Verizon Wireless Aircard – What a Difference

I previously blogged about my frustrating experiences with an AT&T aircard.  It was highly unreliable and caused extreme annoyance due to its ability to consistently connect.  Fortunately, I was within the return window and so sent the unit back to AT&T and then switched to a Verizon wireless card.  The Verizon experience has been completely different.

My company has not certified Verizon’s new 4G LTE cards which the carrier is heavily promoting.  Instead, I received a UMW190 instead.  One unexpected benefit of the UMW190 is that it also includes a GSM radio and so will work outside of the US.  This is helpful for world travelers, but I do not believe that it supports 3G GSM.

In short, the card has been solid.  Everywhere I have tried it whether in congested airports, cities or rural areas, the card has just worked.   To be fair, performance can be inconsistent ranging from around 60 Kb/sec to 1,000o Kb/sec.  However, this is mobile data and so I had expected as much.  Interestingly, I did notice a bit of signal stability issues when I used the card at an event with 400 people, but at its worst, the card still outperformed the lackluster AT&T unit.

I do see a need for LTE.  This card is great for general email and web surfing, but is not fast enough for bandwidth intensive activities like streaming video.  Since I primarily use the card for work, it meets my requirements quite effectively.  However, if I need to download or upload large files, a WiFi or wired connection is a better choice.  (To be clear large file uploads/downloads work fine, but are slow.)  I cannot help but wonder how much faster everything would go if I had the LTE model. 

In summary, if you are considering an air card, do not bother with AT&T.  Your best bet is to go with Verizon Wireless.  Interestingly, I am potentially getting an Atrix 4G on AT&T which has wireless hotspot functionality and so I may have another opportunity to test AT&T in the future.

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4 thoughts on “Verizon Wireless Aircard – What a Difference”

  1. I have used Verizon 3G data cards for years on my Mac and have found a reliable experience. I need more speed though since I do web design and need to transfer large files. I tried a T-Mobile “4G” data stick and could not get coverage anywhere. Returned it. I bought a Virgin Mobile 3G Mi-Fi unit (which uses Sprints 3G network), and had a good run for a while, and enjoyed the cheap pre-paid mobile broadband even if it wasn’t too fast. Then after a while it stopped working, and wouldn’t register and let me top up. I called Virgin and endured a nightmare experience, and they never did anything about it. I would not recommend them. I next tried a Sprint “4G” mobile hotspot and found it would sit on 3G mode even when there was 4G available. Returned it. I never tried AT&T, but I saw really bad reviews on their site for their air cards. So it looks like Verizon is the only company with a decent mobile broadband device.

    I am readily looking forward to the Verizon LTE 4G Mi-Fi hotspot with true 4G speeds and low latency. Hopefully this will be the holy grail when it comes to mobile broadband. I will gladly pay someone $50/mo to have a fast, reliable connection I can share with multiple devices. I also like the fact that I can go into a Verizon store anywhere in the country if it is not working properly and get it fixed or replaced.

  2. I recently purchased the verizon 4g LTE SCH aircard, and absolutly discourage anyone to waste their money on this item. It is TERRIBLE, wherever you are, it has frequent drops in connection, resulting in disconnects for around 3 minutes every hour. VERY BAD for gaming, as it will get you disconnected VERY OFTEN. Its data plans are TERRIBLE and it is easy to go over just by watching youtube. TERRIBLE DEVICE. HIGHLY DISRECOMMEND. If you can’t get anything else in your area, I would recomend satelite internet, 100x more reliable

  3. Help….I recently purchased a Verizon MIFI wireless air card that will not work inside my house – I have to go outside to use it. I had a little luck yesterday connecting outside, then bringing it inside and setting it near a window, but it wouldn’t work today and it’s freakin cold out here (sitting in my car where it works fine). Would not work on the front porch (open but with a roof). Someone told me to check the attic for an old lighting rod wire – nothing up there. I do still have a TV antenna hooked to the chimney but nothing else….? Concrete block house with drywall, built in 1932, some aluminum siding and replacement windows. There is a stovepipe going up through the roof, aluminum. I have no home phone, cable or satellite service so was really hoping this aircard would work (inside)….Verizon helpline was trying to sell me a booster/antenna but I’m already getting all the bars when connected, so I don’t think that would help. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi and thank you for your comment,

      Your situation sounds difficult and I would guess that something in your house is interfering with the device. Three potential solutions come to mind. The first would be to explore various windows to see if you can get a signal somewhere. If that does not work, you can buy an unpowered external antenna which could help improve the signal. The third option would be to get an amplifier; however, I think that this is overkill and so your best bet is the first or second option. Good luck wth it and thank you again for your comment!

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