2 Feb 2010 10 am eastern

Free advice: buy a dongle

There is still no Wi-Fi on the northeast corridor Amtrak trains that carry hundreds of thousands of business travelers each day. So quit whining and get a USB 3G modem. It’s free with monthly service, which is tax-deductible. For the $60/month I pay Verizon, I can connect my laptop to the internet from any train, bus, boat, lounge, lobby, conference room, coffee shop, or just about any other environment to which modern business takes me.

Filed under: business, Free Advice, industry

20 Responses to “Free advice: buy a dongle”

  1. Brian said on

    But what about the places postmodern business takes you?

  2. Christopher Coleman said on

    Better yet, the Verizon MyFi doesn’t clog up a USB port. I’ve been using one borrowed from the office lately and it’s come in very handy. Of course, it’s not very fast, but that’s Verizon’s network, not the device.

  3. Amit Elisha said on

    A better advice: Jailbrake your iPhone and Tether.


  4. Simon Ljungberg said on

    iPhone tethering for the win! =)

    Internet prices are crazy in the US. $60 for 3G internet?
    In Sweden I pay $75 for my iPhone. Out of those $75 I can call/text for $45. That leaves $30 for the iPhone and unlimited 3G data!

    I agree though, 3G internet is the shizzle =)

  5. John F Croston III said on

    Have been thinking about getting a mifi from Verizon or the like to have for those times that I can’t get a internet connection, while out and about.

    How does the speed compare to DSL and a cable internet connection? Was thinking of getting rid of my home COMCAST internet, if the speed was just as good or close.

    I’m paying close to $60 for home internet already.

  6. @mollask said on

    I love my Sprint Dongle. The only real issue with Sprint/Verizon/AT&T Data Cards is their Transfer Limit of 5GBs. Sprint’s 4G cards (Baltimore, Atlanta & other areas) are limitless. I don’t completely understand why they have limits other than to charge you more. I had one $200 bill one month. Yes it’s tax deductible, but I can’t wait until Sprint turns up their 4G in my area.

  7. Paul Downeu said on

    £10/month is typical for Mobile Broadband in the UK. Been using it for a couple of years now, my only problem being tunnels on my commute. What is this Wi-Fi of which you speak?

  8. jim said on

    another fee to connect to the internet ontop of the two already being paid to the internet gatekeepers is hard to swallow at this point. i am a small one man shop traveling around and i dont think i can make that happen. so i will continue to complain or until Amtrak installs wifi which is on the horizon.

  9. Kåre G said on


    We’re on 4G here in Oslo!

    Well. some are. I’m still plugging in to the wall!

  10. Daniel Patterson said on

    I just picked up one of these last week and instantly fell in love. Its not only a modem but a 5 port router with all the regular features you’d expect in a home setup. And as for the speed Sprints on top of Verizon for the moment.


  11. Josh Williams said on

    Chiming in on the MyFi (which I call the MeeFee for kicks and grins). It’s awesome. Also, I’m auctioning my four extra IPs off during SXSW if you want to get your bid in now. :)

  12. Werbeagentur Regensburg said on

    We’re on 3G here in Regensburg!

  13. Marc said on

    BEWARE 4 roaming charges!

    I had 2 show verizon ‘the door’ when they started charging me 4 roaming in Mexico. I don’t cross over into Mexico. They practically said that they couldn’t care less, that I still had 2 pay roaming charges.

    2 HELL with them!

  14. Christopher Fahey said on

    Good advice. For a small business, you can buy one for the whole office and give it the person who needs it most at any particular time.

    They also make pre-paid wifi dongles, too. I’ve been meaning to try that option out for a while.

  15. Ashley said on

    I too have the MiFi, and have replaced my home internet with it. It’s helpful for client meetings, working on the train, last-minute homework on the El on the way to school, and conferences where the hotel’s WiFi is being sucked dry.

    The only thing I really don’t like about it is the 5GB limit. I work with it, but I’d like to do some more heavy lifting on occasion, and I just can’t. Going over causes some HEFTY fines. I might go back to a cheap at-home monthly internet service just to get unlimited service again.

  16. Brad said on

    Get an unlocked mid-tier smart phone, a Nokia N75 will do, buy the “dumbphone” data package and tether your heart out. This approach will pay for itself in a couple of mo’s when you consider the new smartphone data rates.

  17. Ryan Cannon said on

    While Brad’s advice might work, it’s a good way to get your cell phone service cut off or receive a $10,000 phone bill. The major phone companies disallow tethering in their user agreements, and penalties for tethering range from account termination to notice-free change to a pay-per-byte plan.

    Caveat emptor.

  18. the Bat said on

    Love my Verizon USB modem thing. Yeah, it uses a USB port but my iBook has two. A week or so ago, I was in Boulder, MT. This is a sleepy little town just south of Helena on I-15. The signal may have not been the fastest but it was entirely usable. In fact there’s very few places anymore that I haven’t been able to find a usable Verizon or shared network signal.

    —Look! Up in the sky? It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No! It’s The Bat!

  19. JK Scheinberg said on

    I’ve got a Sprint 3G USB cellmodem, $59.99/mo, had it about 14 months now. It’s unlimited data. I can even share out my connection to my wifes Mac over airport. However I heard the new ones are data limited to 5GB, which is useless because we blast over that barely doing anything. And I hear the overage fees are huge. Looks like for now, at least, mine is still grandfathered in for unlimited data and I’ll keep renewing it monthly until that goes away.

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