EVDOinfo Tip of the Week #30: Improving MiFi's WiFi Range + add Ethernet Capability W/ Pepwave Surf

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Thursday, 03 December 2009

tip of the week by has long been your source for tips, tricks, hacks and suggestions for getting the most out of your EVDO service, and each week we will be highlighting a particularly interesting or popular topic in the "Tip of the Week" feature. To suggest future Tips of the Week, contact us at or post your suggestions in the EVDO Forums.



Improve Your MiFi's WiFi Range and add Ethernet Capability with the Pepwave Surf Mini

Pepwave Surf Mini & MiFi

The Novatel MiFi is a great little hotspot and has quickly become the "iPhone of Mobile Broadband devices" in terms of popularity and "sexiness". Two issues that owners of the MiFi have to live with are its short WiFi range of only about 30 feet and its lack of an ethernet port (tethering the MiFi to a computer that doesn't have WiFi capabilities via USB turns off the hotspot feature!). Folks who travel by car/train/bus/SUV and even RV's are typically happy with the MiFi's 30 foot WiFi range, but those who also try to use the MiFi at home or office quickly figure out that having only 30 feet of range can be a problem, especially if cellular signal is not great in certain areas they need it to be. Since the MiFi does not have an rf/antenna jack to allow for a high gain cellular antenna, all too often the MiFi has to be located near a window where the cellular signal is best, and that window is not always located in the part of the building where everybody congregates or works - causing frustration for those who want internet access wherever they are in the home or office.

Enter the Pepwave Surf Mini, a WiFi Bridge/Repeater that easily extends the WiFi range of any Novatel MiFi to 120 feet or more. The Pepwave Surf can be located at the end of a MiFi's WiFi range and set up so that it acts as a WiFi Repeater, extending the MiFi's reach three to four times the normal 30 foot distance, to as much as 120 feet or more depending on wall/building construction and interference from competing electronics! The Pepwave Surf also features a single ethernet LAN port allowing users to hardwire any computer (or other internet-capable device - think DVR, game console, etc) that features an ethernet port but no WiFi, and it will allow internet connectivity via ethernet and WiFi simultaneously! Older desktop computers that don't have WiFi can now take advantage of the internet connectivity without tethering the MiFi (that would normally disable the hotspot feature of a MiFi). Once it is properly associated with a MiFi - an easy process that takes just moments - the Pepwave Surf will continuously scan to see if the MiFi is within range and then locks onto the signal and automatically starts to provide a wider wireless coverage area. It is arguably the easiest (and most affordable - the Pepwave Surf Mini is just $99.99 at 3Gstore) way to extend your MiFi's WiFi range and add ethernet capability available!

Check out this short video for more information about using the Pepwave Surf to improve the usefulness of a Novatel MiFi:

Its worth noting that the popular Cradlepoint MBR1000 and MBR1200 routers can also be used to extend WiFi range and add ethernet ports to the MiFi (and will also keep the MiFi charged up via USB cable), but the Pepwave Surf can do a lot more than just help your MiFi -- for more info check out our full Pepwave Surf review.

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 04 March 2010 )
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