Home 4G Products Routers CLEAR Spot 4G Infomark Biscuit Review

CLEAR Spot 4G Infomark Biscuit Review


The CLEAR Spot 4G (AKA the Infomark Biscuit) is an all-in-one unit creates a mobile WiFi hotspot to provide 4G WiMAX internet access for up to 8 users anywhere CLEAR has 4G coverage. The CLEAR Spot 4G is very similar in features to the 3G/4G Sprint Overdrive or CLEAR Spot 4G+, except it can only be used on CLEAR's 4G network (whereas those other devices can also connect to Sprint's 3G network if 4G coverage isn't available). Since it is for 4G use only, the CLEAR Spot 4G is mainly targeted towards users live or work in CLEAR coverage areas and are looking for an alternative to cable, DSL, or dial-up internet. For users who only need 4G coverage and want to share the connection with multiple users, the CLEAR Spot 4G is an excellent choice since CLEAR's 4G monthly service plan is only $40/mo!


The CLEAR Spot 4G compared to the 3G Verizon MiFi and 3G/4G Sprint Overdrive

As mentioned above, the CLEAR Spot 4G is very similar to other all-in-one mobile broadband hotspots in terms of essential functionality. It features a built-in battery that lasts up to four hours and a wireless "G" radio for WiFi that can provide up to 150' of WiFi range (depending on the settings you've chosen and interference), and supports up to 8 wirelessly-connected users. Unlike other hotspots, the CLEAR Spot 4G has a nifty feature that will allow you to compromise between WiFi range and battery life by adjusting the broadcast power of the WiFi radio. There are three different WiFi power levels: short, medium, and long. Users can set the WiFi power to a higher setting to increase range, but this will reduce the battery life; setting the WiFi range to "short" will save battery life but your devices will have to be closer to the CLEAR Spot to connect. The CLEAR Spot 4G also supports both 64-bit & 128-bit WEP security, as well as WPA & WPA2 for the best wireless security to prevent unauthorized users from connecting to your personal WiFi network.

If you want to connect the CLEAR Spot 4G directly to a computer instead of using WiFi (for example, a desktop computer that doesn't have WiFi capabilities), you can tether it directly to a Mac or Windows computer with the included USB cable. Unlike the Verizon and Sprint MiFi, tethering the CLEAR Spot 4G to your computer via USB does NOT disable the WiFi - so you can continue to connect your other devices to the hotspot via WiFi while it's tethered via USB to one computer! Conveniently, no connection manager software is necessary in order to tether the hotspot to your computer - it appears as a network adapter with a local LAN IP.

As for the CLEAR Spot 4G's performance, many potential users have wondered how it compares to dedicated 4G USB devices available from CLEAR (such as the PXU1900). From our testing, we can confirm that the CLEAR Spot 4G performed exactly the same as CLEAR's USB devices. However, we have also found that the CLEAR mobile devices (including this hotspot) do not perform quite as well as CLEAR's "Home Modems", simply because the Home Modems have larger, stronger internal antennas built-in. Of course, the mobile devices offer the benefit of portability, so there is a trade-off to be considered.

For users who want to extend the WiFi range, need to connect more than 8 WiFi devices, or need to provide internet access to an ethernet-only device that doesn't have WiFi (a VOIP phone, DVR, etc), the limitations of the CLEAR Spot 4G can be circumvented by using the Pepwave Surf Mini. The Pepwave acts as a wireless bridge, picking up the WiFi signal from the CLEAR Spot 4G and then repeating it, giving you a much greater wireless range and allowing you to get around the 8-user limit. The Pepwave Surf Mini connects to the CLEAR Spot via WiFi and counts as one of the 8 users; you can then connect as many devices as you want to the Pepwave! In other words, if you wanted to share the connection from the CLEAR Spot with 10 laptops, rather than having the laptops connect directly to the CLEAR Spot's WiFi network, they would connect to the Pepwave (which is rebroadcasting the signal from the CLEAR Spot). Since the laptops aren't connected to the CLEAR Spot itself, the CLEAR Spot doesn't count them towards the 8-user limit! It also has an ethernet port, allowing you to connect a device that can't connect via WiFi.

The bottom line on the CLEAR Spot 4G: If you are looking for a mobile broadband device to use exclusively in areas with 4G coverage and want something more mobile and flexible than CLEAR's home modems, the CLEAR Spot 4G is a great choice. It's affordable (just $99.99 or you can lease it for $4.99/month if you opt for a 2-year contract), and CLEAR's unlimited 4G service costs just $40/month.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 July 2010 19:37 )