What is MiFi? – How MiFi works

MiFi devices come in handy when there is no public hotspot or a reliable Wi-Fi connection. In this article, we shall look at what MiFi is and how it works.

With most smartphones having an in-built hotspot feature, you could be wondering why you need to invest in a portable Wi-Fi device. The reality of the matter is that a phone-based hotspot is ideal for occasional use. With a standalone router, your smartphone is free to perform other functions, like catching up with the latest news on various social media platforms, making phone calls, and sending and receiving emails.

A MiFi device is a compact and wireless device that serves as a mobile hotspot. These devices allow fast and secure internet connections to multiple users. Let us further look at what MiFi is and how it works.

How does MiFi work?

Also known as Mobile Wi-Fi, My Wi-Fi, or pocket Wi-Fi, MiFi consists of a Wi-Fi router and modem. Its modem part supports 3G, 4G, or LTE networks; thus, providing connectivity to next-generation wireless devices.  Likewise, its router part offers Wi-Fi connectivity for data communication.

As a result, MiFi devices tap into 3G, 4G, or 5G networks to create an ad-hoc WLAN network that offers internet access to mobile internet-enabled devices as long as they are within range. An ad-hoc network refers to a network created as devices connect to it. Therefore, MiFi devices create a network as mobile devices, like tablets, laptops, cell phones, or PC, connect to it to form a small Local Area Network (LAN).

These portable and battery-powered devices use a SIM card provided by your telecom provider to connect to 3G, 4G, and 5G networks. Therefore, you can subscribe to a pay-as-you-go MiFi plan, a monthly plan, or an annual contract, depending on your connectivity needs.

Unlike a dongle that allows only one device to access the internet, a MiFi device allows up to 10 devices to connect simultaneously. However, MiFi users have to be within a distance limit of 10 meters to access the device’s Wi-Fi connectivity.

Mobile hotspot device
Wireless networking standard
Up to six hours of portable battery life
Requires a power source
Some offer their own storage
Requires USB device for additional storage
Supports both modem and router functionality
Only has router functionality
It works on cellular networks, like 3G, 4G, and LTE
Operates on 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands

How fast is MiFi?

Depending on the network coverage of a specific locality and your data subscription plan from your carrier, MiFi devices provide the standard 3G or 4G connection speeds. Generally, MiFi speeds offer up to 25Mbps to its connected devices.

However, it is worthy to note that 3G and 4G connections can drastically slow down when sharing your connection with multiple users and devices. Luckily, as MiFi devices evolve and 5G options enter the market, the speed and number of users it can handle will increase, and they will also have a more extended range.

How long does the battery life of MiFi devices last?

MiFi devices are somewhat larger than dongles but smaller than smartphones. They are compact and portable enough to take with you wherever you go in the comfort of your pocket or backpack. The battery life of these devices tends to last between four to eight hours, meaning you will rarely need to recharge them while traveling. However, the new wave of MiFi devices boasts of having a battery life of up to 16 hours, meaning soon we will have MiFi devices that can last for a full 24 hours without running out of juice.

Is it difficult to set up a MiFi device?

MiFi is quite easy to set up and use. Depending on the model of the device, all you have to do is insert your data-enabled SIM card, switch it on, and wait for your mobile device to detect its signal, which takes only a few seconds. Unlike dongles, you do not need to download and install separate software to operate it.

Its set up process is faster than most home broadbands, especially those that require a technician to visit your home. Furthermore, you can MiFi with VPN software, which is an advantage for business owners. Some MiFi devices also come with an in-built port where you can insert a compatible MicroSD card to boost your storage needs.

Where can I get MiFi products?

With most smartphones having the ability to form a mobile hotspot, not many providers are offering MiFi products nowadays. As a result, most of these devices work on a contract basis and primarily provided by Vodafone, EE, and Three in the UK. You can either opt to pay-as-you-go, which often requires you to pay for the MiFi device upfront, or a monthly or yearly payment plan, which may mean that you get the MiFi device for free.

In the United States, all four network providers and other key players in the mobile network industry offer MiFi devices. For instance, if you want to connect to Verizon’s network, its Jetpack WiFi provides the best hotspot as it performs well and is easy to use

How to use Verizon Jetpack MiFi

How to use Verizon Jetpack MiFi

Verizon’s Jetpack offers an excellent connection to its users regardless of where they are, as it supports a variety of LTE bands as well as 3G and 4G networks. The device handles up to 15 connected devices and supports international roaming.

Jetpack MiFi operates in two ways; USB tethering mode and Wi-Fi mode. If you want to use the USB tethering mode, connect your mobile device to the Jetpack with a compatible USB cable and press on its power button. Switch off the device’s WiFi mode, and you should access the internet in no time.

If you want to use Wi-Fi mode, all you have to do is press the Power button on the Jetpack and turn on Wi-Fi connectivity on your device. The Jetpack will automatically connect to Verizon’s wireless network to allow internet access to its connected devices once they connect to the device


If you are a frequent traveler who needs to stay online, it is definitely worth investing in a MiFi device. Not only is it flexible and convenient to use, but it also allows multiple devices to connect and offers a fast and reliable internet connection. These devices are also an excellent alternative to using a phone-based hotspot. Therefore, if you do not like offline and are always on the move, a MiFi device can be a true blessing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of security does Verizon’s Jetpack MiFi have?

It supports the latest NAT firewall and WEP/WPA/WPA-2 security protocols.

Can I use MiFi as home internet?

Despite being designed for temporary internet access, they can support home internet functionality as they can handle up to 10 connected devices.

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