So you didn’t buy the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad and now you’re regretting it. So what do you do—slap the Wi-Fi iPad up on eBay and use the proceeds for your Wi-Fi + 3G iPad Upgrade Fund? Lurch from hot spot to hot spot all over town? Sit on the couch and complain?
If trading up to a 3G model isn’t in your future, you have another option: a mobile broadband hot spot device. This portable hot spot pulls down a cellular-data network signal from a carrier—probably Verizon or Sprint here in the U.S.—and divvies it up into a mini Wi-Fi network so that four to five wireless devices (laptops, Portable PlayStations, iPads, etc.) can get onto the Internet. Novatel’s MiFi and the Overdrive from Sierra Wireless are two models.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Having a Wi-Fi network wherever you go has its advantages, but there’s a downside: cost. First, you have to pay for the hardware itself, which costs around $150 to $250. Then you have to sign up for a service plan, which adds at least $40 a month and involves a contract.
If you do math, this is obviously more than the $15 or $30 you’d shell out for 3G service from AT&T. And the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad doesn’t require any additional hardware, though the 3G capability itself adds $130 to the iPad’s cost.
But here’s where the pocket network does make sense: using it to get multiple devices online wherever you go. This could be a family of three Wi-Fi iPad owners, an iPad and a couple of laptops, and so on. The $40 monthly service fee covers everyone and is cheaper than buying individual 3Gs and 3G service plans.
If this sort of thing fits into your personal picture, you can investigate the mobile 3G broadband hot spot option further at Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
Learn more about this topic from iPad: The Missing Manual.
The iPad 2 is faster, lighter, and more versatile than its predecessor, but there's still no printed guide to using its amazing features. That's where this full-color Missing Manual comes in. Learn how to stream HD video, make video calls, manage your email, surf the Web, listen to music, play games, and maybe even do a little iWork. It's the book that should have been in the box.