Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default how does "my-fi" work

    I've recently learned about "My-Fi" devices, that is, USB-things you can plug into your computer to gain internet even when no internet is available. I'm gonna borrow one for work while I'm traveling for a few weeks, so I can work remotely part of the time.

    But it got me thinking.
    One of my goals is to stop paying a monthly internet bill. The main way to do that is to stop having internet at home, but that's problematic for a few reasons. (Though much less so now that my wife has an unlimited data plan for her phone.)

    Could I get one of those "my-fi" things and use that for internet?
    If yes, does it just do it for the computer it's plugged into or does it generate a "wireless field" (to use more appropriate jargon, a wi-fi network, or a hot spot)? If yes, would having it close to a Roku box enable that to work?
    Any major downsides, like a really slow connection?

    Part of it is that I feel I waste too much time on Netflix or Youtube videoes, but I'd like to keep the internet for looking up directions or quick data searches, plus PBS Kids is great for the kids.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    The only thing Mi-Fi does is create a mobile wireless router point. It doesn't conjure free internet out of thin air; you have to connect it to a cell phone network, and the data thus consumed ends up being charged to your phone bill instead. If you've got an unlimited data plan, that's not as big an issue.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel, on quest rewards View Post
    "Is a stack of ten pancakes too many pancakes to give to the party, even if most of them fell on the floor and one or two were stepped on? I wanted to give my party pancakes as a reward but I'm unsure if it's too much. The pancakes are also laced with blowfish poison so the party would have to get an antitoxin before they could eat the ones which weren't pulverized by shoes."

    I don't think anyone would want those pancakes even if you paid them to eat them.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    tyckspoon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    I would need to know the particular model and carrier supporting it to say anything in detail, but generally that kind of thing is functionally just a cellular data radio; it's the same thing that keeps your smartphone connected to data services when you're outside of wifi access. Using it as a primary means of internet access tends to be very expensive, because the cell carriers like to charge hilarious amounts of money for unrestricted data access, and will often have limitations on what you can do with it as far as using it to create hotspots to provide access to anything other than the device it is directly plugged in to.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Peelee's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Birmingham, AL
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    The only thing Mi-Fi does is create a mobile wireless router point. It doesn't conjure free internet out of thin air; you have to connect it to a cell phone network, and the data thus consumed ends up being charged to your phone bill instead. If you've got an unlimited data plan, that's not as big an issue.
    Well, it would still be an issue when the phone company says "you've been using too much data on your unlimited plan, so we're going to cancel it. Kthxbye!"
    Cuthalion's avatars rock. Like this very fine dragon he made me.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Thanks for the info. That is disappointing but makes sense. I thought it worked by connecting to a satellite, thus not really mattering where you are.

    Did they work off satellites about 5 years ago? I think that's when I last talked to someone about it and got an idea about how it worked.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    The only thing Mi-Fi does is create a mobile wireless router point. It doesn't conjure free internet out of thin air; you have to connect it to a cell phone network, and the data thus consumed ends up being charged to your phone bill instead. If you've got an unlimited data plan, that's not as big an issue.
    I guess I need to double-check how the USB thing my work is going to give me works. I won't be anywhere where there will be a cell phone network to hook into, and I don't have a company phone (or a smart phone at all, for that matter.) It'll be disappointing if they're assuming I have one.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    Thanks for the info. That is disappointing but makes sense. I thought it worked by connecting to a satellite, thus not really mattering where you are.

    Did they work off satellites about 5 years ago? I think that's when I last talked to someone about it and got an idea about how it worked.

    I guess I need to double-check how the USB thing my work is going to give me works. I won't be anywhere where there will be a cell phone network to hook into, and I don't have a company phone (or a smart phone at all, for that matter.) It'll be disappointing if they're assuming I have one.
    There are two different things it feels like you are saying here: you are going someplace where cell phones, if anyone happened to have one, do not have service (such as a wilderness area or a building with some serious deadspots and no repeaters), or you are going someplace where there is probably cell service, but since you don't have a cell phone that isn't going to help you.

    In my experience, wifi hotspots of various kinds are basically their own cell phones that just do data rather than also make calls and have screens to play games on. You don't need to connect them to another cell phone, since they do the communication part, but they do need to be somewhere that has cell service. It's possible that other kinds exist that use satellites or some other tech, but the ones I've dealt with are cell-service-based. (Often limited to 3G speeds.)

    If you're in that first situation (cell phones, if any, will not get a signal), then the wifi hotspots I am familiar with will not get a signal and thus will not work. (Again, it is possible that there are other kinds I am not familiar with.)

    If you're in that second situation (cell service available but you don't have a cell phone) then a cell-based hotspot will work fine for you even if you don't have a cell phone - just either plug it in or connect to it using wifi depending on the model.

