It has been over a year since Verizon last released a flagship mobile hotspot.
Our current top pick, the Jetpack AC791L by Netgear, was released in September 2015 - and just this week we were discussing how long it had gone without a replacement, wondering if a more advanced update would ever come.
As if on queue, Verizon yesterday announced a brand new flagship - the Jetpack MiFi 7730L by Novatel.
With more advanced LTE technology supported than any prior Verizon hotspot and a number of other promising new features, this seems to at last be a worthy rival for our "Top Pick" crown on Verizon's LTE network.
The key features of the 7730L include:
- LTE-Advanced Cat 9 Support (see below)
- Simultaneous Dual-Band 2.4GHz & 5GHz Wi-Fi - 802.11ac Support
- 24 Hour Battery Life
- Can double as an external USB battery pack for other devices.
- MiFi File Sharing - You can connect a USB drive and remotely access files.
- Global Roaming - Compatible with networks in 200+ countries.
- LTE Bands Supported: 2,3,4,5,7,13,20,28,66
- Two 'test ports' - not officially antenna ports. Should support MIMO, although test ports in the past have been a bit delicate. (Confirmed, thanks to MIA member who rushed out and purchased one!)
The Jetpack MiFi 7730L is available immediately at Verizon's online store for $199 (or $49 with a two year contract), and should be available in Verizon retail stores soon.
Verizon's First LTE Cat 9 Hotspot
The new MiFi 7730L hotspot is Verizon's first to support LTE Category 9, which allows combining up to three separate LTE bands to enable a max theoretical communication speed of 450Mbps.
The former flagship AC791L was a Cat 6 device with dual-channel carrier aggregation support for a max theoretical top speed of 300Mbps, and all other Verizon hotspots were Cat 4 at best - maxing out in lab conditions at 150Mbps or 100Mbps.
Real world speeds of course will always be much less.
But even outside of a lab, the jump from Cat 6 to Cat 9 has the potential to be a substantial leap - and as Verizon's cellular network is upgraded to support this technology in more places it should give the 7730L a significant fundamental advantage that will only increase in the future.
We can't say for sure until we have had a chance to test it hands on, but on paper the Novatel 7730L looks to be a major advancement in core LTE technology over the former flagship and our current top pick on Verizon - the Netgear AC791L.
The AC791L is still a very solid hotspot, and officially has two MIMO antenna ports. At the moment Verizon has only just begun to roll out 3 channel carrier aggregation to cell towers that would let the 7730L's technical advantages pull it ahead.
So if you have an AC791L now - there is certainly no reason to rush out and upgrade.
- Ways to Use Cellular Data To Get Online: Jetpack, Smartphone or Router?
- Selecting a LTE Mobile Hotspot or Modem (MiFi / Jetpack)
- Product Overview: Netgear AC791L
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