If you own one of those MiFi devices, you are probably not a stranger to some of the frustrations that I will mention in this

MiFi devices need to become more user friendly

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MiFi

If you own one of those MiFi devices, you are probably not a stranger to some of the frustrations that I will mention in this article. If you don’t know what MiFi is, I probably need to define what MIFi is first. It is a mobile WiFi device. Yes; your own WiFi hotspot that you can carry anywhere with you and share your internet access with up to (usually) 5 WiFi enabled devices . It uses a mobile operator’s internet service to generate a hotspot, so you either get one that uses GSM technology or CDMA technology.

What are the improvements that I think need to come to MiFi devices?

First on my list is the ability to subscribe to a data plan right on the device. That means SMS and USSD functionality. At the moment, you either have to take out the SIM to put in a phone or plug in to a PC in order to do that. Same goes for checking your usage, which is the second item on my list. Yes; it is a brief list, but adding the ability to carry out these two tasks on the device itself will take MiFi devices to a whole new level of user friendliness.

This requires some means of text entry too, of course. In today’s world of touchscreen technology, perhaps it won’t be so difficult? But then, consider that the average MiFi device has only a tiny screen for essential info and there’s a potential problem. A bigger screen with touchscreen technology is also likely to mean greater power consumption, though if the user doesn’t go stabbing at the screen every few minutes, that shouldn’t be a big issue. And why would anyone want to keep playing with the display? Perhaps during periods of perennial network/service issues? That’s a possibility.

So, can we expect text entry and limited phone functionality (USSD) on MiFi devices soon? Perhaps some models have these features already? If you use a MiFi, how do you load airtime and how do you check your usage?

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18 comments

  1. Haha Mr. Mo you’re falling my hand o. 🙁 Of course the Mifi devices have a configuration and user interface. You get there by going to 192.168.1.1 (or whatever the gateway address for your device is) in your browser while connected to the MiFi device. Login in gives you access to recharge your account, subscribe to a data plan, send sms, read sms, configure wifi protection and more all without having to pull out the sim.

  2. Tosin,

    Haha. Let’s see.

    1. I have to find the IP address of my MiFi
    2. Then save it and be sure to bookmark it so that I can fall back on that when I forget it, as I am sure to. And then use that to load airtime, subscribe/renew and check my usage.

    That doesn’t sound very USER FRIENDLY to me, not to mention to the millions of people globally who are not tech oriented.

  3. 1. You don’t have to find anything, it’s all in the USER MANUAL.
    2. If you do a proper install of your MiFi device on your system it gives you a desktop shortcut to access the interface directly.
    User friendliness is to a large extent dependent on knowledge of the device which USER MANUALS are for…

  4. Mr Mo, I doubt millions of people will use a MiFi device much less set up a wireless network or hotspot; they would all be “complicated” to the average user.

    To include a screen on a MiFi device would make it more expensive, who knows it may not even be financial viable at the moment. At some point yes, but but for now.

  5. yea Noni i agreed with you adding touchscreen will make it more expensive and drain juice quickly,.for me oh, instead of getting a mifi for 15k and above i better add money and get a galaxy pocket that can serve me as a phone+mifi,.

    Well mr mo, i understand u, i got an AT&T MIFI (unlocked) i understand how fustrating it is with that GATEWAY a thing,.especially when network is down.
    I think making it more user friendly ll be great,.

  6. Only a very tiny people want the burden of a Mi-Fi. Our sort a limited. The burden of a smartphone and a tablet is enough, not to mention adding another device–Mi-Fi. One will have to still carry the power pack, to recharge when it is low.

    Not everyone want that. But, folks like me want it that way.

    I am also frustrated about not being able to use USSD codes. I can’t check my data balance unless I remove the SIM and insert in a phone. phew! Let them improve their game.

  7. You shouldn’t have to keep pulling out your sim, check my reply to the post, it’s the first one.

  8. Tosin,

    So, someone is out and about with his MiFi and smartphone/tablet but needs to check usage and/or renew subscription. How does this PC-based installation help him?

  9. He navigates to the mifi ip via a browser, and did i mention the interface is mobile friendly (i know that’s a huge one for you) at least the mtn mifi I’ve used. Was actually a huge surprise for me when I first saw that on my Nokia browser, Opera mini doesn’t seem to handle that well though

  10. The devices have been improved on since that article was written in 09, mifi behaves better now, so out of the box, you can connect it to your system and i functions as both modem and acces point same time

  11. Oluwatosin,

    He navigates to the MiFi IP via a browser. How? By manually typing the IP or some automated means?

    If manually, we are back right where we started. That isn’t user friendly.

  12. the IP adress can be bookmarked on the browser. Some mifi’s have a PC interface like modems where you can check whatever you want.

  13. I agree with you, but if you’re using glo as your internet provider, there are ways to circumvent removing your son and putting in a phone, or plugging into a PC.

    1.You can check your data balance, usage history, purchase and renew data bundle via the glo HSI portal (http://hsi.glo.com). Glo is the only network that currently has this facility. I don’t know what the other networks are waiting for. They could still improve on this but making it possible to load airtime as well.

    2. You can load airtime via direct top-up, either using inter switch web pay portal (www.quickteller.com), or via mobile banking platform. Our even via another glo SIM (This is not exclusive to glo)

    By the way, I cannot log into my mobility account

  14. I use an etisalat mifi and there is no way of checking your usage balance even on the pc iinterface, You have to pull the sim and insert into a mobile phone to check

  15. how do i load airtime on my etisalat mf60 mifi? I’ve tried to remove the mifi sim card on another phone but it didn’t work out. Saying (you can not recharge to this subscriber) I’m bout running mad. Plz help Oº°

  16. With the latest internet sharing gadget mifi is becumin irrelevant. U have blackberry Os 7.1 that support mobile hotspot and symbian phone dat have Jokuhotspot and android device dat hve hotspot, now even laptop with window 8 have hotspot too. If U don’t want to carry device around, y buyin mifi ? Is a waste of money.

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