Mobile Broadband - The Beginners Guide - Tech Spartan

Mobile Broadband – The Beginners Guide

October 24th, 2014

Mobile broadband is no longer new, yet many of us are still curious about how the whole process works and what it is. This guide will help you understand that mobile Internet technology helps you connect through broadband data signals versus a fixed-line telephone or ASDL connection.

Since you are not attached to a line, you get to move wherever you want as long as you have a signal and be on the Internet. You can take public transportation; enjoy getting away on a holiday or going down to the local coffee shop. You are able to send emails, stream TV clips, download files, and visit websites all while on the go.

Mobile broadband uses one of two devices: USB modem Wi-Fi device. With the USB modem you have a dongle which is often like a USB memory stick in size and looks. The Wi-Fi device or Mi-Fi unit is a small, multiple modem that allows more than one mobile device to connect to the Internet. Everything uses the same signal, so that everyone can connect. Your laptop can also be used to get online if it has a data card or built in Wi-Fi device, which most laptops and tablets have today. As long as you have a signal you can connect to the web via your Mobile broadband provider.

As you examine different packages it is important to use the comparison tables. If you are ready to compare you can do so now or you can read on to learn more about Mobile Internet.

Who is Mobile Internet For?

Anyone can find mobile Internet helpful, but it is particularly designed for individuals who are on the go travelling, commuting, or those who use less data. For business people it is often easier to use a laptop rather than a Smartphone or Blackberry with its small screen and Qwerty pads.

Mobile broadband for those who are subscribers, but do not have a fixed residence is also popular. Students who need to go home, to the library, lectures, or their temporary homes find mobile Internet most helpful.

With PAYG options students and all users do not need to have a contract that might sign their life away. With Mi-Fi it can even be a communal option!

Even if you do not belong to a mobile broadband service yet, you can take your laptop or any mobile device outfitted with a data card to a Wi-Fi hotspot. These hotspots are public and often free so you can access a slow connection, which is also shared. Typically you or the company will have a wireless router that makes the connection.

Airports, cafés, hotels, and stations often have Wi-Fi hotspots for free or a small one-time fee. You do want to be aware that you are using a public connection, which means you want to have extra precautions with surfing the net safely. There are going to be risks with shared connections, just as there are with your own personal dongle. You can always switch from your paid service to free Wi-Fi whenever you want and have service, as long as you are in a free service area.

Is my Current Equipment Going to Work with Mobile Broadband?

If you have a laptop, PC with data card, tablet or you have a dongle or Mi-Fi unit then the dongle will be compatible with your device and get you hooked up to mobile Internet. This is providing the device is more recent in age.

You can buy a laptop set up for built-in mobile broadband, which makes it ready to access the Internet as soon as it is taken out of the box. Dongles are also getting better and better as they are ‘plug and play’ meaning you plug it into the USB port and instructions walk you through the setup. Mi-Fi is easier because they are wireless.

You definitely want to check your OS (operating system) before you purchase a dongle to ensure it is compatible. An old Mac or Linux may have issues unless you have Vista or a more recent Windows operating system.

Will It Work Abroad?

Internet tariffs from certain companies might have a block on them to keep you in the UK. This is often seen with PAYG deals because of the costs associated with overseas use. If you have a contract it is easier to use your mobile device abroad; however, prices can be quite expensive depending on where you go. Europe has at least capped their prices. So you may want to find mobile broadband abroad, see our guide for further details.

Variables To Consider

Tech Spartan is on hand to help you with mobile broadband deals. As with Smartphones you need to decide which provider is right for you. There are several aspects to consider such as whether they have good coverage, how you connect, download capacity, and more. You also want to consider 3G or 4G for speed, including any extras that might be offered to you.

If you wish to look at the areas check out our mobile broadband comparison guide that walks you through step by step to find the proper deal for you.

The Downsides

Two downsides might create an issue for users: usage allowances and stability/coverage.

Mobile broadband is behind in terms of home broadband. The technology is improving, but it has not yet become as great as home broadband systems. You will not want mobile broadband if you need a guaranteed fast and stable connection. Instead, you would get more from a fixed line. Mobile broadband is certainly a great back-up for when you want to walk around.

Speed has been under the gun for several years due to misconceptions. 3G is advertising 7.2 megabytes per second, but this is up to meaning that sometimes you might have that much speed, but on average you will find 2 to 3 megabytes per second. Web surfing and emailing is best on these slower speeds, so you might struggle with the larger downloads, music and video streaming.

Now with 4G spreading throughout the UK speeds are starting to get higher. For those with 4G options it is possible to get 20MB. Given that it is still new the faster speeds, coverage, and stability can be small issues. By 2015, you should have 4G throughout the UK, but for now it is restricted to the bigger cities. When the time comes you will want to upgrade your devices or Mi-Fi unit.

Can I Stop My Account?

You definitely want to check your contract regarding terms and conditions before you sign the contract to check and see the fee for ending your account. Some broadband operators have a two week period that you can cancel in, but if you are no longer in this period and you are not happy you might have pay a fee. During the two weeks as long as you take the dongle back you can get out of the contract.

If your provider does not offer the “cooling off” period then just remember that you can buy online and be covered under the UK distance selling regulations. You have 7 days to return the product under these regulations.

For those worried about the contract then consider a PAYG option to avoid the commitment of a lengthy contract.

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