    If your work routinely sends people to places with no cell service and expects them to have work-provided internet access while they are in those locations, then it's likely they are using some sort of satellite-based tech or something else I'm unaware of to provide that access. I have not been in that situation so have not investigated such products. (My work has a cell-service-based hotspot we can each reserve if we're going to be traveling and may not otherwise have internet access. I borrowed it once when I'd be out of town for a conference and wasn't sure if the hotel would have free or individually purchasable wifi in the conference center part since many, annoyingly, do not extend their hotel guest wifi networks to their conference spaces so you're at the mercy of whether or not the conference could afford to turn the conference wifi on and can't purchase it individually.)
    Last edited by Algeh; 2019-03-27 at 02:59 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Manchester, UK
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    Thanks for the info. That is disappointing but makes sense. I thought it worked by connecting to a satellite, thus not really mattering where you are.
    If it *did* work that way, it would be even more expensive, not to mention slow. Bandwidth from the ground to a satellite is enormously expensive, and the ping times would be astronomical--if you'll pardon the pun.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    hajo's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    DE
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    I've recently learned about "My-Fi" devices, that is,
    USB-things you can plug into your computer to gain internet
    You are talking about MiFi ?
    Where exactly do you want to use them, and for how much data ?
    -HaJo

    FLW: Oh, no. We're being rescued. How embarrassing!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Troll in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by hajo View Post
    You are talking about MiFi ?
    Where exactly do you want to use them, and for how much data ?
    Maybe?

    It's something I'm borrowing for work, so I'm not really sure if that's the formal name of the device or just what folk are calling it.
    However, I'm considering buying one, if (long-term) it would be cheaper than a $60-$80/month internet bill. I'm not sure what our current plan is, but it's enough that we can use a Roku box to watch Netflix or similar streaming channels on the TV, plus have a computer and a couple phones connected to the internet without issue. I don't do any online, multiplayer gaming, so that's not an issue.

    EDIT: to better answer the question: yes, something like that is what I'd like to purchase, if it could reasonably let me bypass having a monthly internet bill. Such as by having it hooked up to a phone with an unlimited data plan (as the "conjure internet from thin air/satellite" hope is not realistic.)
    Last edited by JeenLeen; 2019-04-03 at 02:44 PM.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    Maybe?

    It's something I'm borrowing for work, so I'm not really sure if that's the formal name of the device or just what folk are calling it.
    However, I'm considering buying one, if (long-term) it would be cheaper than a $60-$80/month internet bill. I'm not sure what our current plan is, but it's enough that we can use a Roku box to watch Netflix or similar streaming channels on the TV, plus have a computer and a couple phones connected to the internet without issue. I don't do any online, multiplayer gaming, so that's not an issue.

    EDIT: to better answer the question: yes, something like that is what I'd like to purchase, if it could reasonably let me bypass having a monthly internet bill. Such as by having it hooked up to a phone with an unlimited data plan (as the "conjure internet from thin air/satellite" hope is not realistic.)
    You would go from having a monthly internet (cable or DSL?) bill to having a monthly MiFi bill.

    So this article is old (2010?) but shows you that at that time it was about $15/GB/Month.

    So, Netflix says that they normally use about 1GB per hour (SD, HD is 3GB/hr).

    So, that means you would be paying about $15 per hour to stream TV/Movies. So that would equate to about 4-5 hours per month before your existing service is cheaper.

    MiFi service is not free. You have to buy the device and you have to pay a monthly service fee. You will have to find out what services and what their fees are for where you live and travel.

    Except in extreme cases, MiFi is not going to be cheaper than dedicated internet service.
    Last edited by LordEntrails; 2019-04-03 at 11:24 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    Aug 2017

    Default Re: how does "my-fi" work

    Quote Originally Posted by JeenLeen View Post
    EDIT: to better answer the question: yes, something like that is what I'd like to purchase, if it could reasonably let me bypass having a monthly internet bill. Such as by having it hooked up to a phone with an unlimited data plan (as the "conjure internet from thin air/satellite" hope is not realistic.)
    I missed this part...
    Your phone bandwidth is going to be less than your internet service. And most unlimited phone data plans throttle your speed further once you hit so much usage in a month. So yes, it's "unlimited" but no, it not not since they restrict how fast you can actually download.

    Next, your phone probably already has a hotspot capability built into it. On iPhones and Androids you will find it under Settings. You can turn it on and connect your computer to it (it's just a wifi network). Test it and see (and don't forget to set a unique name and password on it!). If it turns out to be adequate for your needs, then you will not need a MiFi and you can even get rid of your internet, as long as your phone is always where you need it...

    i.e. if you hook your smart TV up to your phone and you go to work, your wife/other isn't going to be able to watch online tv...

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •