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Rent pocket wifi in Japan 2011/1/17 06:16
I'm going to Japan for 3 weeks in April, and it will be my first trip alone, so I would like to keep in touch with my family. I will bring my ipod touch with me, but it seems that free wifi spots are not so common in Japan. I'm considering to rent a pocket wifi from Pururu or Global Advanced communications (those companies charge similar prices) so I could use skype to talk with my family, and it could also be useful if I get lost or to check train schedule, etc... Does someone tried it and does it works well?
Thanks for your help
by phoenixia (guest)  

Highly recommended 2011/1/17 10:34
We rented one for two weeks in November. It was invaluable on our trip and I would highly recommend it.

Reception was good in most areas of the cities we visited. Transmission speeds did vary a little but were still more than acceptable.

We used it to check hyperdia a lot, this makes planning the next train trip really handy as we did a lot of travelling around many places between Fukuoka and Tokyo. We also used Shin-Osaka as our base and did a lot of day trips (Kyoto, Hikone, Hiroshima, Kobe, etc) where we didn't know what time we would be heading back so it was great to know whether we needed to rush to the station or if we had some extra time up our sleeve. We also used it to check Japan-guide for suggestions on what to do in an area while we were there.

It was also very handy when walking around places to use Google Maps (with the iPhone's GPS), either to work out where exactly we were, or to use it to navigate down the streets to our desired destination.

Back at the hotels at night time it was often easier to use the wifi device to surf the internet, check e-mail, view youtube etc. although sometimes I used the wired LAN connections for the Laptop. I tested the speed ( in most of the hotels and it was more than fine for Skype.

We had three devices connected to the wifi, iPad, iPhone, and a Laptop computer. All connected with no problems.

Although battery life is reasonable and we never ran out of power I was only switching it on when we needed it. Battery life is listed at "3-4 hours". If you think you will need more time between charges then I would recommend you buy an extra power pack that can charge a standard USB device. You can make your own if you are handy with basic electronics and can use two AA batteries or there are a number of commercial devices available for this. The device came with a USB cable and a wall charger so we just charged it whenever we were at the hotel and left it running overnight.

Depending on who you rent from and where you pick it up, the only other point is that it may come in the original packaging which is a box a fair bit larger than the actual device. You may need to carry this box with you (or arrange to leave it somewhere).

We rented from a company called Exsili who were excellent to deal with. They don't have a big English presence but they were efficient, quick to respond, and it was waiting at our hotel in Osaka when we arrived. The hotel kindly helped shipping it back to them at the end of our stay.

The only other point worth mentioning is that these devices seem to be in fairly high demand as they are so useful, so once you know your travel dates (or have booked your airfare) then try and make a booking to rent one with one of the companies. I tried on a previous trip about one week out with five different suppliers and they all had none available.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but hopefully that covers everything! Feel free to ask any further questions.
by GC3 rate this post as useful

pocket wifi 2011/1/17 12:13

I haven't rented the item you are looking for but I've rented phones from rentafonejapan and have had excellent service....
by Maranyc rate this post as useful

So the GPS works? 2011/2/23 11:28
So the iPhone GPS still works even when it's connected to a wifi but in airplane mode? It's not based on triangulating cellular signal?
by walllyg rate this post as useful

iphone gps 2011/2/23 11:44
So the iPhone GPS still works even when it's connected to a wifi but in airplane mode? It's not based on triangulating cellular signal?

No, the iphone has a gps system based on satellite fix. It doesn't need a cellular or wifi signal to get a fix, but it does need to have an internet connection to download maps or have the maps stored locally on your phone or your position won't be displayed on anything meaningful.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Rent pocket wifi in Japan 2012/2/15 12:11
The iphone actually uses cell triangulation, wifi trangulation and of course GPS triangulation.

If you rent the pocket wifi, as far as i know it could be missing out on the cell triangulation but not the GPS or wifi triangulation.

However, without knowing the internals, it would not suprise me if the iphone actually will still use the cell tower triangulation as well since it is still a cellular radio and is still capable of determining what towers are in range. It would then use the wifi for whatever internet access is required to make the process work.
by Murray (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Rent pocket wifi in Japan 2012/2/16 04:49
I traveled to Japan in December, and had originally planned on renting a pocket wifi device from Rentafone.

Everything was going smoothly until my flight to Narita was delayed, and I was unable to pick up the wifi device from the post office by 6:00 as originally planned.

The response from customer service was pretty good though, and I was able to get a partial refund for the rental.

Luckily a friend in Japan and 2 contracts with pocket wifi (her's and her brother's), and I was able to use that for the duration of my trip.

The device itself was good, excepting the battery problems already mentioned, but near the end of my trip, I was unable to access the wifi connection even when it was at full strength (my friend later told me this might have been a PIN lock-out).

I'm going to try using it again later this month, and hopefully I'll be able to borrow a friend's computer in the event of it happening again.

Anyone else have experience with a wifi device suddenly not work anymore?
by Christopher (guest) rate this post as useful

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