Novatel’s MiFi

Following on from Steve Matthews’ post about the new Kindle that he can’t get in Canada, I’m going to introduce you to the next thing you’ll likely want badly and won’t be able to get here in Canada, Novatel’s MiFi. The New York Times has the full story and a video of the thing in operation.

Despite the size of the photo above, the thing itself is about the side of a fat credit card. And what is it? It is a portable WiFi router that uses the 3G network. And unlike the cellular modems you can get now that stick out of a slot or a USB port in your laptop, this fits happily into your pocket or your pack, where it does its work unseen and unexposed to damage. The MiFi creates a 10 metre cloud of receptivity, so that up to five people can get access to the internet at the same time off this little baby. And, of course, it takes that bubble, that cloud along with you. Oh, and it has one button. One. On / off. That’s it.

You can have your Kindle – well, actually, you can’t, but that’s the other story — I’ll take this. I need this.

The other story? Of course, MiFi is available only through Verizon, which is available only in the United States. And because Verizon is suggesting that for some folks, this is the only internet connection they’re likely to need and, so, can cancel their cable or DSL, chances of Rogers, our only 3G source at the moment, bringing this in with any alacrity approach zero.


  1. If it is simply a 3g modem with a built in 802.11b/g/n router, then it is more than likely you will be able to eventually find one of these things unlocked (or unlock it), take the sim chip out of your rogers 3g usb modem, and simply place it in there. It’s the same difference really whether you access 3G with the USB or with this thing instead. But you’re probably right, rogers will likely not sell this or anything that requires them to be at all creative in terms of providing solutions to Canadians that we might actually want.

  2. Simon:

    Blogged on the Canadian options for the MiFi (until they come to town….)



  3. Unfortunately, it’s the same theme. i.e., What else is new?

    Look at the Lenovo x300/x301 ThinkPads. One of their main selling points is the built-in WWAN modem and antenna. However, good luck finding one that has it north of the border. I have actually spoken with the product manager at Lenovo, and his response is, there is no wireless models in Canada due to lack of demand for it. Huh?!!

    They of course, also blame the carriers, but who cares, because interestingly enough, Lenovo does have the built-in wireless 3G modem available as a part that can be ordered from their Canadian parts store. Problem solved… but as far as other 3G equipment goes, we are lagging so far behind.

  4. This is a CDMA only product so if it were to come to Canada, it would only work on Telus and/or Bell’s network. You can not \unlock\ and use with a Rogers SIM card, different technology….

  5. I purchased a MiFi from Verizon last week it worked fine for a little over a week and then stopped working correctly. After spending hours with Verizon I now find myself with a device that is not supported by Novatel which says tech support from Verizon is the way you must go. Lots of luck they will not replace only return for repair or replacement.
    I consider this product a work in progress.

  6. I have been in the states for a couple of months
    bought a midi from Verizon in GF, Montsna,
    and it has been doing great for me. I just hope
    Telus makes it available.