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tommiefern

Sprint MiFi -good or bad?

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Sprint coverage is scarce across the country.  I have Verizon and the wife has Sprint.  My phone and data coverage are a lot better than hers.  Her Sprint in Asia was good as she had unlimited texting including pictures.

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I have the Sprint Tech Connect mifi. Where there is Sprint service, it is really good. As fast as our Verizon and ATT phones. My wife, myself and my grandson used it for 10 days through out New England with no problems. We were trying it out to see how it worked. We used a lot of data on three iPads with no throttling. What I found interesting was checking data usage, it does not list any usage. I guess it is truly unlimited.

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I just received my Sprint Mifi 8000 MiFi device today. It is failing to connect to the internet and I can't find a good tech support number. The number that came with the start up guide will only handle Carrier calls. It tries to connect and then says to contact customer service. Any thoughts? 

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I just tether my Sprint phone to my laptop when needed.  Works the same with unlimited 60 gb without slowdown.  

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Thank you to all! The people from the number in the guide I received responded to an e-mail apologizing and letting me know do provide support. I ended up driving into town and was able to get it working. When I was home it acted like there was no signal. I got it working in town with 3 bars. Now that I'm back home I have 3 bars at home now. I've been in IT for 20+ years and this was a weird result but it's up and working so as I've learned over the years, you just have to settle for being glad its working!

Next step, I'm connecting it to a WiFi Ranger in the next few days so I can do some testing. 

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My FMCA Franklin R910 suffered a bulging battery and actually popped the back cover off. I received the new Inseego Mifi 8000 last week as a replacement. It's supposed to be the same hardware as the Verizon 8800L Mifi device. The Mifi 8000 is what Sprint is now selling to their customers instead of the Franklin R910 and it can have an external antenna connected to it.

It would not activate so I worked through the FMCA TechConnect page and Aaron White (Membership Services Manager) responded, who was fantastic to deal with. He is extremely responsive and competent. It turned out that FMCA needed to contact Sprint to get the phone number moved from the Franklin R910 to the Mifi 8000 and then it just started working, probably because the Mifi was a replacement device provided by Asurion and shipped directly to me. I knew when it switched because the R910 stopped working. :)

There is a firmware update that may be needed on the original Mifi 8000 devices, firmware 1S but mine had it when it was shipped to me from Asurion. Aaron provided the firmware update directions in case that was the problem but it wasn't.

The area we're in right now is kind of spotty on coverage. If you understand signal strengths the Mifi is showing -122 to -125 dbm, which is quite weak. Sprint's map shows I need to relocate out of the campground in any direction for about a mile and coverage will be fine, of course. I just ordered a directional antenna from Amazon for these areas so we'll see how it works when it arrives in a week or so.

https://www.amazon.com/Inseego-Hotspot-External-Periodic-Low-Loss/dp/B07XY7D6VS/ref=sr_1_3?crid=J9KLSCWPJCPR&keywords=mifi+8000+mobile+hotspot+external+antenna&qid=1579362721&sprefix=mifi+8000%2Caps%2C216&sr=8-3

HTH,

Ray

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1-20-20

Got Sprint hot spot 3 weeks ago. Left Knoxville Tn area for Cape Canaveral Fl area. Hot spot worked fine till we got into campground here at Cape Canaveral. MIFI8000 showed 1 bar and wanted to roam. Sprint coverage map showed good coverage at campground. I contacted FMCA and they told me as long as it showed yellow coverage on Sprint Map it was ok to say yes to the "Domestic Roaming " message. It was in coverage zone for Sprint. Once it went to roaming I was downloading at 6 meg, Not great but ok for my use. Hope FMCA guy was correct on the domestic roaming message. I have ATT in the car and it is about the same speed.  Any input on the domestic roaming would be great

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I received my mifi 15 minutes ago from sprint. First test was 95meg down, only 3 up but dang! We are in the rv meca of quartzsite area about 20 miles east. My att is running about 17 down and verizon is .5meg at 4 in the afternoon. So far REALLY happy

 

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Just got my Mifi 8000 from Sprint.  Am preparing for an RV trip so have been trying to use it at home which is in an extended range (roaming) section of the Sprint coverage map.  I never suspected that the colored and cross hatched extended area meant that the device wouldn't be able to work as two Sprint tech supports very unhelpfully volunteered.

