Update July 31 2012: The Shared Data plan voids my update from 2/2008. The VZW software required to use the MiFi tethered sets up a modem with the #777 phone number, so that number is apparently still valid and the username and password is still correct. (I didn't test it and have no idea how slow it might be.) Some of the information between here and QNC setup is incorrect, depending on your cellular plan.
Update 2/2008: The newest Verizon plans charge for data by the megabyte for all users, there is no longer an option to spend minutes for data usage. On the positive side, once you upgrade, you don't need to pay extra ($5 or $15) for Mobile web access from your cell phone. It's 1.99 per megabyte, or about 50 pages, which is a better deal for lite users.
Note also that the following may be a violation of the Terms of Service for some plans.
Most Verizon cell phone models can be used as a modem provided you have the right equipment – specifically a "null modem" cable or card. (Update: newer phones can be tethered using just a USB cable).
You can get a modem cable for your phone from Verizon, the phone's manufacturer, eBay, Radio Shack or other electronics stores. When you buy the Mobile Office Kit you'll get software and a null modem cable for your phone.
- You DO NOT need to pay for Mobile Web or Express Network. There is not an extra charge for data service (with voice phones), unlike with other cellular companies. Verizon now requires a data plan with PDA phones.
- You DO NOT need the Verizon software, although it's much easier to configure some phones if you use either Verizon's software or 3rd party dialer software.
- You DO NOT need to dial an ISP, Verizon is your ISP. Because many ISP modems do not properly handshake with cellular phone modems, you're better off sticking with Verizon's direct connect service.
- The only cost is voice minutes from your calling plan.
- There is no monthly service fee.
- You pay only for the minutes you use – if you are within your monthly allowance, you won't pay extra.
Using the QNC (Quick Connect Network):
- Approximate speed: 14,400 (it's better than nothing )
- Coverage in many areas with Digital Service
- Works with any phone capable of data service
Install drivers for the USB cable, if needed, and for a modem. For QNC, install a generic 19,200 modem driver.
If you don't use the Verizon software to configure your modem and DUN
- Set up a Dial Up Networking connection using #777 as the phone number
- QNC as both the username and password.
Your connection should be completed within a few seconds and you're on the Internet.
Using Express Network
There is a lot of confusion over the Express Network. Beginning with all new accounts setup after June 1, 2003, free Express Network access is provided for all 3G capable phones. If you have an older plan and own a 3G phone, call Verizon and ask for an upgrade. They are working on adding it to all accounts – by the time you read this, it might be enabled on your phone and you don't know it.
- Like the QNC network, it's easier to set up if you have the Mobile Office Kit, but you can set it up yourself.
- The speed of the connection should be at least 56K, up to 144,000K. superseded
If you don't use the Verizon software:
- Install your modem drivers; look for drivers on your cell phone's website
- Set up DUN using [your 10-digit phone number]@vzw3g.com as username with a password of VZW.
- The username is in the following format: firstname.lastname@example.org
It takes seconds to connect to the Internet.
If you have problems connecting, you may need a modem init string. If varies with the phone — search groups;google.com or visit the alt.cellular.verizon newsgroup for the correct initialization string for your phone. As a last resort, call Verizon for technical support.
You'll need two DUNs — one for QNC and one for EN if you want to save your username and password.
Verizon is working on upgrading their network and it's expected that Verizon will end the QNC service in the future, leaving EN service only. If coverage is as good as QNC, that's not a bad deal, unless you own an older phone. But hey, there's always the New every Two plan.