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How to Get WiFi Wherever You Are
Internet & Mobile Security Blog | MATE | 15 August 2023
Ever wondered how to get WiFi when you’re far from home? Whether you’re travelling, on a business trip, or simply on the move, staying connected to the internet is crucial in today’s digital world. In this guide, we get you up to speed on some of the various portable internet solutions and give you practical advice on how to get internet wherever you roam.
Also known as mobile WiFi, a mobile hotspot is one of the easiest ways to secure an internet connection when on the go. This ingenious feature acts like a mobile broadband beacon, creating a portable WiFi hotspot from your very own mobile phone. It allows you to utilise your smartphone’s mobile internet connection to provide access to other devices such as laptops, tablets, and even other smartphones. In this sense, you’re able to transform your mobile device into a portable internet hub.
How to use mobile hotspotting on Android and Apple devices
In situations where you need internet access in remote locations, turning on the mobile hotspot feature on your devices can be a game-changer. Luckily, the activation process for this feature is fairly simple and straightforward. Here are step-by-step instructions for setting up a mobile hotspot on both Android and Apple devices:
Android device hotspot setup:
- Navigate to your device’s ‘Settings’ menu and select the ‘Network & internet’/‘Connections’ option.
- From the subsequent options, tap on ’Mobile Hotspot & Tethering’, followed by ‘Wi-Fi hotspot’/‘Mobile Hotspot’.
- You now have the freedom to modify the network name and password to your liking, ensuring a secure, personalised internet connection.
- Lastly, slide the switch to power on the hotspot. You’ve now turned your Android device into a portable WiFi hotspot!
Apple Device Hotspot Setup:
- Begin by heading to ‘Settings’ and selecting the ‘Personal Hotspot’ option.
- Flip the switch on to activate your hotspot.
- To connect other devices to your hotspot, select it from the WiFi settings on the device you wish to connect.
For those wondering how to connect to WiFi when away from home, public WiFi networks offer another convenient solution. These wireless networks are typically free of charge and are readily available in various public spaces such as coffee shops, libraries, and airports. However, it’s vital to note that using public WiFi also comes with a certain level of risk, primarily centered around data security and privacy.
Public WiFi safety tips
While public WiFi offers convenience and broad availability, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential cybersecurity risks associated with its use. To help you enjoy a safe internet experience when utilising public WiFi networks, try following these strategies:
- Avoid accessing sensitive or personal information, such as online banking portals or entering credit card details while connected to a public WiFi network. These networks may not have the security levels necessary to keep this information safe from cyber threats.
- Ensure your device’s software, including your antivirus software, is regularly updated. These updates often include security patches and upgrades that can help protect your device from potential threats.
- Disable the ‘automatic connection’ feature to WiFi networks on your device. This prevents your device from automatically connecting to potentially insecure public WiFi networks.
Even with these precautions, it’s best to avoid conducting sensitive transactions over public WiFi. Activities such as online banking, shopping, and even checking email can potentially expose your passwords or credit card details. If possible, save these tasks until you’re on a secure home, office, or mobile connection.
For those who prefer a personal and highly secure form of portable internet, a WiFi dongle (also called an internet dongle) might be the ideal solution. This small yet powerful device gets connected to your laptop’s USB or Ethernet port, facilitating an internet connection via a dedicated mobile broadband plan. This makes it a particularly attractive option for those in areas with limited or no landline access wondering ‘how to get internet without a phone line’, since a WiFi dongle doesn’t require a fixed phone line to operate.
When it comes to benefits, one of the key selling points of a WiFi dongle is its compact size, which allows you to carry it in your pocket or bag easily. Its portability ensures that you have internet access wherever your day takes you, proving itself to be an indispensable tool for frequent travellers, remote workers, and digital nomads.
With a WiFi dongle, you can enjoy an uninterrupted, secure, and private internet connection wherever you have access to a mobile network. It also provides flexibility in terms of data plans, as you can select the ideal broadband plan that best suits your data needs.
