Compare Mobile Broadband and Wireless Internet Plans
Mobile broadband, or wireless internet, for many consumers, offers a great deal of freedom when it comes to using the web. Although most smartphones with a data plan are able to access the internet, if you have a laptop or a tablet that relies on a wireless internet connection, using the internet without a connection can be difficult. Tethering, likewise, isn't always the most efficient way to solve this problem. If you are constantly browsing the web on the go and need reliable internet access for every single device without a wireless internet connection, mobile broadband internet is the ideal choice. Compare mobile broadband and wireless internet plans below.
In the majority of cases, mobile broadband plans are offered by the same companies that provide talk, text, and data plans for cell phones. For those who already have a monthly data plan for their cell phones, it's possible to purchase a mobile hotspot or USB dongle. Typically, this adds some extra charges to your plan, and you will have to play around with your monthly data usage before you find the plan that's right for you, but generally speaking, such plans can be incredibly worthwhile. With pre-paid cellphone plans, on the other hand, it's often better to simply start a separate account, especially if your pre-paid cellphone plan already takes care of your needs and provides you with affordable service. In general, the best quality-hotspots and USB dongle typical start at about $100 to $200 dollars. However, most providers will give you one of these for free if you agree to a two year contract.
When ranking internet service, it's important to take the price into consideration, something that most online reviews ignore in their point by point analysis. Yet price will be, in almost every case, the most significant factor you are thinking about when making your decision. However, price isn't the most important thing to consider.
Unfortunately, it's rare for coverage providers to give an accurate representation of their coverage and speed. It's simply too easy for these companies to round up or over estimate their coverage, meaning that you often might be getting a less than optimal service, despite the promises you may have heard. You need to verify these claims with another party. Fortunately, Wirefly has a speed test that you can use for free. However, if you would like the most accurate assessment of coverage and speed, the best option in the industry is RootMetrics. Here, we have used RootMetrics for the RootScores in order to check out claims about network quality, regularity and reliability, and network speed. We've elided these results with various crowdsourced tests in order to give you the most accurate data possible.
To Tether or Not To Tether?
Modern smartphones have the capacity of acting as a mobile hotspot, letting users tether their devices together and link up to the internet. Laptops can create a miniature Wi-Fi network, allowing their users to create a miniature network where everyone can link their devices. This works from laptops, as well as tablets.
Although tethering works well in a pinch, it's an unreliable way to connect to the internet.
A smartphone lacks the ability to route network data in a timely and optimal fashion. A home router, by contrast, handles a plethora of connections at once, sorting these out and prioritizing them to keep things fast for everyone. A smartphone simply isn't capable of handling the flow of data in this manner.
If the smartphone rings while the user is connected to the internet, the incoming call can cut the connection. Many networks disallow users from making calls while connected to the network, which may be unacceptable in many cases. This means the user cannot browse the internet while on the phone, forcing them to choose between talking and browsing.
At the same time, as the smartphone continues to work to put out the internet connection, the battery will begin to drain. A mobile hotspot, by contrast, runs off its own battery, meaning that it will not drain the battery of your smartphone.
Some smartphone providers offer unlimited data. Such data rarely gets used up, meaning that the unlimited package is overkill. However, data charges will be much more extreme on a laptop or tablet. For one thing, they will be watching videos on a bigger screen, requiring more allocations.
For this reason, no cell phone provider actually offers unlimited broadband. Despite the promise of unlimited data, the data will be throttled, which means that speeds will become incredibly slow once the user hits their de facto limit. This prevents users from using this unlimited plan to power their laptop's internet consumption. Throttled speeds won't let the user download videos or stream.
Recommended Mobile Broadband Services
Look at the quality of whatever service plan you are interested in first. No matter how cheap something seems, you can end up with useless internet if you are not careful.
Verizon Wireless peddles mobile hotspots and promises strong network coverage, boasting to carry the most reliable network in the country. Although many complain about how incredibly expensive Verizon wireless is, compared to the features they offer, Verizon's plans are about equal to most of the other services out there. Unlike the much more affordable T-Mobile plan, Verizon lures customers with options, making them earn our grade for highest pricing. If you would like to have some extra features for some extra cash, we would recommend giving your money to Verizon. They offer you the most options by far, at an extra cost.
T-Mobile has a business model that captures a specific niche, focusing especially on affordability. They offer a 2GB plan for $20, which is half of the price of the Verizon plan. Increasing this to a 6GB plan costs only $35 for the upgrade, making it well worth it. Although Verizon claims to provide more service, T-Mobile counters with an affordable price. They let you plan your data out according to your needs. If you can work within these limits, T-Mobile is a great buy.
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