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Netgear Mingle 778S (Virgin Mobile)


iansltx
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Yep, I have yet another hotspot as part of my collection.

 

The Mingle appears to be the Zing/771S, but with no touch screen and cheaper materials; there are a few info screens that you access on-device by pressing the power button. The web UI is pretty much the same as the Zing's, and the dual antenna jacks are still there.

 

Wired tethering on my mac complained of an outdated driver, but after a reboot connected anyway, netting me 16M down, 6M up at my apartment. I'm headed out to near a confirmed TDD-LTE site to check out top speeds (and burn through my 250MB of data).

 

Like the Mingle and the MiFi 500, there's only one WiFi antenna in the device, limiting peak connection speed to 72 Mbps, and real-world transfer speeds to a fraction of that.

 

The device was $99.99 + tax from Virgin Mobile's website. One of the more interesting plans I saw as a $120/6 month/6GB plan. Expensive per gigabyte, but a little less expensive per month than the standard $25/1.5GB plan. You're basically paying $65 to keep your data active for five more months than usual; $55 is what the 6GB one-month plan costs.

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Looks like I know what the girlfriend is getting for her birthday this summer. Her home is hanging off what could be one of the worst WISPs there is, the telco won't bring a DSLAM out, and Time Warner just gut laughs at us. Sprint/Virgin is pretty darn solid though for those essential uses.

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Looks like I know what the girlfriend is getting for her birthday this summer. Her home is hanging off what could be one of the worst WISPs there is, the telco won't bring a DSLAM out, and Time Warner just gut laughs at us. Sprint/Virgin is pretty darn solid though for those essential uses.

 

Just keep in mind that Virgin's offerings are inferior to Sprint's price-wise, and you can get the home router with no contract. Though if you're on the 6GB plan with both services, it'll take ten months or so (maybe more with taxes on the Sprint side) for the lower up-front cost of Virgin to be offset by higher monthly fees.

 

Then there's the fact that 6GB of data isn't that much when you're connecting to a real computer. But if you're okay with that, the Mingle is an option.

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So, I'm back from my field test( and lunch). Looks like rebooting the hotspot near a Band 41 site will get it to lock onto that site, though otherwise the hotspot will sit on Band 25 ad infinitum. Now I'm not completely sure that I was hitting a B41 site during the second part of my testing (the Mingle's info screens are less descriptive than the Zing's), but I did hit ~23 Mbps down, ~8 Mbps up in an area where B25 should be pretty heavily used, and I know there's a B41 site very close by.

 

I also connected to a B41 site in a B25 coverage hole and got mediocre speeds (8-9 Mbps). Probably the site's fault though there. The device was showing full bars after a reboot (vs. almost no signal before). Interestingly, my Karma hotspot delivered 12-13 Mbps off of the same site (Karma's firmware is better than the stock Clearwire FW, where I couldn't get past about 8.6 Mbps a year or two ago).

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Just keep in mind that Virgin's offerings are inferior to Sprint's price-wise, and you can get the home router with no contract. Though if you're on the 6GB plan with both services, it'll take ten months or so (maybe more with taxes on the Sprint side) for the lower up-front cost of Virgin to be offset by higher monthly fees.

 

Then there's the fact that 6GB of data isn't that much when you're connecting to a real computer. But if you're okay with that, the Mingle is an option.

This is an emergency backup connection. When the WISP dies we jump over to hotspot, but only really use it for IM, blackboard, email, etc. She buys the 6 month package usually around September and it lasts through most of the winter, which is when here main connection seems to really suffer. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I also connected to a B41 site in a B25 coverage hole and got mediocre speeds (8-9 Mbps). Probably the site's fault though there. The device was showing full bars after a reboot (vs. almost no signal before). Interestingly, my Karma hotspot delivered 12-13 Mbps off of the same site (Karma's firmware is better than the stock Clearwire FW, where I couldn't get past about 8.6 Mbps a year or two ago).

Be aware that the B41 LTE may have had more users with new phones coming out while the WiMax have far less as the devices are replaced with ones that have B41 LTE.

 

The plans from FreedomPop may be a better option for that situation but since the WiMax network will only last until the end of 2015 then I understand in wanting to select the mingle which is future proof and no need to spend money on another device later on.

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