Ok, I’ll admit it… I have a problem.
Ever since my revelation about MiFis — that is, uncoupling the data from a mobile phone and moving it to a dedicated device — I can’t seem to get enough of the damn things. In fact, had I not won that HTC phone last week I would have posted about this, my new Rogers MiFi, instead.
It all started when I
spammed posted my first thoughts on the Bell MiFi to the Howard Forums. Thrilled as I was about the LTE speeds I was getting, some of the other members there were less impressed. You can read the discussion here — the TL;DR is that both Bell and Rogers have not one but two bands of LTE service here in Cana-duh, and while my 700MHz Bell LTE MiFi is fairly quick, here in downtown Toronto 2600MHz LTE is noticeably quicker.
Rogers calls their 2600MHz LTE service LTE MAX. More importantly, they sell a MiFi with 2600MHz support, the Sierra Wireless AirCard 763S. Bell sells this same model, of course, but Rogers’ rates for data are actually cheaper than Bell — at least up to 10GB or so of usage per month.
And if Bell’s 700MHz LTE is crazy fast, Rogers’ 2600MHz LTE is, well… crazy faster.
I logged these results from a moving cab in Toronto’s downtown core. Both downstream and upstream are significantly quicker than the results I got from Bell — in fact, they’re faster in both directions than my home DSL connection!
The AirCard doesn’t have the big touchscreen that you’ll find on the Bell/Novatel MiFi — its small, monochrome display is decidedly more oldskool. But it’s smaller, and has a few standout features of its own.
I’ve found this Android app quite helpful for administering my AirCard. Of course, I could type http://aircard.hotspot into my phone’s browser, but the resulting page isn’t exactly mobile-friendly.
Out of the box the AirCard’s battery life sucks; the standard 2000mAh battery couldn’t get me through a single afternoon and evening on the road. But Telus, who also sells this MiFi, also also sells the official 3600mAh extended battery for it. I ordered mine on a Saturday and got it four days later. It adds a noticeable hump to the back of the device, but it still fits into the cheap padded case I got for it. Barely.
If you’re in the market for a MiFi I can definitely recommend this Sierra AirCard for its noticeably faster speeds on Canada’s 2600MHz LTE networks. Furthermore, I recommend Rogers over Bell as your MiFi provider, for the following reasons:
- Rogers gives you a 14-day trial of the device and service with no data restrictions;
- Rogers has cheaper base fees — $5/month minimum vs. Bell’s $10;
- Rogers has cheaper data rates — $40/month for 5GB vs. $70 for 6GB on Bell.
And if you were interested in a dedicated blog about these wondrous wireless portable routers, I’m this close to starting one. All I need is a little encouragement from you…