A Quick and Easy Guide to Internet Dongles and Pocket Wi-Fi
Internet dongles and pocket Wi-Fi are not widely used or even known about. However, they were once a godsend for young people who travelled a lot and studied on the go. Today, they still make very useful sources of Internet for those who are on the move or for when your NBN [link to What is the NBN blog] connection needs a bit of help.
Lately, Internet dongles and pocket Wi-Fi modems have made a return to popularity thanks to cheaper mobile broadband and plans that include these devices at no extra cost.
What’s the Difference Between Internet Dongles and Pocket Wi-Fi?
An Internet dongle and pocket Wi-Fi modem are both small, transportable gadgets that can supply your device with a stable Internet connection. A dongle must be plugged into your computer in order to work. That’s because it uses the power from your computer to access the Internet. A pocket Wi-Fi modem, on the other hand, is battery-powered. In other words, it does not need an external power source in order to deliver an Internet connection.
How Does It Work?
The 4G Internet connection of both the dongle and pocket Wi-Fi 4G is derived from a mobile broadband SIM card. Many service providers, such as Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone, offer the dongle and pocket modem in a bundle deal along with the broadband plan [link to How to Choose an Internet Provider blog].
Depending on the mobile plan provider, there are prepaid and post-paid options available for your portable Internet device. These mobile broadband plans are largely indistinguishable in price and structure from the mobile broadband plan connected to the SIM card in your smartphone.
What are Other Portable Internet Alternatives?
Internet dongles and pocket Wi-Fi have, in many ways, been eclipsed by the use of the smartphone as a hotspotting device. Plenty of people who travel for work or leisure find it simplest to connect their laptop to the Internet via a pocket device they never forget to bring with them – their phone.
It perhaps makes more sense to upgrade the mobile broadband plan for your smartphone, to increase its 4G Internet capacities, than to purchase a second plan for another portable device.
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more and more prevalent too. Cafés, restaurants and even grocery stores often provide access to free Wi-Fi. However, these Internet connections typically can’t be relied upon for a strong connection, which means bringing your own Internet source is still a wise idea.
Should I Get an Internet Dongle or Pocket Wi-Fi device?
As a replacement for the Wi-Fi you use at home every day, dongles and pocket modems are not nearly as cost effective. The NBN remains the most reliable option for an at-home Internet connection that can manage significant Internet consumption from multiple devices at the cheapest price.
However, these portable devices make a useful substitute if you are experiencing temporary Wi-Fi connectivity issues. Furthermore, if there’s a room in your house that your current Wi-Fi connection can’t quite reach, supplementing the Wi-Fi with a pocket device could be a suitable solution.
Finally, for accessing the Internet on the move – the original purpose for these small pieces of technology – Internet dongles and pocket Wi-Fi modems remain a sound option.
If you need help deciding which provider or mobile broadband plan to choose for your Internet dongle or portable modem, the experts at Compare & Connect can do the comparing for you. With access to an extensive database, we can find the best plan suited to your needs in just minutes.