Interestingly enough, right out of the box it fired up and worked just fine.  Did the happy dance, but WAIT!

I turned the device off for the night.  When I turned it back on the next morning, got the "your device is not activated" message and told to call Sprint.  Before I did that, I explored all the menu options and settings logged into my device from my laptop. Nothing jumped out, so I did a hard reset.  Still nothing. Called Sprint Tech Support group at 800-927-2199 per FMCA email.  Well.  Since I'm not in direct Sprint coverage, the lady couldn't help.  She did offer to send some type of reset signal but doubted this would work since I wasn't on their network.  I verified that "roaming" was turned on, and in a few minutes (presumably after the special signal was sent) the Mifi8000 started working again and did so all day just fine.

Well, turned if off again last night and tried again this morning.  After resetting, doublechecking and testing, the device said it was connected to the internet but I could not access anything on the internet - like the DNS didn't even exist.  Kept getting site unavailable type messages from many common sites (e.g. MSNBC.com, CNN.com, my bank, etc.)  Another call to Sprint tech support resulted in another lady informing me that she couldn't help since I wasn't directly on their network.  Denied any responsibility for this failure and suggested that FMCA should have known this wouldn't work well in a mobile RV environment unless you only drive near Sprint towers.

So, I'm wondering if any techies on this forum might realize what's going on and be able to suggest something other than mailing this back to FMCA (they did furnish me the address) and giving up.  Recall that this worked just fine out of the box until I turned it off for the night.  Never the same since.

I liked the Sprint plan of month to month with unlimited usage, but doesn't help if it won't work from day to day or only in their special spots.  I won't spend two hours each morning hoping to get the thing to work, and I don't really intend to leave it on all the time as Sprint suggested.  Wouldn't help anyway now that it isn't working.

So, for those still thinking about this, proceed with caution.  If the FMCA contact mentioned in one of the other replies can help, I'll let everyone know what the problem was/is.

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In the cellular world, the kind of plan that FMCA sells is called a "reseller plan" since it isn't sold directly by the carrier.  Many (most?) reseller plans don't work in the "extended range" portions of the coverage maps.  I'm not sure why yours did work there before, but that's probably the reason you're having so much trouble now.

Historically, Sprint has always been the weakest of the cellular carriers with more holes in its coverage map than the others.  Supposedly Sprint customers can now roam on the T-Mobile network (as the first phase of the merger) but I don't know if that applies to reseller plans.  IMO T-Mobile's coverage is also pretty poor compared to Verizon and AT&T so, as a full-time RVer, I won't consider them either.  I have low-cost unlimited connections with both Verizon and AT&T and use both of them in a load balancing router.  That's what it takes to stay connected all the time and even that solution isn't perfect.

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Thanks for that background, Doc!  I still don't see how this thing can connect to the internet (it was even able to look for s/w updates this morning) but I not be able to access any sites.  I asked the Sprint techie if they somehow blocked me, but that idea was adamantly rejected.  Still, no one seems to know why this thing worked perfectly two days in a row but will not start up once turned off.

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4 hours ago, raifordr said:

 Still, no one seems to know why this thing worked perfectly two days in a row but will not start up once turned off.

I assume someone had you verify that the APN was correct?  It's possible that the APN reverted to a stored one that isn't correct for this plan.

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If you are questioning your DNS try using one of the free DNS servers. Google has a couple free DNS servers, as much as I detest google, try DNS server settings 4.4.4.4 and 8.8.8.8

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No one asked anything about APN.  They were too busy pushing me off saying that it wasn't their fault since I wasn't directly on their network.   As if ATT and Verizon were flaky and Sprint was not.  The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that they cannot keep my device activated.  I get a message that "Your device is not activated, contact customer service for assistance."  The first time I did, the lady claimed to have sent some type of message and voila, it started working.  The second time, the lady refused saying it wouldn't help.  I've sent a direct email to Jason Gabbard; we'll see if he can make this work or back it goes - no revenue for Sprint for bad service.

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