There are lots of benefits and drawbacks of accessing the internet via a mobile connection and choosing a mobile broadband connection over a regular broadband connection comes down the individual user's requirements and lifestyle. I have put together a list of advantages and disadvantages to mobile broadband to allow you to discover if it would work for you and your family.
The most obvious benefit to access the Internet via a mobile connection is the portability of it. Mobile broadband uses a dongle to connect to the Internet, and many mobile or 4g broadband providers will supply these free of charge when you sign up to a package with them. These dongles will house a sim card which will have a mobile number associated with it to connect to a mobile network. When connecting to the dongle, it will usually require a power source to work, but in most cases, this can be a simple USB connection on your laptop. Once active you are able to connect to the dongle via a WiFI connection and this connection can be shared across multiple devices within range of it.
Many people like the idea of being able to be on the move and connect to the Internet simply rather than having a separate home broadband connection at home.
A lot of newer cars come with and inbuilt dongles that accept a sim card to access the Internet via a mobile connection. This comes in handy to passengers who need to use their laptops or mobile devices when traveling. It is also a great feature to have to be able to access certain car features on the move, such as being able to download music or movies for passengers on the go. If in car entertainment and features is something you can’t do without, then I’ seriously consider getting mobile broadband instead of home broadband.
The dongles that come with mobile broadband account make it easy to access the Internet. Just like a home route you can simply connect to the Internet via a Wifi connection or MiFi as it’s often known for mobile. You can take your dongle with you wherever you go, and as long as you have a power source or the dongle is charged then you can connect simply as long as you have mobile data coverage.
If you require a phone line installation into your home before getting a broadband connection, it may be worth considering a mobile broadband connection first. The cost of installing a phone line and getting it connected can cost up to £130 which is a big investment up front considering that a mobile internet connection can cost this for one year, depending on the package. This cost an often be a lot more if you live in a rural area. However, rural living can come with its problems for mobile coverage too.
Mobile broadband can be quite expensive if you are a power user. For example, a typical mobile broadband package may cost you £15 per month with a 20gb data cap, this example comes from Three mobile who are a big mobile broadband provider. When compared with an unlimited account landline broadband account from Plusnet which currently costs £18 per month, you could be better off with a home broadband package.
This obviously comes down to how often you use the internet and what sort of things you use your broadband connection for. If you find that you are only accessing the Internet to check mail and browse the web for half an hour a day, a 20gb cap could be fine for your needs. However, with the increased files sizes that are becoming more frequent to improved infrastructure and hardware, you could soon find yourself using up your data very fast.
As mentioned above most mobile packages will come with a low data cap due to the infrastructure costs associated with mobile networks. Mobile networks understand that users need data to access the Internet on the move and therefore they will charge for Gigabyte of data. This is commonplace as mobile networks realise that the most important thing for most users on mobile plans is data, so they charge for it. The data caps can be low and expensive so make sure you check what your data usage is before hand. There are plenty of tools that can help you assess this and most smartphones will allow you to see how much data you have used on specific apps over a certain period of time.
You can also check with your current broadband provider how much bandwidth you use over a month to see if you would benefit from having a cap and saving money. Again if you are a power user having a low cap would not be beneficial, you’re better off using a home broadband account.
Speed and an always-on connection is not something a mobile broadband package can guarantee as this will be dependent on your location at the time of access. If you primarily intend you use your mobile broadband connection at home and you know you can get a strong 4g signal then you can probably guarantee a strong, stable connection just like an ADSL or fibre broadband connection. If you are often on the move, however, you may find that some areas have no signal whatsoever and you will be struggling to download anything.
Choosing mobile broadband over a landline based broadband connection is an individual choice and comes down to your own needs. Sometimes it’s great even to have both depending on where you find yourself. Bear in mind that if you already have a mobile phone package with data, you can always access your mobile phone's data by access a portable hotspot that a lot of smartphones have these days.