Verizon Unlimited Jetpack Service Mini-Review

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by RJM62, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    Here's a mini-review of a service mentioned in another thread. This is based on about two hours of possessing the device, of which an hour was spent trying to activate it.

    Activation

    Activation was a pain, for three reasons:

    1. There's a Catch-22 in the activation process. To activate the device, you need a Verizon Wireless login. To create the VZW login, they need to send a PIN code to the device. But the device can't receive text messages until it's activated -- and even then, apparently only from Verizon. I couldn't SMS it.

    In addition, the messages can only be viewed from within the device's Web interface, which isn't accessible until the device is activated, which requires that the VZW account be established, which requires the PIN be sent to the device, which can't receive the PIN until it's activated. Milo Minderbinder would be proud.

    2. It's rather difficult to get through to a human when you call because the prompts are rather ambiguous and geared toward phones, not hotspots. I finally chose "Device Support" or something along those lines, and the rep was able to send me a PIN by email.

    3. The SIM card number was different from the one that was printed on the box and that Verizon had on record, and it took the rep a while to get that one to activate. Maybe they have special SIM cards for unlimited service, but never bothered to re-label the box.

    Minor Annoyances

    While the rep was trying to provision the SIM card, the call was cut off. However, the device started working while I was cussing. Perhaps it needs to hear the correct combination of cuss words in order to activate.

    There also was a message waiting in the device's Web interface asking me to rate the rep's help, but no way to respond to it.

    Another minor annoyance was that I just received the device today, but they started the monthly billing cycle the day I placed the order. So I lost two days while waiting for it.

    How Well Does it Work?

    As for the actual service, it's not horrible:

    [​IMG]

    That's with four bars out of five.

    I know VZW is capable of higher speeds than that here. I used to get about 50 Mbps on one of my phones. But that wasn't with unlimited service. My guess it that they throttle the speed on unlimited to keep it truly unlimited. That's fair. Wireless bandwidth is cheap, but it's not free.

    But hey, at 15 Mbps, it's not horrible. I remember back when speeds like that were just a pipe dream. And besides, I wanted this mainly for Internet failover. I can work with 15 Mbps.

    Device / Router Functionality

    I received the MHS900L. There's also an MHS7730L which is more advanced and more expensive, but it was out of stock when I placed my order. I suppose I can upgrade if I ever need to.

    The device has one tiny screen that provides very little information, but it does provide signal strength and a few other very important pieces of information (such as the SSID and password). It has no Ethernet. I may or may not do some sort of WiFi-to-WAN thing to create a seamless failover system. I suppose a bridge and a dual-WAN router would do it.

    There may also be dual-WAN routers that allow WiFi for one of the WAN sources. I haven't checked. Or there may be software for my work computer that switches from Ethernet to WiFi when the Ethernet adapter loses Internet. Or maybe I can write such software and retire a wealthy man.

    I haven't tested the device's own routing abilities. I don't suppose they're very advanced considering the device's size and purpose. But the lady who signed me up said it could manage devices like network printers as long as they're WiFi-enabled. She also said it could connect a maximum of 15 devices, but the documentation says 8. Possibly there was a firmware update at some point.

    Video Streaming

    I haven't tried streaming video other than a few HD YouTube videos (which worked fine), but streaming is limited to 1080p, according to VZW. That's okay. So is my television. In fact, I may hook up the Roku to this device just so I'm using it for something between Internet outages. It also will reduce my usage on Sparrow Fart Telephone, who supposedly has a cap, which I pretty much always exceed, but who have never throttled me or billed me for an overage.

    VPN

    AirVPN works fine over the service. I don't know about any others.

    Summary

    It's too soon for me to make a recommendation other than to say that if you have a good VZW signal and you don't have any other way to get decent Internet, it's probably worth a try. They discounted the device to $50.00 for me (and probably everyone else), the service is $65.00 / month with auto-pay ($70.00 without), and there's no contract; so if your other Interweb options are crappy, you're not risking too much by trying this one.

    The other logical use is probably more in line with what the service is designed for, and that's mobile Internet. That might be a good deal for pilots or others who travel a lot, and who prefer laptops to phones or tablets.

