Verizon Wireless Hotspot Still Not So Hot

Update: VZWsupport folks at Twitter have been helpful, offering a different MiFi device, the Verizon Jetpack™ 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi® 4510L.

Quick look at customer reviews found “much better” comments from some users who upgraded from the Samsung I’ve had such problems with, but also many complaints about reliability, speed and battery life.

I’m asking about the possibility of switching the MiFi hotspot device account to a smartphone account, possibly a Droid Maxx, which has hotspot capability. Trying to get a price for that upgrade from Verizon phone support — operator said she’d call back after talking to supervisor. Irony: My phone’s battery ran out 80 minutes after the time she said she’d call.

imageMy Samsung Verizon MiFi hotspot continues to drop connections — sometimes several times in a half hour. (Other times it’s fine for several hours of uninterrupted service, but connection speed is wildly inconsistent.) This is increasingly annoying now that I’m working at home more between semesters.

Verizon has replaced it three times, but the most recent replacement was a refurbished unit and its connection speeds have been the worst I’ve had in a year, without much improvement in reliability of the connection, although I haven’t had another major outage like the ones in December.

The previous device’s connection speeds sometimes exceeded 15 M/bps between dropped connections. The replacement unit is all over the place, but never that fast. (Today’s samples at right.)

Symptom: The indicator lights on the device and the Airport connection icon on my MacBook don’t show a disconnection. The Mac shows full strength, four bars, but Web pages don’t load. There’s no error message other than the usual “this page is not available.” I’ve tried several browsers and three different Macs. The indicator on my Android tablet, however, sometimes does switch to orange showing that the connection has dropped — my cue to hit the “reset” button on the Samsung hotspot.

On the Mac, I’ve lost work in email, WordPress, Terminal ssh connections and “cloud” services as a result of the MiFi connection just disappearing, not to mention the hours of back-and-forth on the Verizon Wireless Support Twitter feed.

Three months ago I gave up after waiting for a “will phone you…” that never came. Now that the semester-workload crunch is over, maybe I’ll try again.

I have two Verizon accounts: One for my original Droid 3G phone — which does not allow me to “tether” a MacBook and go online the way I thought it would when I bought it, and the second for the MiFi hotspot, which became my main home and off-campus Internet access when I moved to a house not served by the city’s municipal wifi.

mild-mannered reporter who fell deeper into computers and the Web during three trips through graduate school in the 1980s and 1990s, then began teaching journalism, media studies and Web production, most recently as a faculty member at Radford University.

Posted in Android, Internet, Verizon, Wifi

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