Sierra Wireless AirCard W801 Mobile Hotspot

I just upgraded my old USB mobile data card to a mobile hotspot. These fairly new devices allow you to connect with your MacBook (or iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad!) through a mobile network with a monthly data plan. The advantage of these new devices over the old USB stick is that you can connect more than one device, and you don’t need any special software on those devices since the AirCard works like a regular wireless base station. So I can travel and connect with my MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad with just one device and nothing to install. I can even use it for mobile connectivity instead of waiting for a 3G iPad. It will also come in handy when I’m in places were I can’t usually use my iPhone because AT&T doesn’t work. And this method of connectivity offers much more security than using a public WiFi hotspot. Check with your wireless carrier to see if they offer this model or a similar one.

Comments: 7 Responses to “Sierra Wireless AirCard W801 Mobile Hotspot”

    Kevin Grishkot
    4/1/10 @ 12:12 pm

    I looked into these and they are prohibitively expensive. ( >$60/mo) You can’t turn them off for billing purposes and they are not well supported in terms of customer service. Just my .02.

      4/1/10 @ 12:18 pm

      4 or 5 nights of hotel WiFi usually costs more than $60. Then add in all the times I use it in restaurants, airports, coffee shops, conference centers, etc. Some of those have free WiFi, sure, but that usually so insecure that I wouldn’t touch it. Plus, as a backup for my home DSL it is very valuable.

    N Warren
    6/1/11 @ 11:43 pm

    I just had to replace my Sierra Mobile Hotspot with a new one and had no problems linking it to my MacBook. However, I’m unable to get my iPad to connect. It shows a strong signal and the correct network, but I have no connection. What do I need to do to restore service on the iPad?

      6/2/11 @ 7:45 am

      Have you contacted support from your service provider? They should be able to help you. I’d imagine it is some setting in the hotspot.

    N Warren
    6/4/11 @ 12:28 am

    I’ll check with my ISP and Mac. My iPad worked fine with the first Hotspot, and I really love both devices.
    Thanks for the advice.

      6/4/11 @ 8:00 am

      It has to be a setting. All you can do is to go through the settings on both the hotshot and the iPad and try things. Perhaps take them both into the store owned by the ISP (Verizon, Sprint, whatever) and have them work with you on it. It could be set to the wrong wireless mode, or using a password type that the iPad doesn’t understand (not WPA2). Things like that.

    9/12/11 @ 11:47 pm

    I got this Device thru Time Warner Cable and it’s garbage. It constantly resets and getting a replacement device solved nothing. the customer support for this device is also non-existent. the reps just odn’t understand that a MOBILE HOTSPOT and a CABLE MODEM are two very different things. I was transfered to three different departments and eventually told “oh. call this OTHER number for help”

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