    Rich
     
  2. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    13,859
    Location:
    high desert NM
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    The Verizon Jetpack is just about the only way for me to get internet. It is by far the cheapest way. I activated mine in BFE Alaska. I don't remember it being so difficult, but internet coverage is better and there is far more coverage than I get in rural New Mexico.

    We don't use it for anything else than internet browsing and my wife's Facebook. I do not know how it would work for streaming Tv. But the printer works fine off of it, I haven't had any problems there. I have unlimited usage, but it is not the same cost per month as listed above. Maybe a geographical difference?

    My wife will take it with us when traveling. It works in the car if coverage is in the area. Verizon seems to have downgraded their signal strength at least in my local area. I used to get 3.5 to 4 bars at my house, but now I am lucky to get 1.5 bars. Same in town.

    The Jetpack works fine for our needs, but like I said, we don't run any devices off it except the printer. And it is the best internet access I can get in my area.
     
  3. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    Possibly it was a different device or a different plan. They just released this plan earlier this month, and the fact that the SIM number didn't match the one on the box suggests that it's some sort of custom SIM. I also got an "unauthorized device" error at some point along the line, which the fellow at support somehow fixed.

    Rich
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  4. paflyer

    paflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    7,152
    Location:
    PA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PAFlyer
    Nice writeup, Rich.

    I had one that I used to relay video from a nanny cam when my MIL was in the respite home while we traveled out of the country a couple months ago. Worked well, we set the camera for 480 which was fine for the purpose, although we did test at 1080, no problem.

    Got a 5GB data plan for the month, still running long after we got back. Maybe it's good until the data runs out, which can be a while at that rate. I had the guy at Verizon set it up, wasn't about to screw with it myself, and I'm a techy.
     
  5. Matthew K

    Matthew K Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2016
    Messages:
    763
    Location:
    Georgia
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Broke Engineer
  6. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    Thanks. It seems like a decent solution, provided it keeps working.

    Rich
     
  7. baboss

    baboss Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Central IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brock Boss
    Thanks for the pirep. This is my backup plan when they finally figure out a way to kill our grandfathered unlimited plans, and they will.
    I do believe this plan, as opposed to the old grandfathered “truly unlimited” plans, is subject to throttling based on congestion on the towers it’s connected to. That’s far better than the old throttling scheme which caps your speeds at a set number. And the newer jetpacks can take advantage of multiple channels.

    I currently tether my jet pack to a Pepwave Surf SOHO Router, wireless or USB tether available. There are lots of options out there.
     
    RJM62 likes this.
  8. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    Thanks. I'll check that out. I figured someone must have put something like that together. I just haven't had the time to look around this past week.

    Rich
     
  9. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    It turns out that the Jetpack I bought, which is an older model, only supports 2.4GHz. That's okay for what I want to do; but because I live in the sticks, I never bothered manually setting the wireless channels on my existing router. As it happens, both the Jetpack and one of the router's three radios were operating on 2.4 GHz Channel 6.

    I went into both the hotspot and the router and assigned the two radios in the router that are 2.GHz to Channels 1 and 6, and set the Wifi radio on the hotspot to Channel 11. I left the 5GHz radio on the router on Auto.

    With the radios in that configuration, the speed on the laptop went up to about 28 Mbps, and on the desktop to almost 21 Mbps.

    [​IMG]

    It could also be coincidence, of course; but eliminating the overlap is good practice in any case.

    I'm also thinking about just buying a WiFi-to-Ethernet bridge (assuming I don't already have one in my boxes of crap), configuring it, and setting it aside for use in extended outages. For short outages where I mainly need Internet, I can just connect directly to the Jetpack on my desktop PC. For longer ones (when a tree falls on the lines, for example), I can plug the bridge into the router and restart the router, thus giving me both Internet and LAN through the router. It's a good router, especially running DD-WRT; and it took me a while to get the router configured the way I like it routing and QOS-wise.

    The down side is that it wouldn't be automatic. But I'm not running any public servers from my office anymore, so manually switching over wouldn't be a big deal.

    I'm also pretty sure I could assign one of the routers radios as a WAN client, but that's too much like work.

    Rich
     
  10. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    I woke up even earlier than usual this morning and decided to simulate an outage and do a morning's work using the Jetpack. It worked very well. I noticed no difference in upload speed. Downloads were slower, but still very usable. So this will work very well for me for backup Interweb.