Another remarkable solution in the realm of mobile WiFi technology is the pocket WiFi modem. These innovative devices offer a blend of convenience, security, and reliability that make them an attractive option for those seeking WiFi on the go.
Operating on a similar principle to mobile hotspots, pocket WiFi modems enable multiple devices to connect to the internet via one central hub. The difference lies in the fact that pocket WiFi modems are standalone devices with their own power source rather than relying on a smartphone’s battery and data plan.
With a pocket WiFi modem, you can generate your own private WiFi hotspot. This means that instead of relying on potentially insecure public WiFi networks or draining your phone battery with a mobile hotspot, you can carry around a dedicated device that provides a reliable and secure internet connection.
Whether you’re travelling, working in a remote location, or prefer having your own private network, a pocket WiFi modem offers an excellent solution. The ability to connect multiple devices—from laptops and tablets to smartphones—ensures that you and your devices are always connected, making pocket WiFi modems a preferred choice for families, work teams, and groups of friends travelling together.
Home wireless broadband
The concept of home wireless broadband is one that brings the convenience of high-speed internet directly into your home without the necessity of a phone line or physical cable. This technology facilitates remote internet connectivity by employing a modem that connects to the internet via a mobile network or, in some cases, a satellite connection. This solution offers an excellent alternative for those in search of a home internet connection that not only provides a simple setup process but also boasts flexibility in terms of usage and location.
Unlike traditional broadband that requires a fixed line connection, home wireless broadband operates over a mobile network. This method means that you can potentially set up your home internet connection wherever there’s a signal from your internet service provider, which can be an advantage for those living in rural areas or properties where physical line installation might be too difficult.
The function of home wireless broadband is predominantly executed via either a 4G or 5G mobile network, connecting an internet service to a wireless modem or router. This does not necessitate a fixed line in the wall, allowing the setup to be placed in any location in your home where a power outlet exists. However, it’s worth noting that the speeds may not be as reliable as those offered by nbn fixed line connections, making home wireless broadband a potentially less ideal choice for activities such as live streaming, online gaming, or running bandwidth-intensive applications.
Planning on travelling overseas? In our increasingly connected world, staying in touch while abroad is more important than ever. This is where the concept of global roaming comes into play. Global roaming is a service that allows your device to automatically connect to the internet, even when you find yourself out of your home network’s coverage area.
Imagine being able to stream your favourite music while lounging on a beach in Bali, check your emails at a café in Paris, or video call your family from the snowy mountains of Canada. With global roaming, these scenarios are not only possible but straightforward and convenient.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the concept of global roaming to understand how it really works. Essentially, when you travel internationally and use your mobile device to make calls, send messages, or access the internet, you’re ‘roaming’ on a network owned by a different service provider based in the country you’re visiting. This is made possible through agreements between your home service provider and foreign networks. As you move from one country to another, your device will automatically switch to a local network that has a roaming agreement with your home provider. This seamless transition enables you to stay connected with ease.
Get global roaming with MATE
We’re excited to inform you that MATE is gearing up to launch its own global roaming services, made possible through our partnership with Telstra’s network. This new offering ensures that you can stay connected with friends, family, and work, no matter where your travels take you. Plus, with Telstra offering extensive global coverage in over 70 countries, MATE customers can expect to enjoy seamless connectivity in most parts of the world. This may include popular travel destinations such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, along with many others. With MATE and global roaming, you can enjoy your adventures without worrying about losing touch.
Navigating the digital world has never been smoother, with a wealth of options available to keep you connected at all times. Whether you’re leveraging the convenience of a mobile hotspot, securing your connection with a WiFi dongle, or harnessing the power of global roaming services, it’s clear that connectivity has been redefined for the modern era.
Every option has its unique strengths aimed at catering to the diverse needs of Aussies on the go. The key lies in understanding your specific requirements and aligning them with the right technology for optimal results. Find the right solution for you and start enjoying the freedom and flexibility that comes with seamless, uninterrupted connectivity.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between a WiFi dongle and portable WiFi?
