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Tether the Verizon MiFi 4620L Via USB
Updated 3/3/2014: With the exception of the very first MiFi hotspot (the MiFi 2200), none of the hotspots/Jetpacks offered by Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or any other wireless provider have been capable of "tethering" - in other words, if you have one of these hotspots, you can only connect to it via WiFi; there is no option to connect it via USB directly to your computer.
The latest hotspot available from Verizon, the 3G/4G Novatel MiFi 4620L Jetpack, is different than its predecessors: it DOES give you the option of tethering it via USB. This may not seem like a big deal for most users - after all, the beauty of the device is that it's a hotspot that provides an internet connection for multiple devices, right? But there are some advantages to tethering it directly to your computer instead of connecting via WiFi, especially if you're only using the connection for one computeri:
- If you're only using it for one computer, no need to broadcast SSID and run the risk of others accessing the WiFi network
- MiFi will remain charged (since your computer will be supplying power to it via USB)
- The unit will auto connect
- Instead of doing a DUN-type connection, you'll have a USB/Ethernet DHCP type (unique to 4620L)
Unlike the MiFi 2200 (which was the only other hotspot that allowed tethering), the hotspot remains enabled when you're tethering it to one computer! This is a big advantage - with the MiFi 2200, you could tether it to one computer, but that would disable the WiFi signal, meaning you could ONLY connect the one computer you were tethered to.
Of course, there are a couple disadvantages to tethering, too:
- If you're usinga a laptop, your battery will drain more quickly (because it will be charging/powering the MiFi)
- You need admin privileges to install the necessary drivers on Mac/Win, which may not be possible or convenient for some users (like if you're using a company-owned laptop, for example)
Tethering the MiFi 4620L to your Mac or Windows computer is fairly easy, but it's not plug-and-play. First, you need a charge and sync USB cable (the MiFi does not come with one). 3Gstore sells a 3' cable and a 6' cable, but if plan to supply your own, make sure it is capable of both charging and syncing (charge-only USB cables will not work for tethering). Once you've got the proper cable, you can follow the below steps to get your MiFi set up for tethering:
1) First, you need to enable tethering within the MiFi's web admin. While connected to the MiFi via WiFi, navigate to the web admin (http://192.168.1.1) and log in with your WiFi/admin password (the default password is printed on the white label on the bottom of your device, unless you've changed it). Navigate to the Advanced -> Settings section and check the "Enable USB tethered mode" box and save the changes:
2) Next, you need to install the drivers that will allow your computer to "see" the MiFi and use it as a modem (unlike USB modems or the MiFi 2200, you will not use VZAccess Manager to connect!).
For Windows: production.4620.verizon.mifiupdates.com/Windows/MiFi4620LWin.zip
For Mac: production.4620.verizon.mifiupdates.com/Mac/MiFi4620LMac.zip
Download the appropriate file, unzip the folder and run the installer. Here's what it looks like on a Mac (obviously Windows users will see different prompts, but it is the same auto-install "wizard" you should be familiar with):
Once the installation is complete, connect the MiFi 4620L to your computer via USB and it should automatically connect to the internet (you can disable your WiFi to confirm that you are connected via USB and not to the hotspot)!
While connected via tethering, you'll see that the 4620L's screen will count your computer as a connected device, just as if you were connected via WiFi:
What about routers? Many people have asked whether the MiFi 4620L can be tethered to a router. When this article was first written, the answer was NO and the only solution was to use a router that supported WiFi as WAN. Now, the Peplink and Pepwave routers will support certain mobile hotspots via USB tethering. For more information on that, check out our article How to tether your MiFi 4620L/LE or JetPack 5510L to Peplink Balance and Pepwave Max/Surf Routers.