    Another nice surprise was that as it turns out, I don't have to do anything at all to preserve LAN access while using the Jetpack. When I enable WiFi on my work computer and connect to the Jetpack, it uses the Jetpack for Internet, but preserves LAN access through Ethernet. When I turn WiFi off, it gets Internet from the wired connection. So I don't have to do anything at all router- or bridge-wise.

    I don't know whether that's default Win10 behavior or some serendipitous configuration coincidence on my part; but I'll take it either way.

    Rich
     
  11. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Messages:
    3,164
    Location:
    Clinton, AR (Sometimes)
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Total Stud Bush Pilot
    Many years ago I had a similar device through Sprint. It worked great. I loved it. When it came time to pay my bill, I always did it through their website. Then one day they made some major changes to their website which required everyone to change their password. The temporary password was sent via text message to the device. Like your device, there was no way to get that message. Several calls to customer support and a couple of visits to a Sprint store all yielded the same result: "We understand. We'll get this fixed for you. You'll receive a text." Obviously I stopped using Sprint.
     
  12. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    I had one with Sprint years ago, too. And yes, it worked great. But Sprint had little coverage up here, so when I moved, I canceled it.

    The tech support guy from VZW told me that the activation problems were all due to the SIM in the device not matching the SIM on the box (and in VZW's records). Once they got that straightened out, the heavy lifting was done. The device started working a minute or two later. But I didn't actually compare the two, and I'm not going to pull it out to check. It works now: and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    Rich
     
  13. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    An update.

    First of all, it seems the activation problem was caused by my not swapping the SIM card to a pre-configured one that VZW included with the Jetpack. The reason I didn't switch was because it was tucked inside the outer shipping box among the packing material rather than in the Jetpack box itself, so I didn't find it until I flattened the outer box to take it to the transfer station for recycling. Had I used that SIM card instead of the one that was in the device, it probably would have auto-activated. Oh, well. Live and learn.

    The other update is that the device and service continue to work pretty much perfectly. Although I purchased it for backup, I do use it as my primary Internet connection every few days, mainly to make sure it still works and to continue evaluating it. Here's today's speed test result:

    [​IMG]

    That's with four of five 4G bars and three of four WLAN bars.

    I might be able to nudge a bit more speed out of it if I re-positioned it for optimal reception rather than convenience. I also could (and probably would) purchase the newer Jetpack, which accepts an external antenna and has 5 GHz WLAN, if I intended to use it as my primary Internet connection. But the speeds I'm getting now are fine for what I need.

    The speeds do vary according to time of day, and they may go down in the spring when the trees wake up. If that happens, I may upgrade to the newer Jetpack and install an outdoor directional antenna. Or I may just install a directional antenna and a signal amplifier so the cell phones and other 4G devices can benefit from it, too. We shall see.

    I've had zero problems using any software with this connection on Win10 Pro or any other computer or device. It also continues to use the wired Ethernet for LAN devices while using the Jetpack for Internet. I don't know whether that is the default Win10 configuration or a serendipitous configuration coincidence.

    If you have good VZW signal, I feel I can confidently recommend trying this service as a backup Internet connection, or even a primary Internet connection for some users. I think there's a return window on the device and there's no contract on the service, so there's little risk. The main caveat would be that it is limited to 1080p for video streaming, which seemed to work fine when I tested it; but I don't do a lot of streaming, so I can't say how well the throughput would hold up in heavy streaming.

    Rich
     
    Stephen Poole and Eric Stoltz like this.
  14. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,334
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DFH65
    Just remember unlimited really isn't unlimited it is 22GB then then they throttle you. We have used these devices for many things at work and they have been trouble free.
     
  15. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    That was true of older plans, but supposedly it's not true under this brand-new "prepaid unlimited" plan, which is less than two months old. VZW says they may de-prioritize in the event of network congestion; but other than that it's supposed to be truly unlimited, with no throttling and no caps.

    I'm pretty sure I've run well over 22 GB through it. I've downloaded, edited, and re-uploaded quite a few large videos; watched a few movies; downloaded some pretty big software; and done quite a few days of normal work. So far, it seems they're telling the truth.

