MiFi vs WiFi

Both MiFi and Wi-Fi provide wireless connectivity. They use radio waves to establish connections between devices, allowing data transfer without the need for physical cables. Both MiFi and Wi-Fi can be used to access the internet. There are few similarities between mifi and wifi but there are differences in terms of usage, portability, range, complexity etc. MiFi devices connect to cellular data networks, while Wi-Fi typically connects to wired broadband (DSL, cable, fiber) or cellular networks through a router. MiFi is primarily designed as a mobile hotspot for internet access in areas with poor wired connectivity or for on-the-go use, while Wi-Fi is a broader technology used to create local wireless networks for various devices in homes, offices, and public spaces.

What is MiFi ?

MiFi, short for "My Wi-Fi," is a brand name for Novatel Wireless portable devices which provides mobile WiFi connection. It is a type of portable wireless router or mobile hotspot device that provides internet access to multiple devices by connecting to cellular data networks. MiFi devices are small, battery-powered gadgets that create a local Wi-Fi network. This network allows smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other devices to connect to the internet via the cellular data connection provided by the MiFi device. There are different versions of MiFi to support different cellular standards such as EVDO, HSPA, 4G LTE or 5G etc.

To connect a MiFi with the cellular network needs connection with service provider. With MiFi one can connect about 5 to 10 wifi devices or more simultaneously as per design. Connection speed depends on capacity of cellular network standards implemented in the MiFi router. MiFi devices use cellular networks to establish internet connection which is then broadcast as wifi network for devices to connect with. MiFi devices are designed to be highly portable. MiFi devices offer security features such as password protection and encryption.

mifi hotspot device from novatel wireless

Popular service providers providing MiFi packages include Orange, vodafone and T-Mobile. Figure-1 depicts mifi device model 4510L from Novatel Wireless developed for verizon wireless. The features are mentioned in the table.

What is WiFi ?

WiFi devices provide wireless internet connection using fixed wifi hotspots also known as WiFi routers.

WiFi internet architecture

Following are the features of WiFi as shown in the figure-2.
• WiFi AP (Access Point) is required to be installed which is connected with broadband internet connection using wires. The connection between mobile/fixed devices and WLAN AP is done using radio frequency wirelessly.
• There are different wlan standards for wifi viz. IEEE 802.11a/11b/11g/11n /11ac (wifi-5) /11ax (wifi-6) / 11be (wifi-7) etc. Each defines different PHY/MAC specifications to achieve different data rates and coverages.
• The different versions operate at 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz or 6 GHz or combination.
• WiFi devices operate in two modes viz. adhoc (i.e. BSS-Basic Service Set) and infrastructure (i.e. ESS-Extended Service Set).

Difference between MiFi and WiFi

Let us compare mifi vs wifi and differentiate MiFi and WiFi technologies with respect to various features in tabular form.

Parameters MiFi WiFi
Purpose Mobile hotspot device that provides internet access through cellular networks Wireless networking technology used to connect devices to a LAN or the internet via wifi router or AP (Access Point)
Device type Dedicated portable hotspot device Networking technology and protocol used by various devices such as routers, smartphones, laptops etc.
Internet source Connects to cellular data networks (e.g. 4G/5G etc.) Can be connected to various sources, including wired broadband (DSL, cable), fiber optics or cellular networks (through a router)
Portability Highly portable, designed for on-the-go use Generally stationary, but can be set up in homes, offices or public spaces for use by multiple devices
Power source Typically powered by a rechargeable battery Requires a constant power source (electricity)
Coverage range Limited range, typically around 30 feet (10 meters) Range can vary as per wifi version, typically extends up to 300 feet (91 meters) for standard wifi routers.
Number of connections Supports limited number of connected devices (typically 5-10) Can support a larger number of devices, depending on the router's specifications
Network security Offers password protection and encryption options Provides various security protocols (e.g. WPA2, WPA3) for secure connections
Setup complexity Simple set up, often involves just powering ON the device and connecting devices via Wi-Fi signal May require more complex configurations and setup, especially for routers
Data usage monitoring Typically includes data usage monitoring features May or may not include data usage monitoring, depending on router's features
Cost Requires separate data plan and device purchase costs On time router purchase cost and potential monthly ISP fees
Use cases Ideal for travelers, remote work and providing internet access in areas with poor or no wired connectivity Used for creating local networks in homes, offices and public spaces

Mifi Router manufacturers

Following table mentions few of the popular manufacturers of mifi hotspots (i.e. mifi routers).

Mifi Router manufacturer with model number Features
Novatel Wireless for verizon, MiFi™ 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot Supports mobile broadband with CDMA, EVDO Rev.0 and EVDO Rev.A
Supports 600 kbps to 1.4 Mbps download speed and 500-800 Kbps upload speed
Supports 802.11b (2.4GHz,11Mbps) and 802.11g (2.4 GHz,54Mbps)
Supports security types-WEP 64bit and 128bit, WPA Personal/PSK (TKIP) and WPA2 Personal/PSK (AES)
Novatel Wireless for verizon, MiFi®4510L Verizon Jetpack mobile hotspot Supports LTE with 700MHz bandwidth, 3G EVDO Rev.A, GSM with HSPA+, WCDMA, EDGE, GPRS and Wifi 802.11b,11g,11n
Supports all the security types as mentioned above
Novatel Wireless , MiFi®500 LTE Supports LTE bandwidth(800,1900,2500MHz), 3G EVDO Rev.A, WiFi 802.11b/g/n
Supports GPS over Wi-Fi
MAXIS , MiFi MODEM, MF60 Supports 2G, 3G and WiFi(WLAN connectivity)

Conclusion: In summary, MiFi and Wi-Fi each have their unique benefits and drawbacks. MiFi is best for portable, on-the-go internet access and remote locations, while Wi-Fi is suitable for stable, home, office, or public Wi-Fi network setups. The choice between them depends on your specific use case and requirements.

How to setup MiFi 2200 Router

This page describes how to setup mifi router 2200. This device acts as portable wifi hotspot to provide mifi internet services, READ MORE➤

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