireless network. Widely in use for less then 3 years, Verizon’s 3G network was virtually busting at the seams due to the exponential explosion of bandwidth brought about by the massive increase of wireless broadband data.
Verizon’s strategic decision required investing billions of dollars and previously unseen human efforts in wireless engineering, all within a short, finite deadline. With any luck they would finish before 2011, beating their competitors AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to the gate, by having the first true 4th generation ultra-high-speed wireless network.
The new wireless network would be available to a huge number of North Americas (over 100 million) in 100+ cities. Doubling-down on this new technology dubbed “Long Term Evolution”, or LTE, could quite possibly make-or-break Verizon. Would the investment pay off? Not just for Verizon, but for the millions of users of mobile broadband users who desperately needed more bandwidth and speed and were, themselves, willing to invest in the new LTE based wireless smart phones and mobile hotspots?
To their credit, Verizon was the only company with the planning and execution skills to actually have a wide-scale, fully functioning 4G LTE network up and running in over 125 large metro areas nationwide by the start of 2011. When Verizon flipped the switch to turn on their LTE 4G network, even some of it’s sharpest critics could not help but rave about the absolutely mind-blowing speed and performance being reported on the new generation of 4G LTE based smart phones, data modems, and mobile hotspots.
Without doubt, Mobile Hotspots have been the most positive beneficiary of 4G LTE. Back in 2009, these tiny pocket devices had finally converged on their ultimate promise of fast, simple, and secure access to the internet for up to five users – however, now LTE 4G could finally supply bandwidth volumes and speeds several times faster than any other prior wireless network could. The five connected devices would have virtually no limits in terms of what they now could do with the web.
At the first introduction of LTE, Verizon and Samsung partnered to roll out the SCH-LC11 Mobile Hotspot, the first mobile hotspot to utilize Verizon’s 4G LTE. The majority of reviews for the SCH-LC11 would be somewhat checkered: getting some typical ratings like , “A+ for performance, B- for features” . Reviewers couldn’t help but love the device for its intended use but clamored for some additional features, some considered “nice-to-haves” others perhaps “necessities”.
In the spring of 2011, Novatel Wireless introduced their new “4G MiFi”, name the MiFi 4510L Mobile Hotspot, becoming the second hotspot available for a consumers who wanted the 4G LTE experience using a mobile hotspot.
Novatel had big expectations to fill – after all, their MiFi 2200 3G mobile hotspot, released in 2009 became an instant smash hit, revolutionizing the concept and definition of a “mobile hotspot”. So popular was their 3G MiFi 2200, that the term “MiFi” had become synonymous with mobile hotspots in general, regardless of the actual brand. (Sort of how people might use the word “band aid” instead of “adhesive first-aid strip”)
Now that there’s some real competition in the 4G LTE hotspot arena, can the MiFi 4510L match the record-breaking performance of the Samsung SCH-LC11 mobile hotspot, while offering more intuitive and easily-to-use features? Or is the sleek and simple engineering of the tried-and-true SCH-LC11 the best bet for the largest group of users who just want simplicity and rocket-fast web speeds?