    Rich
     
    Eric Stoltz and DFH65 like this.
  16. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,584
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    I believe the unit should have a tx/rx byte counter somewhere in it's config/status embedded web server.
     
  17. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    It does, but it always reads 10240.00MB / 10240.00MB.

    [​IMG]

    It did seem to be keeping track of usage at first, but at some point it starting showing the above all the time. I guess it's some sort of kludge they implemented to signify unlimited. It's a very new plan.

    The device itself is also supposed to track usage, but the device display always reads "Usage data not available."

    Rich
     
  18. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6,584
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    asicer
    Looks more like someone implemented the counters as 10.6 bit fixed point math. :rolleyes:
     
  19. baboss

    baboss Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Central IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brock Boss
    I’ve noticed it recently with my Jetpack and others online elsewhere have seen the same thing. Did the same thing on their website under my data usage. Mine started counting usage correctly again last week.
     
  20. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    And I am reminded just why I hate Verizon. I decided to dump my VZ phone (lots of reasons - it's my second cellphone) and get a prepay Jetpack instead.

    Yes, the price is advertised as $65 for the unlimited and $45 for the 8 GB/mo. I picked up a "new but no SIM unit on Fleabay" (good seller). The Jetpack arrived. So far, so good.

    Went online to order a SIM. So it insisted that I log in with my postpay account (the one I'm going to dump...) to order from there. Set up everything, chose a prepay plan, and it showed a price $5 per month higher than advertised. Took about 15 minutes to figure out why - the first month VZ charges full boat even if you're setting up autopay, it's supposed to go down from there. Not readily disclosed, so a touch of false advertising (the lawyers will argue that it's buried deep in the site so it's disclosed, but I'd disagree).

    Went on to enter credit card info. Got 3-4 "cannot process" error messages with the admonition to try again. Try different card. Same story. Turn off adblocker and all is well. Huh? Probably a tracker. Better than some that outright won't work with private mode (like the config screen for one of my wifi AP units), I suppose. But still crappy. Now says it's processing and I get the confirmation email. Annoying, but livable.

    Next get a fraud alert from Chase. For the (small) amount of the prepay charge. Tell Chase that the charge is OK, they say "if the charge was declined then try again". Nothing from VZ about a declined charge, and Chase won't tell me. Give it a couple of hours, still nothing from VZ. Check order status - it says "processing", which seems normal. But wait, rolling over the info icon reveals a popup bubble that says "This order cannot be processed. Please visit the location listed on your order confirmation". No email about a problem. And the order confirmation shows no location to "visit" - it's supposed to be sent 2-day mail. There is also no phone number on the Order Complete email from VZ. So just what the f*** am I supposed to do (I'll find a number and call them. Or go by one of their stores tomorrow).

    Oh, and despite the fact that they made me log into my existing account, this order doesn't show anywhere. Who knows.

    Checking the Chase site, there is no pending charge. Conclusion: they declined the order. (Side note: this is not the first time that Chase has done this, and each time has been a royal mess to straighten out, including with Apple. I had originally tried AmEx, but that's when I ran into the aforementioned website issue with VZ.). Chase has lost a fair amount of online business from me as I now avoid using the card, woe upon me for doing so this time).

    Typical crap VZ customer service. If this move didn't save me a bundle of money.....

    Gxd help them if I have the same kind of problem activating as Rich did.
     
  21. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    Impossible to get through the phone trees, especially since the number wasn't assigned.

    Trip to local Verizon store, they were able to determine that the order was "canceled" with no reason given (I suspect because of Chase). 40 minutes later, half spent waiting, and I had a SIM, number, and account. Put in device, it works fine (30 down, 9 up). The store manager just shook his head when I told the story, and he told of waiting for up to an hour on hold with the store's customer support folks. And about the FiOS installer that came to his house and left muddy footprints in the new carpet. He got it.

    Now we wait to see if the other order really canceled or whether it'll self-resurrect and they'll try and charge me for it.

    So, if you're going to do this, best bet is to find and go to a company store (not one of the "authorized dealers"). It will save you a ton of frustration.
     
