What is a MiFi Router? (The Difference Between MiFi and WiFi)

Doesn’t it just bother you when you hear something you don’t understand? Many tech terms are just simple abbreviations or acronyms that can annoy us incredibly, but we don’t have to be left in the dark.

We can always learn and even toss around a few tech terms that our friends wouldn’t understand. So, you’re here because you’re wondering what is a MiFi router. Well, let’s learn a bit about that.

What is a MiFi Router

What Is a Router?

In simple terms, a router allows two networks to communicate, and it manages the traffic in the networks by routing the data to the IP addresses of the devices. The data packets are sent to their destinations and vice versa.

The most common type of router is the commercially used router that connects local area networks (LAN) and wide area networks (WAN). The local area network is your network, and the WAN is the larger network to which your network is connected.

How Does a Router Work?

A router is a device that we connect to the modem. The modem is a piece of hardware that translates analog signals into digital signals and vice versa. Nowadays, we have gateways in our homes – they are combo devices. They combine a modem and a router into one device.

So, a modem picks up the internet connection and supplies it to the router. Next, the router distributes that internet connection across all devices connected to your LAN wirelessly or via cable.

How Does a Router Work

However, this is not all it does. Apart from the internet access it establishes, a router can also work without a modem. You can use the router to transfer data between connected devices seamlessly (but you won’t be able to access the internet).

This is where routing comes in. The router is the main postal office coordinator and the mailman. It assigns an IP address to a device, and it sends the data packets based on the address. That’s how you get a file transferred from one address (device) to another address.

What Is Wi-Fi?

The preferred way we use to connect most things today is Wi-Fi. It’s everywhere. If you’ve heard of smart homes, well, Wi-Fi is the reason they’re smart because everything is connected through Wi-Fi.

We avoid using cables because they take up space, and we can trip on them, among other reasons. Plus, imagine the entire family connecting their smartphones to the internet or to each other using cables. It would be impractical and a waste of space.

That’s where Wi-Fi comes to the rescue, and the way it does everything is almost like magic. Instead of sending data through cables, Wi-Fi broadcasts it using radio frequencies. Today, we have 2.4GHz (Gigahertz) Wi-Fi, 5GHz Wi-Fi, and 6GHz Wi-Fi.

What Is MiFi?

Now, if you think that behind MiFi there’s a deeper technical meaning, there’s not. MiFi is actually a brand/device name. Novatel developed the MiFi router, a device that is, as they say, an “Intelligent Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot.”

However, the reason they don’t call it the Wi-Fi router is that one of the most basic functions of a router is to spread a wireless radio signal so devices can connect. Well, MiFi is much like Wi-Fi with a few key differences.

How Does a MiFi Router Work?

MiFi works much like your personal hotspot. The difference is that a personal hotspot is an option for you that is provided by your smartphone’s manufacturer. It uses cellular data to provide an internet connection.

So, when you turn on the personal hotspot on your phone, you’re using the data from your plan to provide Wi-Fi to other devices so that they can connect to the internet.

MiFi is more or less the same. It’s like a portable router that has a SIM card inside. You can use a prepaid SIM card, or you can use the one from your phone based on the MiFi model. A MiFi router can establish a Wi-Fi network with a touch of a button.

What Is a MiFi Router Useful For?

Well, lots of people can benefit from using a MiFi router. It provides us with wireless internet using cellular data where there are no available Wi-Fi hotspots, or there’s no possibility to have an internet connection, but you can have a strong cellular signal. So, it benefits:

MiFi Routers Are Often Used by Truck Drivers

Using a MiFi Router is a Great Choice for Travelers

  • Prepaid subscribers: Some people just like to pay for how much they spend. Instead of paying a monthly subscription, they pay only when they need internet access. If they don’t need it, they don’t have to pay.


By now, it should be perfectly clear what a MiFi router is. A MiFi router works by establishing a wireless network after connecting to the internet using a SIM card. Ergo, we use MiFi to have Wi-Fi using cellular data, similar to a personal hotspot.

It’s an excellent solution for people that travel a lot, remote workers, people who have older devices that can’t hold their battery for long, and people who like the pay-to-use system. Finally, if you’re into gadgets, this is quite a useful one.

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