How to Get Reliable Verizon Mobile Internet Hotspot at Home (Don’t Use Jetpack MiFi)
If you live in a remote location where cable/wired internet is not available, you may be stuck trying to figure out how use a Verizon hotspot for your home’s internet connection. At first, it may seem like Verizon offers a couple great options for at-home internet. A lot of people go with the Verizon Jetpack. It’s a small device that seems modern-ish and works well for the first couple weeks. You’ll quickly learn that the Jetpack is not suited for “always on” internet. It’ll eventually crap out, unable to make a connection. You’ll have to physically reboot it. That’s very annoying but workable if you are always at home. However, if your home is a weekend/vacation home, then it’s a security and safety problem if you have things like cameras, a Nest thermostat or other connected devices.
Just Reboot It!
I mean, you could reboot it automatically, right? No! So, to reboot it, you’ll need to use the terrible on-drive screen/buttons or remove the battery and then put it back in. You cannot reboot the Jetpack via web interface (i.e. no scripting), you cannot put the Jetpack on an old-fashion outlet timer to turn it on and off because the battery keeps it alive. You cannot run the Jetpack without a battery (in which case the old-fashioned timer would work) because Verizon hates you. Even if you could run without the battery, the Jetpack would not turn on again until you physically pressed the power button. I could not conjure a way to automatically restart the Jetpack or to access it remotely for manual, over-the-internet rebooting. All “at home” MiFi devices that Verizon sells have a battery and therefore cannot be rebooted automatically.
Enough complaining — how do you get yourself reliable mobile internet at home?
Buy a commercial-grade WiFi router that lets you plug a USB MiFi device into it! These are the kind of routers that go in ATMs and commercial applications that need rock-solid mobile internet. Additionally, the router I chose lets you track and limit bandwidth (which is great considering that Verizon’s “Unlimited” internet is LIMITED at 15GB/month). It’ll also attempts to monitor the USB MiFi for connectivity, restarting it if it senses a problem.
The Special Router
After much review reading about reliability and configurability, my router of choice is the Peplink SUS-SOHO-T Pepwave Surf Soho MK3 Router
The USB MiFi
After picking a router, find out which USB devices are supported by it. I chose the Verizon MiFi USB620L which is 4G, not too expensive but also had decent reviews. Anything cheaper was either not 4G or had very bad reviews or not supported by my router. Overall, seems like all of Verizon’s MiFis are flakey. Fortunately, even if it’s flakey, it should be corrected by the new router.
Now, I don’t have this router on a timer because it’s so reliable but it has crapped out 2 times in 9 months. The great thing is, I easily cooked up a python script to automatically reboot it. If you’d like the script, drop me an email.
About this entry
- 09.26.18 / 5pm