Novatel Readies Next-Gen MiFi Hot Spot

By Joseph Palenchar On Oct 12 2009 - 6:00am

The next-generation personal Wi-Fi hot spot available from Novatel Wireless in North America will add embedded memory, memory card slot and Linux OS, which will enable over-the-air application downloading, chief marketing officer Rob Hadley told TWICE.

Novatel's first-generation personal hot spot, the MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hot Spot, is a pocket-size battery-powered Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g router with embedded CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A cellular modem. With it, up to five Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, digital cameras, handheld games and other devices can simultaneously access the Internet from up to 30 feet away in locations where fixed hot spots or Wi-Fi networks are unavailable.

The MiFi 2200, the industry's first battery-operated cellular/Wi-Fi router, was launched earlier this year by Verizon Wireless and Sprint at $99 after rebate.

The next-generation MiFi, the Linux-based 2372, will operate in North American GSM/HSPA networks and, like the current model, will feature GPS and a rechargeable battery. It features quadband EDGE operation and triband HSPA operation in the U.S. 850/1,900MHz bands and overseas 2.1GHz band.

A 2372 launch announcement by a Canadian carrier is imminent, and Novatel expects to offer the 2372 through a U.S. GSM carrier at an unspecified later date. Hadley expects a Linux-based EV-DO Rev. A version of the 2372 to be available in the U.S. late in the first half of 2010.

The Linux-based devices are capable of over-the-air downloading of such apps as an automatic virtual private network (VPN) program, which will enable small-business users to access their company server securely from any available Wi-Fi-equipped laptop without loading VPN software onto a laptop, Hadley said. That app will be available late in the first quarter.

Via the MiFi's embedded 256MB memory and an optional MicroSDHC card, users could store files offloaded from their laptop or digital camera. The MicroSDHC card will also double as a shared drive that can be accessed from Wi-Fi-connected devices.

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