CES: Next-gen personal Wi-Fi hotspots arrive

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Traditional mobile carriers are starting to figure out that Wi-Fi is their friend--if they can put the broadband wireless technology to use in a way that helps their own mobile broadband customers stay connected with solid performance.

As carriers are advancing with their acceptance of Wi-Fi, we are starting to see the emergence of the next generation of personal Wi-Fi hotspots. Among the new gadgets to be seen at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Sierra Wireless announced a 4G hotspot device that will leverage Sprint's future multi-modal WiMAX and LTE network environment. The company's Tri-Network Hotspot actually has the capability to sniff out LTE, WiMAX or CDMA EV-DO data coverage.

PC Mag reports that the Sierra hotspot actually turns the different modems on and off as it looks for the best signal, and periodically checks each network to see if there is a signal for one that is stronger than the network currently being used.

Also arriving at CES with a personal hotspot, but for the Verizon Wireless network, was Novatel Wireless. The company's Jetpack MiFi 4620L supports up to 10 Wi-Fi device, and has large display screen and some easy-to-use navigation features, PC Mag says.

Both the Sierra hotspot for Sprint and the Novatel hotspot for Verizon succeed earlier generation personal Wi-Fi hotspots from those vendors.

For more:
- see this PC Mag hands-on analysis
- here's more live CES coverage from FierceWireless

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