Verizon/Novatel MiFi 4510L 4G

Justin Roberts

Since I have not yet seen much traffic regarding the Verizon 4G modems specifically this unit I thought I would do a review of it.

A couple years ago my primary internet method was a Pantech UM175 USB stick. I acquired one of the original Novatel MiFi 2200's but returned it after 2 hours of use. The unit had no external antenna port (which is necessary for some of the areas we go) and the WiFi was inoperable when charging (which was plain stupid). Last season I got a Cradlepoint CTR350 with the UM175 and have been very happy with it. Monday Verizon released the MiFi 4510L 4G modem. I used my data lines upgrade last year to get a new phone so I was not eligible for upgrade on that line however big red is apparently offering a upgrade for some customers with data lines to upgrade to 4G equipment. I don't know any specifics except you must currently have a data line with 3G equipment and be upgrading to 4G equipment. It is also only available in store at corporate stores. Anyway back to my current review. I paid $49.99 (I was buying several devices at once and I get a work discount, normal price is $99 after $50 mail in rebate). It is one of 2 4G capable hotspot devices and it is also capable of 3G and 1X. Verizons 4G operates in the 700 mhz band and requires a SIM card however it is NOT GSM. Currently this modem is not available in store, if you get one be sure they order a SIM card for you. I got home, plugged in the SIM card, put in the battery and powered on. On top there is a "e-ink" display that indicates signal strength, roaming, battery and how many clients connected (up to 5). the bottom side there is a LED indicator, the guide describes all the colors but the basics are solid purple is connected to 3G, flashing means activity on 3G, solid green is connected to 4G and flashing green means activity on 4G. on the top side there is an upside down micro USB connector and a small antenna connector (this was my final selling point). The antenna connector adapter can be purchased from Verizon for $9.99 however the adapter that I had for my UM175 worked already. In the package came activation instructions, I had to call up a 800 number and run through some of my account info, punch in the IMEI and SIM card number and was done with that part. Once you turn these types of devices on they will automatically do PRL updates and register with the network. My first power on took about 5 minutes, I'm assuming due to PRL update and SIM card registration. Initially it broadcasts the SSID as "Verizon 4510L MiFi XXXX" with WEP encryption, the password being part of your IMEI however this is all customizable at In the configuration it can be set to 1X, 3G, 4G, 1X+3G, 3G+4G or 1X+3G+4G modes. I don't know where to find 1X anymore but across 10 3G speed tests while moving and full signal averaged 1.82 down and .35 up. Averages on 10 4G speed tests while stationary at full signal were 8.75 down and 3.25 up. As noted I was stationary while performing the 4G speed tests however the tests seemed to be very sporadic anywhere from 6.50 to 14.82 down and 2.34 to 9.21 up. Battery life ran about 4 hours with heavy use (streaming video full time, GRLevel3 downloads as well as normal web browsing) on a mix of 3G and 4G signals (drove from KCI airport to Topeka, KS). Charging this unit is where behavior gets odd. From a dead state when you plug in the USB (whether it is wall wart or computer) the unit will flash a yellow light, you can turn it on and according to the LEDs it is connected however the WiFi signal is nowhere to be found and it does not show up as a device on the computer. Once the battery indicator reaches 3/4 bars or when fully charged WiFi is broadcast and USB can be connected flawlessly. If the USB is connected when the unit is below 3/4 battery it will shut off and WiFi remains unavailable even when turned off. In my case the unit will rarely be used on battery power. It will be permanently powered and connected to an external antenna.

In Summary:

Pros: External antenna connector, 4G speeds, WiFi stays connected when fully powered.

Cons: Funky charging operation when below 3/4 battery, battery life for some users.