Maybe you're one of those people who couldn't wait for the 3G version of Apple's iPad and instead had to run out and get the Wi-Fi version right away. We mainly think of the iPad as a living room/kitchen device, but with the warmer weather arriving you might be feeling a bit of 3G envy, seeing newly minted iPad 3G owners soaking up the sun in their local parks and coffee shops while tapping, swiping, and pinching away.
The typical solution for getting a go-anywhere 3G signal on a Wi-Fi-only device such as a laptop or Netbook has traditionally been a 3G USB key--but, of course, lacking a USB port or a way to install the required software, we can't use our 3G USB key on the iPad. Smartphone tethering would work also, but if you have an iPad, there's a good chance you've also got an iPhone, so no tethering for you unless you jailbreak your phone.
The solution is a device we've talked about several times before, the Novatel MiFi, a portable wireless router that takes the 3G signal it receives and broadcasts it as a Wi-Fi signal. We've previously reviewed versions of the Novatel hardware from Verizon and Sprint (and the infamous Technobeaver has weighed in on the MiFi as well).
Hooking the MiFi up to our non-3G iPad was easy. We powered on the MiFi box, and its signal was immediately recognized by the iPad, and listed in the Network Settings submenu, along with all the other Wi-Fi signals in the area. Selecting the MiFi connection, we were prompted to enter a password (as one would do for any secure Wi-Fi connection); the password is a string of numbers printed on a sticker on the bottom of the MiFi unit itself. Up to five devices can connect at once, and the device's range is about 30 feet. … Read more