  22. baboss

    baboss Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2012
    Messages:
    272
    Location:
    Central IL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brock Boss
    I called to order my new 8800L Jetpack and the pre-paid unlimited line Wednesday. They sent me to the special pre-paid folks, 1-888-294-6804.
    They tried my card 5 times and it kept getting denied. Rep said credit card companies had been blocking the transactions lately and to wait to hear from my card company. Tried another card and got a text almost instantly after the Rep said it was denied. Had to OK the charge via text and it worked when the Rep put the charge through again.
    Got my Jetpack on Friday and I'm pretty pleased. It is faster than my 6220L running right beside it. I believe it can talk on more/newer bands than the 6620L but that's just from memory and I'm too lazy to look it up.

    If your out in the sticks like me and need some more ooomppfff out of the Jetpack try one of these antennas Netgear 6000450 MIMO Antenna with 2 TS-9 Connectors - Retail Packaging - Black, or something similar, if you can find one. Works perfect for the 2 "test" ports on the 8800L Jetpack. The 6620L only has one "test" port. Really helped on my SNR and RSRP and in turn much better down/up speeds. I had to put it outside my windows (inside greatly diminished the performance) and snake the cable through.
     
  23. Ghery

    Ghery Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    10,570
    Location:
    Olympia, Washington
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ghery Pettit
    I had one of the earlier hockey pucks from Verizon. I was never able to get it to work from my house. Verizon's signal level was too low. I finally got them to cancel the darned thing on my bill, but I paid a number of months before that happened, with no service from the device.

    Chase, on the other hand, lost my business almost 20 years ago when they snuck in an international exchange fee on a bunch of purchases made in the UK. They wouldn't discuss adjusting the charges, so I found a web site called www.chasebanksucks.org. There were a bunch of people ranting, but there was also useful information, including the address of the president of the bank. A couple letters later and the charges were reversed and the account was cancelled (per my instructions). Haven't dealt with them since.
     
  24. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    1,493
    Location:
    Sierra Nevada
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Catmandu
    Gosh I'd love to go through the frustration of activation so I could dump my 3x1 DSL (and the cable company wants $6k to run coax to the house), but the best my LTE signal can give my at the house seems to be 5x1. I'm drooling over those 20-something download rates.

    Boonies: quiet for a reason, ain't nuthin' around here.
     
  25. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    And today, 36 hours later, I get email from their system claiming "computer technical problems" and that they canceled the online order. But if I still want it I should go to one of the stores.

    Verizon: we don't care because we don't have to.
     
  26. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    I still haven't gotten around to setting up "real" failover, and I'm not sure I'm going to bother until I need to replace the router anyway.

    What I did do was take an old router and put it into client mode, connecting to the Interwebs through the Jetpack. Then I ran a cable from one of its LAN ports to the existing switch. (The wireless stuff, of which I have little, can connect through the Jetpack itself.)

    4g.jpg
    So now when the cable goes down, I just turn off the cable router and turn on the old router, and voila, everything that comes off the switch has Internet. I'm using it now, in fact.

    The only real advantage as opposed to the other way I was doing it is that I just have to turn one router off and the other router on (and turn on the Jetpack, of course), and everything that needs Internet has it.

    When I need to replace the main router, I'll just buy a dual WAN router and a bridge and set it up with automatic failover. For now, this works fine.

    Rich
     
  27. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
  28. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
  29. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    The reviews seem to be sharply divided between people like me, for whom it serves our purposes quite nicely; and those who hate it.

    As for the activation difficulties, that turned out to be partly my fault. The puck came with a pre-provisioned SIM, but it was folded into the paper they used as packing material, so I didn't find it until months later when I decided it was safe to throw away the box. It also had a non-provisioned SIM in the hotspot itself. Had I pulled that one out and inserted the pre-provisioned one, it probably would have activated automatically.

    One thing I use it for quite often is remote edits to Open Street Maps. It's a lot easier (for me, at least) to make detailed edits using my Fire 10 HD tablet than using the phone app. Because the Fire lacks GPS, I use the phone when creating a new point, but the Fire to edit existing points that have less-than-wonderful entries. I also use it when uploading more than one or two Mapillary images.

    I have found that the 4G reception on the MHS900L puck has been less-than-wonderful in some areas, supposedly because it lacks some of the band capacity of the newer ones. I've ordered a newer one, used, from Amazon. We'll see if it's an automatic activation when I move the SIM.

