How does Verizon Mi-Fi Work?

By Micah McDunnigan

Smartphones are one kind of device capable of generating Mi-Fi hotspots.
i Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

If you wanted to get on the Internet, you used to need a wired connection either in your own home or in a business that provided customers access to them. Then, wireless routers allowed you to connect wirelessly in your home or businesses that provided such Wi-Fi hotspots. This progression continued into Mi-Fi technology, which allowed users special devices from such providers as Verizon to create their own hotspots on the go.


If you choose to purchase a phone that is Mi-Fi capable, then you will set up the function when you purchase your plan. Even if a phone is Mi-Fi capable, as of this writing Verizon offered it as a separate feature for which you had to pay an extra fee each month to use. Use of the Mi-Fi feature requires you to purchase a data plan, in which you will pay a different amount depending on how much data you want your phone to be able to process from the Internet each month.

Data Network

You need to purchase a data plan to go along with your Mi-Fi plan feature because this is the way the phone gets the data to broadcast. Just as a router sends computers data it receives from a DSL or cable modem, your phone uses the same data networks that allow the phone itself to access and browse the Internet as the source of the Internet data for your Mi-Fi function. The limits of your data plan will dictate how much you can use your Mi-Fi function before paying overage charges.


After you purchase your data plan and Mi-Fi function, you will then have the option of turning on your Mi-Fi function, or as it will be called on your phone your "Mobile Hot Spot." When you enable this function, you will choose a name for your Mi-Fi function and then the phone will create a wireless network, just like a Wi-Fi network, under this name. You can then tell your Internet capable devices to connect to this network in order to connect to the Internet.

Security Settings

While some Verizon commercials feature a clever Mi-Fi user creating a network for a few complete strangers at the airport to use for Internet, this is a bad idea. Not only can they eat through the amount of data you have on your plan and slow down your own connection, but any site they visit will show up with your phone's IP address on it. In order to protect yourself, you should also choose the security option to enable a password for your wireless network, so only you and individuals you want to connect through your Mi-Fi connection can use it.