While both the WiFi dongle and portable WiFi serve the purpose of providing internet access on the go, they differ in their functionality and usage. A WiFi dongle plugs directly into the USB or Ethernet port of a single device, such as a laptop, to provide internet access via a mobile network. On the other hand, a portable WiFi device, also known as pocket WiFi, creates a private WiFi hotspot that allows multiple devices to connect to the internet simultaneously.
Which is better—a WiFi dongle or portable WiFi?
The choice between a WiFi dongle and portable WiFi depends largely on your specific needs. If you need a connection for a single device and prefer a secure, personal connection, a WiFi dongle would be a suitable choice. However, if you want to share your internet connection among multiple devices, such as your smartphone, laptop, and tablet, portable WiFi would be the better option.
How secure are mobile hotspots?
Mobile hotspots are generally secure, especially if you set them up with a strong password. However, they are not immune to cyber threats.
How much data does hotspotting use?
The amount of data used during hotspotting depends on the activities performed. For instance, streaming video or playing online games will consume more data compared to browsing the web or checking emails. Typically, the data consumption of a hotspot can range from about 60MB per hour to as much as 810MB per hour, depending on the nature of the activity being performed. Keep track of your data usage to avoid exceeding your plan’s limit.
Can I use global roaming in any country?
The availability of global roaming depends on the specific agreement your service provider has with the network operators in the country you’re visiting. Some service providers offer global roaming as part of their mobile plans, allowing you to use your phone overseas for an additional charge.
How does home wireless broadband work?
Home wireless broadband provides an internet connection to your home via a wireless network, bypassing the need for a traditional phone line or cable. A router equipped with a SIM card receives data over a mobile network and then transmits this as a WiFi signal within your home.
Can I use a WiFi dongle with any service provider?
Most WiFi dongles are locked to a specific service provider when you purchase them. However, some dongles are unlocked, which means you can use them with a SIM card from any service provider.
How fast are mobile hotspots?
While the speed of mobile hotspots can be subject to factors such as network coverage and congestion, it’s also essential to consider the inherent limitations of the technology itself. On average, 4G mobile hotspot tethering can provide speeds of approximately 30–40Mbps. If you have access to a 5G network, this could increase to speeds of up to 50Mbps.
This is quite comparable to the average speeds seen on the NBN Standard plan, also known as NBN 50, which typically delivers around 50MBps.
Also, it’s crucial to note that these mentioned mobile hotspot speeds are calculated before considering any data caps. For instance, once you exceed a general threshold, let’s say 30GB of data, your speed could dramatically reduce to 2MBps.
In essence, a browsing speed in the range of 30–40Mbps can be sufficient for an individual to browse, stream, upload, and download files, and it might even serve a small household with modest internet usage adequately. However, for households requiring simultaneous and intensive internet usage, mobile hotspotting might not be the quickest or best option, and other solutions such as a pocket wifi could prove more effective.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of using mobile hotspots?
Mobile hotspots offer several notable advantages. First, they provide a portable and flexible solution to internet access, allowing you to stay connected virtually anywhere you go. They’re particularly useful for travelling domestically, ensuring you’re not reliant on the potentially insecure or unreliable WiFi in hotels or cafes. Additionally, mobile hotspots can support multiple devices at once, making them ideal for work or family trips.
However, mobile hotspots also have certain disadvantages. The most significant of these is that the internet speed and reliability largely depend on your mobile network’s coverage. If you’re in an area with poor or no service, your hotspot will not be able to provide a strong internet connection.
Furthermore, using your mobile data for a hotspot can quickly consume your data allowance, and it could lead to throttled speed if you exceed your plan’s limits.
Lastly, while the connection is generally secure, it’s still susceptible to security threats, so it’s best to avoid sensitive activities like online banking when using a mobile hotspot.
What’s the range of a pocket WiFi device?
The range of a pocket WiFi device typically spans about 10–15 meters. However, this can be influenced by factors like the presence of walls or other obstructions.
Can I use my phone while it’s acting as a mobile hotspot?
Yes, you can still use your phone for calling, texting, and using apps while it’s acting as a mobile hotspot. However, keep in mind that these activities might consume more of your data allowance and battery power.