    Rich
     
  30. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    And this is why I f***ing despise Verizon.

    I have a prepaid jetpack with a smaller ($50) plan as I really didn't need more. It was a royal pain to set up - I ended up going to the Verizon store and even they had trouble.

    So I may need more data this month as my primary home service is down (tree took out pole, power has been restored but the cable drop is on the ground and it may be sometime next week before it's restored - that's a different issue but is the reason I may need more data). So I think "why don't I use the online account connected to my jetpack". Easy, right? No, it's Verizon, and NOTHING is easy. No password is set up, so I go to register. Every time I try to register, it kicks me back to the Verizon Wireless home page.

    Call tech support, which appears to be in India. "Oh, the jetpack has a different procedure for registering. I will create account and email password". Great. He does. I try it to log in. The site barfs and says that the information doesn't match their records. And it asks me for the answer to a secret question - for an account that hasn't been set up. So he cancels the online account and we proceed to try again, this time with Firefox instead of Safari (for good measure, I tried Safari, too, with the same result). Same error message in old Cingular orange. He creates a "secret question" answer - but the question is different from the one on the screen. That doesn't work, either.

    So off he goes to talk to his support team. After 4-5 minutes, he comes back and spews some stuff about how it usually works but sometimes doesn't and the will submit a ticket. He then wastes another few minutes of my time extolling the virtues of the online account (guess what - I'd use the online account rather than talk to you IF ONLY you'd let me create said account).

    I am then told to "keep my line open" (it's my frigging cell phone). And we finally hang up. 26 minutes on the phone to accomplish exactly... nothing.

    "We're the phone company and we don't care because we don't have to".

    If it weren't for the fact that I have property where Verizon is about the only carrier, I'd take the jetpack and... well, let's just say the term "s*** a brick" might apply.
     
  31. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    Luck of the draw, I guess. Even on other forums, there's been wild divergence in experience with both the service itself and the customer support. I had the initial problem activating the device, but that's probably because I didn't notice the pre-provisioned SIM in the packing material. Since then, it's been fine.

    I also bought a newer Jetpack from Amazon that has more 4G bands and 5GHz WiFi and had no problems. I popped the SIM in it, and that was that. It activated, added itself to my online account, downloaded two updates, rebooted, and just worked.

    Even
     
  32. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    It looks like they changed the $50 plan to include 16 gB of data (but those of us already on the plan were only given 7 GB more, for a total of 15).

    I finally got in - no call or follow up from them at all - it now just works.

    The main VZ website still shows the unlimited at $65, but I still think 15/16 will be adequate for my needs along with the 10 GB hotspot/unlimited phone data I get on the TMo phone service.

    I've got a MiFi 7730, which I think is the more capable of their hotspots, and it works just fine. The actual internet connectivity is just fine. The customer service sucks, but "suck" is Verizon's middle name. Even the local store manager here said he wouldn't take VZ if he didn't work there.
     
  33. RJM62

    RJM62 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    13,156
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    None
    Yeah, I'm using the 7730L now, and it seems fine. I'm actually using it now. I have it set as the preferred WiFi for the Fire because it usually gets used outside the office. It's also kind of a recurrent test, as well as taking a bit of load off the cable Internet.

    I'm getting about 24 / 20 right now. Earlier today, though, I was getting 1.5 / 4. Then all the sudden it jumped up. It could be the holiday weekend. The population of Sparrow Fart doubles on holiday weekends.

    I have AT&T Prepaid on my phone now, which includes 8 GB / month with one-month rollover. I use very little mobile data (basically just email and traffic data) so I usually start with ~ 15 GB at the beginning of the month. That was my backup until VZW introduced the unlimited Jetpack plan. Now I have both. I like redundancy.

    As for customer service, in addition to VZW and ATT, I've also had Alltel, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Metro PCS at various times. My experience with their customer service has been that they're all mediocre at best. Nextel was the worst. T-Mobile was the least-bad. ATT and VZW have both been in the middle.

    Rich
     
  34. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    23,566
    Location:
    DC Suburbs
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill S.
    I'm looking at 50/6 right now on the Jetpack. Concur on your list of customer service, though I would stick Verizon on the bottom without question (and not just for wireless, for everything).