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 > Jetpack vs MiFi vs Hotspot

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2chiefsRus

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Posted: 08/25/19 03:35pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is there any speed advantage to buying a Jetpack vs just using your smart phone as a hotspot? Here's the background to the question. Years ago we had a MiFi that we used to access the internet back when we had flip phones. Fast forward a few years, we buy smart phones and when the hotspot died, we just used the smart phones as hot spots. Now it is time to replace the aging smart phones (Samsung S-4 Minis) and I am wondering if we should also get a jetpack too or just keep using the smart phones hot spot feature. Do the jetpacks provide better coverage or speed, etc.? Your thoughts? Thank you.


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monkey44

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Posted: 08/25/19 04:45pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I'm not a tech guy, but I notice no difference between the Jet-pack we had in the past (last year) and the Hotspot we use now. Hotspot seems better, but of course, newer smart phone too.


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Posted: 08/25/19 05:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Disadvantage 1 is having to add and pay for an additional line.
If you are going to get one, ensure it is a current model, quite a few out there that are only 3G, hence they will be slower.

enblethen

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Posted: 08/25/19 06:00pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We use a Verizon MiFi for our computers. It gets better reception then our old style phones. 4G through our phone plan and battery lasts longer then phone hot shot.
We are currently upgrading phones to a smart type Android phones. Taking a while for this old fart to get his act together.
I get phones through Ebay or Amazon. Much cheaper then retail stores. No charge at my Verizon stores to activate them.


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RobWNY

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Posted: 08/25/19 06:02pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I've been doing a lot of research on this issue for when we snowbird this coming winter. It really boils down to how you will be using the internet. If you will be just using email, daily web surfing, reading the news or coming here and reading/replying to a few posts, using your phone as your hotspot with an "unlimited" plan would be fine. All of the major carriers cap your phone use as a hotspot at around 10GB per month. Some will allow more use but it's more expensive than a dedicated hotspot plan. If you plan on doing any kind of streaming of netflix or Youtube or Hulu or facetime, skype etc., you're much better off getting a hotspot. Even then, you get capped at 50GB or 100GB per month with most carriers. There are businesses like OTR Mobile and others that rent tower space and offer attractive plans with a lot of data allowance but you get literally no support when something goes wrong. Besides those things, a dedicated hotspot allows for several devices to be connected at the same time and you get longer battery life than a phone provides.

Just to give you a better idea of things...At my home, it's just my wife and me. We each have a desktop computer, we each have a laptop and we both have smart phones that are connected to wifi while we're here. We also have 2 Roku sticks connected to 2 televisions. We subscribe to Youtube TV for television. I spend about 4 hours a day online, reading, coming to forums, watching youtube videos and occasionally I'll have a ball game on in the background while I'm doing work. One of the televisions will be on about 5 hours a day. We use about 500GB of data per month. Yes, that's right 500GB! So it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume we will use 50GB-100GB per month while in the RV.


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Big Katuna

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Posted: 08/25/19 06:25pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We have IPhone 8’s and use them as hotspots for our laptop and iPads on Verizon.
We ran into problems with getting throttled at peak times which was so slow you couldn’t surf the web. .5 MBs. Supposed unlimited plan.

I bought the OTR.COM plan with an ATT puck. The advantage of a separate puck is you have the advantage of two networks.

BTW, the iPhones on LTE are twice as fast as ATT but ATT is adequate for streaming.

I also added a Weboost RV amp which I am very happy with. Works with all cell systems.


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jcpainter

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Posted: 08/25/19 07:10pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

There are soooo many communication features of hotspot devices and smart phones that improve with each new iteration of both. As a previous poster mentioned, if you do purchase a new hotspot/jetpack (same thing) don't let anyone sell you outdated technology. Often the clerks in the stores don't know the difference.

If you go with an AT&T plan, get their Nighthawk hotspot. If you choose a Verizon plan, you'll want the 8800L.

I'm not sure what a previous poster meant by "the iPhones on LTE are twice as fast as ATT" as all modern AT&T phones and hotspots use LTE.

Speeds will vary by available cell towers(Verizon, AT&T,etc.) in each location. The fastest solution in location "A" may be sub-par in location "B".

2chiefsRus

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Posted: 08/25/19 07:24pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

jcpainter wrote:



Speeds will vary by available cell towers(Verizon, AT&T,etc.) in each location. The fastest solution in location "A" may be sub-par in location "B".

But will the speed be better, worse or the same in the same location when using 1) the Smart Phone's Mobile Hotspot vs 2) the Jetpack/mifi/separate hardware thing?

jcpainter

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Posted: 08/25/19 07:40pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

2chiefsRus wrote:

jcpainter wrote:



Speeds will vary by available cell towers(Verizon, AT&T,etc.) in each location. The fastest solution in location "A" may be sub-par in location "B".

But will the speed be better, worse or the same in the same location when using 1) the Smart Phone's Mobile Hotspot vs 2) the Jetpack/mifi/separate hardware thing?


It depends on the specs of the phone and hotspot you compare. They are not all equal . . . by any means.

i.e. Speeds on my son's iPhoneX are 2-3 times what I get on my iPhone 7Plus when we are sitting side-by-side.

The same is true for hotspots. This video tells it all! Hotspot comparisons

As far as comparing using a smart phone hotspot feature vs. a separate physical hotspot, watch this one: Smart Phone vs MiFi It points out things to consider when making the choice that's right for you.

* This post was edited 08/25/19 08:07pm by jcpainter *

AsheGuy

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Posted: 08/25/19 08:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife and I currently have unlocked android Pixel 3 smartphones and both have hotspots that we use on our Verizon plan. My Pixel 3 is the fourth smartphone that I have used for Internet access as we travel in our RV when we don't have good wi-fi service where we are. Never have needed to go to a separate MiFi/Jetpack. Using a phone as a hotspot does have a big impact on the battery, but we always keep the phone on a charging cable when using it as a hotspot, what little use we have for a hotspot when out of the RV is not an issue.

Contrary to a comment above, we can connect multiple devices to my Pixel 3 hotspot (we never use my wife's phone as a hotspot as we don't need to).

We don't do any streaming while traveling so can't speak for how my phone's hotspot would compare to a standalone cell-based connection for that service. Our Verizon plan is unlimited, but it does get throttled down at some fairly low data amount. For our use though (general website access, email, auto photo backup, etc) it is not a problem.

As a side note, I have had several Samsung smartphones before moving to Google phones (both to have an unlocked phone and to avoid irremovable Samsung apps), a Nexus 5 and now a second Pixel phone. I am quite happy with the Google phones. The newest Pixel 3a is a price leader ($399 from Google Store) for its function and camera quality so you should compare it to your other options for a new phone.


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