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Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L Review: 4G Hotspot’s Pinnacle

The Jetpack MiFi 8800L is the best 4G LTE hotspot from Verizon, period. That’s because it’s better than all I’ve tested, and chances are it will also be the last. With 5G coming next year, it’s my educated guess that there won’t be another 4G hotspot.

If you don’t want to hold up to see how 5G pans out or need a mobile Internet solution right now, the MiFi 8800L is an excellent choice, even though it’s not cheap, costing $200 retail or $100 if you sign up for a two-year contract.

The MiFi 8800L has the right physical size for a mobile hotpsot.
The MiFi 8800L has the right physical size for a mobile hotspot.

Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L's Rating

8.4 out of 10
inseego MiFi8800L 7
Performance
9/10
Features
8.5/10
Design and Setup
8/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Superfast LTE speed

Good battery life

Handy touchscreen

Lots of useful features

Cons

Finicky power button

Relatively expensive

No support for upcoming 5G

MiFi 8800L: Simple yet effective design

Made by inseego, formerly Novatel, the MiFi 8800L is an oval plastic box that measures 4.45 by 2.80 by 0.75 inches. It’s not tiny but not huge, either, just about the right size for a mobile hotspot.

Useful touchscreen

On top, it has a 2.4-inch 5-line black and white touchscreen that shows the device’s status, connected clients, and so on. The screen’s sensitivity isn’t the best I’ve seen but is good enough, and you can use it to manage most of the hotspot’s settings.

For security reasons, you need to use the device’s web interface to change its Wi-Fi and admin passwords, by the way — more on this below.

You can open the underside of the hotspot to get to its removable 4400mAh Li-Ion battery. Under the battery, you’ll find a SIM slot. The 8800L uses a nano-SIM.

Inseego told me the device is unlocked — meaning it will work with other carriers (changes in settings required) –but I haven’t tried that out. After all, this is a Verizon device.

You can easily change out the MiFi 8800L's battery or its SIM card.
You can quickly change out the MiFi 8800L’s battery or its SIM card.

On the side, there’s a power button. You need to press and hold it for a few seconds to turn on the hotspot. It works fine though I find it a bit finicky. There’s very little tactile response, so sometimes it’s hard to know if you have pressed on it. But that’s not a huge deal.

USB-C applications

The most exciting part is the USB-C port. You can use it to charge the hotspot’s internal battery or charge a device connected to it.

That’s right. The MiFi 8800L can work as a juice pack. I tried that with my Pixel 3 XL, and the charging worked fine. It stopped when the MiFi’s battery level drained 25 percent.

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You can also use it to tether a computer that doesn’t have Wi-Fi to the Internet. In this case, you can choose to make it also work as a mobile hotspot at the same time or not.

And there’s more; you can use the USB-C port to host a storage device, like a portable drive, and share that storage with all connected clients. It’s like a mini NAS server.

A portable drive would drain the hotspot’s battery fast, and there’s only one USB-C port. That said, this option is cool but impractical unless you use a USB-C external drive with a power adapter of its own.

Generous feature set

The 8800L comes with a secure Wi-Fi network that you can use right away out of the box. If you want to change this network’s name or password into something easier to remember, you’ll need to use its Web interface.

It’s easy: From a connected device, point a browser to its default IP address, which is 192.168.1.1.

The interface is responsive and gives access to all of the hotspot’s settings and features. And for a small device, the MiFi 8800L does have a lot of features.

GPS is one of many features of the MiFi 8800L.
GPS is one of many features of the MiFi 8800L.

For example, there’s built-in GPS, which supports the NMEA GPS-over-Wi-Fi standard. Thus, supported Wi-Fi clients can automatically use the MiFi’s GPS feature. Others, such as a computer, will need a software driver first.

There’s also a built-in VPN client that comes in handy if you want to remain as part of a home or office network when on the go.

Other than that, the MiFi 8800L also has all the standard settings found in most routers. These include port forwarding, port filtering, MAC filtering, firewall, Guest network, and more.

High-end Wi-Fi and cellular specs

Per inseego, the MiFi 8800L is the first and, for now, the only hotspot in the U.S that uses Qualcomm’s latest X20 modem. This modem features Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA), meaning it has improved LTE speed thanks to carrier aggregation and the use of the 5GHz frequency.

The MiFi 8800L supports LTE bands 2/4/5/7/13/14/20/28/46/48/66, as well as UMTS 3G. For this reason, it can work almost anywhere in the world. In the U.S, however, it works best only with Verizon.

