NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Here's yet another business wrinkle with fancy, schmancy 4G networking hardware: the hardware itself.One of Verizon Wireless' ( VZ) popular 4G wireless devices, the Novatel ( NVTL) MiFi 4510L mobile hotspot ($49.99 with a two-year contract), has a glitch that can get some units stuck permanently in 3G mode if they enter an area without 4G, the company confirms. Verizon says it has sold millions of the devices, which turn Verizon's fast new 4G LTE network along with its 3G and 1G digital cellular services into a mobile access point to the Web for up to five users.
Verizon confirms a connection problem similar to what we experienced. But it emphasizes that the company has sold many of the Novatel MiFi hotspots nationwide with few issues. (In fact, I have one in the test fleet in my shop and it has worked well for several months, including on a long drive around Boston this past weekend to confirm its working status.) "There is an issue with some of the Novatel MiFi 4510L devices," Brenda B. Raney, executive director of corporate communications at Verizon, said via email. "But at this point, there have been a very few customer complaints. Novatel is aware and is working closely with our team to correct the problem and will do so in a maintenance update." Novatel confirms that. "Novatel Wireless and Verizon Wireless are aware of the issue," says Charlotte Rubin, senior director of public relations for Novatel, "and are working on a maintenance release/firmware update to be available in the near term for current subscribers."