Mobile broadband refers to the wireless internet access using a mobile device or tablet. Mobile broadband traces its roots to 1991 when the second generation mobile technology came into place. It basically uses your phone's network data to connect to the internet using the data allowance package on your smartphone. The difference with smartphone connection is that with mobile broadband, you are restricted by contract to internet use only. You cannot text or call using this option. It works best for you in places where there are no WiFi connections, and you need to access the internet. The three ways of connecting to mobile broadband are as a personalised WiFi hot spot, as a dongle that can be plugged into your device or as a SIM card that is directly inserted into your device.
The technology used by the mobile networks dictates the speed of your mobile broadband. Some of these technologies include:
4G - this is the latest technology and also the fastest currently available in the UK. It is also known as LTE in the US and comes with a theoretical speed of up to 150 Mbps. Actual tests have however shown that the average speed achieved by a 4G broadband device is 14.7 Mbps. Some of the network providers will offer you double speeds for the 4G connections in certain areas. The 4G+ option is also available in certain areas. The possibility of 5G connection may soon be a reality.
b) HSPA+ - this is the equivalent of the 3.5G and comes in two modes, the HSPA+ and HSDPA. The HSPA+ is identified by the H+ symbol next to its signal bar whereas the HSDPA is identified by a H symbol next to its signal bar. The typical speeds are approximately 6 Mbps. It has greater coverage as compared to 4G and hence ideal to move around with.
c) 3G technology comes with a theoretical speed of 7.2 Mbps but tests have shown that it provides an average speed of 3 Mbps.
d) The EDGE and GPRS are 2G technologies. They are much slower compared to the above three but just slightly faster than a dial-up connection. These technologies are more common in remote and rural areas. They are mostly a fallback option for mobile connections.
Mobile broadband is great for anyone who needs to access internet while on the move. If you are always on the move with your laptop or tablet then this is your best choice for internet connection. With the aid of a dongle or personal hot spot, you are guaranteed to get the internet in most urban places within the UK. Business users who need to access the internet anytime and anywhere will also find this very helpful. You can access the internet at the airport while waiting for your flight or on the train while in transit. Light internet users who don't need to sign up for long-term internet plans may also choose this as their favourite internet connection method. The advantage with this is that you only connect when you require internet access. This means you can control your expenses.
If your home doesn't have a landline, then you can choose mobile broadband also. This option is a good choice if you aren't streaming videos or are not a heavy internet user. Most regular broadband deals will come with a phone rental service hence not ideal for light internet users. Students may also choose this for the internet connection since they can access the internet at home, during lectures or at their leisure time while at the pub or student union. You can also use it a backup to your regular broadband service. Sometimes disruption in the internet service by your provider can cause a lot of inconveniences. A backup plan will, therefore, be a great option.
There are numerous benefits that come with the use of a mobile broadband service
1) Ease of use - since mobile broadband doesn't require any physical infrastructure to get you connected, it may be an ideal choice for you. There is little or no setup involved and hence won't require you to hire the services of an engineer to setup. Once you get your dongle or modem, you are good to go. There is no setup fee involved and no need for wiring around your home.
2) Portable - unlike fixed broadband, you can move with your mobile broadband anywhere. This means you can access the internet anywhere. So if you are travelling or need to work from another office, you no longer have to worry about whether there is WiFi or not.
4) Cheap - for light internet use, mobile broadband will be a cheaper choice for you. As long you avoid heavy tasks like video streaming and downloads, you are can save costs.
5) It is flexible - if you need to access the internet for just a couple of days, then this will be a convenient option. You are also guaranteed to get internet access in 98 percent of homes.
1) Access - the internet speed you get with this device depends on several factors. One of the factors is the 4G connectivity in your area. The other factor is the number of devices connected at that particular time. Speeds will be greatly affected during peak hours.
2) Cost - compared to other broadband deals, this package is a more expensive option. If you need to download things or stream videos, then it will be very costly for you. If you have are a Netflix user or a heavy Skype user, then this may not be your best choice for internet connectivity. Mobile data is generally very expensive and therefore not a great option for heavy users.
3) Data caps - Mobile networks will offer data packages with a limit and there are not many packages with over 30GB currently. For light usage this is fine, but it's not ideal if you stream a lot. Any data used over this amount can cost a lot.
4) Drains battery - 4G technology drains the battery faster when compared to WiFi. This may be a drawback if you are using your laptop where there is no power.