Cellular StandardLTE Advanced
Cellular NetworkLTE Bands: B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B13/B14/B20/B28/B46/B48/B66;
 UMTS Bands: B1/B2/B5/B8
World DeviceWorks in over 200 countries
Battery Life24 hrs
Weight 5.36 oz
Dimensions (HWD)4.29 x 2.64 x .71 in
Charger PortUSB-C
Screen2.4” touchscreen
BatteryRemovable 4400mAh, 16.7 Whr LiIon battery
Wi-Fi Specs802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz & 5 GHz 
Max Wi-Fi Clients15
Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L’s hardware specifications.

As for Wi-Fi, the MiFi 8800L features dual-stream (2×2) Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) with the top speed of up to 867Mbps on the 5Ghz and up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz. Ether is more than fast enough to deliver its cellular Internet in full.

The MiFi 8800L's USB-C port can be used for charging as well as hosting storage space. Note the two connectors (covered) for external antennas.
The MiFi 8800L’s USB-C port works for charging as well as hosting a storage device. Note the two connectors (covered) for external antennas.

Excellent performance

I tested the MiFi 8800L throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and was happy with its performance. Verizon has good cell coverage in the area, and I was able to get good reception — and therefore fast Internet speed — without using external antennas.

On average, I got about 40Mbps, but there were locations I got up to 120Mbps. The slowest speed I got was around 15Mbps. Generally, I could stream movies to three devices simultaneously while using a fourth for other tasks without any problem.

By the way, since the hotspot is so fast, I recommend getting the unlimited data plan (currently costs $80/month). Otherwise, you can blow through any data caps in a matter of just a few hours.

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The MiFi 8800L takes about 20 seconds to boot up from off.
The MiFi 8800L takes about 20 seconds to boot up from off.

The battery life was also impressive. With typical usage (web surfing, emailing, Google Maps turn by turn direction, and so on), the MiFi lasted me two days of work time on a single charge.

When I used it heavily (continuous Netflix streaming and other tasks), it lasted about 6 hours. Generally, on average, you can expect some 12 hours easily.

By the way, you can charge the hotspot using any USB-C car charger, including those used for phones.

In my case, the hotspot woke itself up (from sleep) each time I started the car, saving me from having to fumble with the temperamental power button, as mentioned above.

As for Wi-Fi, I was able to use it up to 100 feet away in open space. In a house with walls, however, the range now maxed at around 50 feet. While this was shorter than a regular router’s, it’s among the best for a mobile hotspot.

Conclusion

You probably think you don’t need a mobile hotspot since, when need be, you can likely use your phone as one anyway. And for the most part, you are right.

But for those traveling with a lot of Wi-Fi clients, the phone’s built-in hotspot feature — which allows only three clients — won’t be enough, plus it’ll drain the phone’s battery fast.

And that’s where the Jetpack MiFi 8800L comes into play. With super-fast LTE speed, the support for up to 15 clients at a time, and long battery life, until 5G is available, this is a hotspot as good as it gets.

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6 thoughts on “Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L Review: 4G Hotspot’s Pinnacle”

  1. We travel full time in a 5th wheel RV. Would this device, the 8800, work well for traveling all over the US? We sometimes don’t have good Verizon service, maybe1-2 bars, or even no service. I would like to use it with my firestick or use it for video classes online. We met some friends who have one and use it for business as they travel and they recommended it.

    Reply
    • This depends on the area, Debbie. I’ve personally used it on long road trips and it worked in most places. It depends on cellular reception. If you use this one and another from AT&T as a backup, then you’re all set.

      Reply
  2. I plan to use mine as a dedicated line for a security system in rural area since the local internet is spotty. Can I put it on a charge, use cycle with a timer of 8 hours (battery), 4 hours (charge), etc. indefinitely?

    Reply
    • I’m not sure about indefinitely but that might be possible if you time it right. Note though, there’s no indepth control of the battery usage.

      Reply
  3. In my area the only web access is Verizon LTE and I need a depenable system for web cams that will stay working for extended periods unattended. I tried a MIFI 7730L and it worked perfectly for a few weeks but then I had to call support to restart it. When I went on vacation it worked for a couple weeks and went down again and support couldn’t restart it without me being at the device. Is there anyway around this problem?

    Reply
    • I’ve never thought of this, Michael, but you can try schedule a restart via the web interface. If that’s not possible, set up Dynamic DNS for remote administration and manually restart the hotspot remotely ever few days. Another way that can possibly work is you can take the battery out and plug the hotspot onto a smart plug, like this one, and set that plug to restart (remotely) or on a schedule.

      Reply

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