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Comcast connects with new Wi-Fi mobile hotspot device

Fri, 05/06/2011 - 8:25am
Mike Robuck

Comcast is making it easier for its customers to connect and share access on multiple devices, or with friends, with today's launch of its mobile hotspot device.

Comcast is offering a pocket-size Wi-Fi router that uses its Xfinity Internet 2go service for mobile broadband connections. The cable operator's 4G/3G Mobile Hotspot, also known as the MiFi 4082 by Novatel Wireless, allows users to simultaneously connect up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the Internet while on the go.

Like its name implies, Comcast's 4G/3G Mobile Hotspot lets Comcast subscribers connect to either 4G or 3G services and then converts those signals to Wi-Fi. The mobile router, which is 3.54 inches x 2.36 inches x 0.52 inches, works with all manner of Wi-Fi devices.

Xfinity MiFi"This new product gives customers the flexibility to instantly create their own secure hotspot everywhere they go," said Tom Nagel, senior vice president and general manager of wireless services for Comcast. "Consumers want mobile Internet access for Wi-Fi-enabled devices like iPads, laptops and smartphones, and with this offering they can share their connection with family, friends or colleagues, and can even watch TV and movies on-the-go."

The router enables a secure, dedicated Internet stream to a 4G or 3G service for Xfinity Internet 2go subscribers, as opposed to searching for free, public Wi-Fi access.

Comcast's Xfinity Internet 2go service offers USB data cards that plug into the USB port of a laptop. The mobile hotspot doesn't need a PC and will connect any Wi-Fi-enabled device to the Internet.

Comcast's mobile wireless features download speeds of up to 6 Mbps with the 4G service and up to 1.4 Mbps with a 3G service. Comcast's 4G WiMAX service is provisioned through its stake in Clearwire, while the 3G version uses Sprint's national 3G network.

The router comes with a rechargeable battery that provides hours of Internet access when power outlets are not available. Comcast said it also supports industry-standard Wi-Fi security and that users are prompted to enter their passwords before being able to connect to a mobile hotspot.

The personal 4G/3G Mobile Hotspot is available in Xfinity Internet 2go markets with 4G service, which includes many major cities across the U.S. Comcast is charging a one-time fee of $25 for both new and existing Xfinity Internet 2go customers with a one-year contract.

In July of last year, Time Warner Cable started offering its own mobile wireless router. The device is called "Intelligo" and is made by Sierra Wireless.

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