My, My, MiFi: Which Device Is Best For You?

What is a MiFi Hotspot Device?

You’ve certainly heard of WiFi which is the wireless technology used to provide internet connectivity in homes, coffee shops, book stores, and many other locations.  WiFi is a fairly short range signal that usually covers the space of your average sized home or retail establishment.

MiFi is a play on the word WiFi.  WiFi is pronounced like WHY – fie, and MiFi is pronounced MY – fie.  The use of the work “MY” here is to emphasize that MiFi is a personal wireless connection just for you.

MiFi devices are also often called Hotspots or Mobile Routers.

WiFi is provided by a device the size of a large paperback book that is connected by wires to your internet modem, and plugged in to your A/C wall outlet.  MiFi is used to refer to a small internet router that has its own rechargeable battery and connects to the internet through cellular signals. These devices are often the size of a can of curiously strong breath mints, making them super portable.


What is a MiFi Device Used For?

MiFi is a personal internet router that you can carry with you to have internet connectivity wherever there is a cellular signal to your service provider.  Even though the name implies a distinction between MiFi and WiFi, the purpose of a MiFi device is to provide you with a portable and personal WiFi network that you can use to access the internet through your laptop, tablet, e-reader, or any other internet device that does not have a SIM card.

MiFi devices are very popular with people who travel for business or just work remotely in general.  Of course you can stop into your local Starbucks and get WiFi that way, but if you need to fire up your laptop in your car to check your sales route, or you need to stream Netflix in your RV with a view of a national park, then a MiFi device is for you.


Other Uses for a MiFi Device

In addition to providing you reliable internet access when traveling, MiFi devices can also be great for providing internet to areas where you don’t have access to or don’t want to pay for a dedicated hard line.

Mobile hotspots can be plugged in to A/C power and used to create a local WiFi network for cameras in remote locations.  So if you have a deer lease, or just want to monitor your property out in the country, a mobile data device can give you access to internet-connected security cameras.


What’s the Best MiFi Device From Your Service Provider?

All major cell phone service providers nowadays offer some form of mobile internet data plans.  These plans can usually be used with their phones, but are also designed to provide data-only access to internet devices.

Below is a brief list of MiFi devices offered by the most popular cellular data providers. Included are links to the product page on the provider’s website.  If the device is also available on Amazon, we’ve included a link where you can read reviews.



Device Max Battery Life Max Connections Where can I get it?
Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router 24 hours 20 devices View at AT&T
View on Amazon
Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro 8 hours 32 devices View at AT&T



Device Max Battery Life Max Connections Where can I get it?
Verizon Jetpack® MiFi® 8800L 24 hours 15 devices View at Verizon
View on Amazon
Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack MHS900L Prepaid 10 hours 8 devices View at Verizon
View on Amazon



Device Max Battery Life Max Connections Where can I get it?
Franklin T9 Mobile Hotspot (no information) 15 devices View at T-Mobile
Alcatel Linkzone 2 24 hours 16 devices View at T-Mobile


Our Favorite MiFi Device 

Of course if you have the option, here at we always recommend using a wired broadband service like cable or fiber internet.  You’re going to pay the same price per month, but with wired internet, you get a truly unlimited quantity of data. 

And if you find that you can’t afford a MiFi device and associated data plan, there are lots of publicly available WiFi spots.

That said, if you do have a need for a MiFi device we recommend this:

Netgear NIghthawk M1

Go to Amazon to see specs and reviews for the  Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router 

Netgear Is A Solid Brand

Netgear makes a lot of computer networking equipment. I’ve been buying and using Netgear routers and WiFi extenders at home for decades.


It’s The Best MiFi Device for International Travel

If you buy the NIghthawk from AT&T, it will most likely come branded for AT&T and possibly locked for use with that carrier.  If you buy the device from Amazon, you are getting the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) version which can be used with SIM cards from multiple carriers.

Not only is this great if you don’t want to tie yourself to one company for the life of the device, but if you are an international traveler and need to have mobile internet when you are abroad, this device will work with many overseas carriers’ SIM cards as well.

Amazon users have reported successfully using this device with SIM cards from AT&T, Mint Mobile, and even the international SIM cards from  It’s reported that although T-Mobile is compatible with this device, the carrier may not allow its use on the network, so speak with T-Mobile before purchasing.  If your carrier is Verizon, however, you’ll want to get a hotspot device from them as this device does not use the same cellular technology they use.

As far as countries are concerned, users report that the Nighthawk has worked for them in:

  • Australia
  • Bangalore
  • Chile
  • Egypt
  • Jamaica
  • Kuwait
  • London
  • Mexico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Spain
  • United States 
  • Viet Nam

But if you are buying this device ahead of an international trip, check the Netgear website to see all of the supported international cellular data carriers here:

Netgear List of Supported Cellular Data Providers


Battery Life and Device Capacity Are Top Notch

Most people won’t need to connect more than 3 or 4 devices to their mobile hotspot, but if you find yourself hosting a party of teens playing a connected mobile phone game, or you need to have 15 people log into a webinar or Zoom meeting, you’ll appreciate that the Nighthawk can connect up to 20 devices.

The 24 hour battery life is a great benefit.  Though most of us probably plug in our mobile devices to charge overnight, if you happen to forget to plug in your MiFi device, you’ll probably still have quite a bit of charge in the morning.

Also, if you are traveling, 24 hour battery life can get you through a lot of train rides or airport layovers when charging may not be immediately accessible, or all available power outlets are occupied by other travelers.


It Has an Ethernet Port

This won’t be of value to all users, since most will want this device for providing WiFi to a small number of devices. But the inclusion of an ethernet port on this device makes it great for those who have a wired local network and want to add internet access to it.

For example, if you already have a network of wired ethernet security cameras, this device can be combined with an ethernet switch to connect the network of cameras to the internet for remote recording or remote monitoring.



MiFi devices are a great option for providing internet and WiFi services to devices while traveling or in remote locations.  All major cell service providers in the US have a MiFi device offering and plans to go along with them. If you are going to buy a MiFi device for use in the US and occasionally abroad, the Netgear Nighthawk is a good choice.

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