Rover 4G WIFI Hotspot

Rover 4G WIFI Hotspot

Here are exterior and interior pictures of the new Rover Puck 4G mobile WiFi hotspot from Clear Wireless.  The Rover Puck can connect up to 8 WiFi laptops or smartphones to the internet.  How fast is it?  Well the Clear Wireless Rover 4G service is based on the WiMax protocol and can do up to 1 Mbps upload and 3 – 6 Mbps (million bits per second) download.  If you don’t know what a Mbps is, then just think of the Rover being about as fast as a pretty good home broadband connection – yes, this means you can watch video.

How well does it work in real life? Well 4G is very new – it rolled out this Summer and even in major markets, coverage is still being improved and expanded.  I tried out a Puck in Las Vegas and when I was able to get a 3 or 4 (max) bar signal things were great.  However, when moving at highway speeds things weren’t as consistent.  I am told that when moving at “high speed” the connection quality can fall to 1/10 of stationary levels.

In my empirical testing, I’d be watching a video (somebody else was driving!) and then after certain turns or bumps the video would stop.  I also tried the Puck while walking around and it performed about about the same as when stationary.  When walking around tall buildings I did find a few “dead” spots just a few feet wide in some of these urban valleys.

Clearwire is offering the first 2 days of service for free so if you get it I’d suggest you test out your most likely spots and routes right away.  I really like that there is no service contract with Rover – you buy the Puck ($149) or the USB single connection Stick ($99) and then pay $5/day, $20/week or $50/month for the service.

There are just 2 buttons on the Puck, an on/off switch and a signal strength button.  There’s a USB mini connection to power and recharge.  Battery life is about 3-4 hours depending on intensity of usage.  My Puck ran pretty warm when it was plugged into USB power and not in an air conditioned space.  It came complete with a USB power/recharge cable, AC to USB adapter, 12 volt cigarette lighter to USB adapter and a nice “rover” sticker.  There is no external antenna connection.  More information about the Rover service, coverage area and devices at Rover.com