Mellow Mummy: I'm a Mobile Wifi Blogger – And Loving It! : Taking life as it comes...

Monday, 21 March 2011

I'm a Mobile Wifi Blogger – And Loving It!

For the past three weeks I have been trialling the Mifi 3G mobile wireless broadband from 3. Now it has gone, I'm bereft. I loved the freedom it gave me to do what it is that I do (by that I mean tweet, blog, surf, chat), wherever and whenever I wanted to.

For three lovely weeks I was a mobile blogger. By that, I don't mean that I traipsed around with my laptop everywhere I went (although I could have done) but I was able to respond to emails, to keep in touch with readers, reviewers and product representatives and to tell the world about things I was up to (such as taking Lara into London for a couple of exciting product launches that we covered on ParentWheels). Having a wireless internet signal with me at all time meant that I was able to maintain my social network in places where previously I would have been suffering internet-withdrawl-symptoms. Cafes, trains, cars and meetings!

The Mifi from 3 is a small pod around the size of a compact mobile phone that acts as a wireless hotspot. Upto 5 devices can be attached to it at any one time which is ideal if you have older kids who want to use their internet-enabled devices on the train or in the car. I used it during my lunch breaks at work and gave the password to a few select colleagues so that we could share photos and websites while waiting for our Friday-lunchtime burger but I can imagine it being equally useful in a coffee shop with my mummy friends.

I don't own a smart-phone. Mainly because I simply don't phone or call anyone. But, I do have an iPod touch that I like to connect to free wireless hotspots when I'm out and about. In my experience, free wireless hotspots are (a) slow, (b) annoying as you often have to set up an account and log in and (c ) becoming few and far between. The Mifi solved all of these problems for me.

The Mifi feels good. Its small, black, sleek and looks great alongside my iPod. It is small enough that I could slot it into the changing bag and carry it with me everywhere. It is just about thin enough that I can even get it in my wallet. Genius.

The download speed was regularly up around the 7Mbps level where my home broadband hovers at just about 1Mbps. For this reason, I after 24 hours of using the Mifi, I seriously considered replacing my home broadband (which comes free with my line rental). However, there are a couple of things that stopped me from rushing out and buying a Mifi. Firstly, I can't get a 3 signal in my house at all which means I can only use it when I'm out. If I had a good signal then there is no question that I would have replaced my existing home broadband. The cost of running a Mifi is considerably lower than I had expected – the rates seem competitive with home broadband packages. The monthly rental for a Mifi starts from under £10 for a low-usage contract (a high usage contract costs around £23 but you can also buy pre-paid usage allowances).

My other problem was the battery life. Maybe I overused it? But, for a gadget designed to make my life easier when I'm out and about for the day, I'd expect it to last from a full overnight charge all the way through my working day. I understand that the signal levels and usage levels will affect the time the charge lasts for, but for me, a 9-5 battery life is the minimum I'd expect.

Are you a mobile blogger? Can you live without your wireless broadband?
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