\r\n\r\nStep foot in any coffee shop and you'll in all likelihood be grreeted with free WiFi. \u00a0More often than not, though, speeds are on par with dialup. \u00a0Good for checking your email, but not much more. \u00a0It's an infuriating circumstance that has long deterred me from a large number of coffee shops as I depend on a decent Internet connection to efficiently compete work.\r\n\r\nThe resolve to this quandry is to bring along my own Internet connection. \u00a0However, since I'm stuck in AT&T's unlimited iPhone data plan - by choice of course - I'm barred from officially tethering my laptop to my iPhone and leveraging my handset's bandwith.\r\n\r\nMy only resolve is a MiFi. \u00a0A device that is effectively a portable, battery powered router that requires a standalone monthly subscription. \u00a0A variety of networks offer such a device, all with a comparable pricing structure that start at about $30+ if you plan on doing any true web surfing. \u00a0It would seem that Sprint offers the best bang for buck at $80 for 12GB, with T-Mobile following second, Verizon third, and AT&T last. \u00a0 That being said, some require a contract, some are prepaid, and some provide significantly discounted hardware. \u00a0Nevertheless, I suggest you balance out your budget with your willingness to commit. \u00a0Personally, I'd rather bring my own hardware and and prepay as my usage varies from month-to-month, which in turn provides me the greatest amount of flexibility.\r\n\r\nThis is primarily how Verizon markets their MiFi Wireless Mobile Hotspot, otherwise known as a Jetpack. \u00a0They currently offer one device through their website, though I tested both the Novatel MiFi 4150L and the 4620L. \u00a0Pricing starts at just $15 a month, but that will net you a paltry 250mb - good for email, but that's about it. \u00a0For someone like me, which is constantly uploading and downloading photos, as well as streaming videos, the $90 10GB option makes much more sense. \u00a0Alternatively, there is a 3GB option at $60 a month, though it's pretty evident you get far more for your money by opting for the top tier service level.\r\n\r\nMy testing took place in the Los Angeles in a radius not more than 6 miles from the beach. \u00a0Speeds varied drastically as did device performance. \u00a0In fact, the first MiFi I used, the Novatel 4620l had to be swapped out with the 4150l since it would only deliver spotty service. \u00a0One minute I'd achieve download speeds of 20mbps, then the next nothing.\r\n\r\nThe 4150l, though a slightly lesser device with a smaller, less detailed display, worked far better and was able to remain connected. \u00a0Since both devices are very close in relation, they use the same battery, which only provides, at best, 2.5 hours of web surfing when connected to one device. \u00a0Sharing the connection with another laptop, bringing the total to two, significantly reduced the battery life to just over one hour, and also impacted speeds with a fair bit of a variance.\r\n\r\nAnd that's the thing: there was so much variance from location to location it was hard to say what was influencing the MiFi's throughput. \u00a0The Starbucks in Marina Del Rey offered horrible speeds that were \u00a0no better than dialup. \u00a0Moving further inland and North produced solid speeds of up to 20mbps for short periods of time, but still were so inconsistent that the experience was infuriating. \u00a0Traveling to Santa Monica, North and as coastal of Marina Del Rey, offered some relief, though the speeds tended to still drop and didn't offer much of an improvement over a coffee shop router's WiFi.\r\n\r\nOf course environmental factors might have impacted the MiFi's performance. \u00a0That being said, my tests were real world, which needless to say are not ideal for accomplishing\u00a0maximum\u00a0throughput. \u00a0And although the Novatel 4150l MiFi did alleviate some of my bandwidth issues, my experience was made no better thanks to the device's short battery life of just 2.5 hours. \u00a0 Furthering my discontent was a setting on the 4150l that automatically turned it into a USB only modem (read: no wireless connectivity) upon plugging it \u00a0for charging, negating the option to use an external battery pack, such as Mophie's Powerstation Pro - I tried to turn this feature off but had no luck procuring a password. \u00a0Why the option to turn off the Hotspot even exists is beyond my rationale.\r\n\r\nBottom Line: Verizon's MiFi 4G Hotspot service in Los Angeles, be it hardware or\u00a0connectivity, still needs some heavy vetting before it becomes a go to solution.\r\nEditor's Rating:\r\n[rating:2.5\/5]\r\nFair\r\nPros: Easy to setup and use hotspot service that works just like an at home router.\r\n\r\nCons: Spotty service, confusing hardare settings, and piss poor battery life.