Wish there were more wireless access points? I did too. Today we will cover the various ways to get internet on the go and the pros and cons.
3G is a technology that’s finally come into its own place. While most people associate 3G with the ubiquitous iPhone, it’s the network technology that connects those and other devices to your carrier and internet. It’s also used by other devices to provide Internet on the go access.
The Breakdown of 3G
There are a few different options for getting Internet on the go. First and foremost, many smartphones, which you may already have, include tethering options.
Tethering is a technology that turns your smartphone into an ad-hoc wireless router. Once it’s up and running, you can connect to it with your laptop or other device and begin work.
3G routers now exist, into which you can simply plug in a SIM card with a valid plan. You may need to enter your ISP login details into the router setup menu, but after about 5 minutes of a step-by-step wizard, you’ll be up and running.
As an added bonus, these are much more reliable than 3G tethering, and can handle more simultaneously connected computers. Great for use at temporary job sites.
If you’ve made the leap to the cloud, your best option may be a Chromebook. Lightweight notebook-sized laptop computers, Chromebooks are designed to do one thing and do it well: internet browsing.
It doesn’t seem terribly impressive, and without cloud services it isn’t, but as more and more programs and services make the move to the digital realm, any device can become your workstation. The Chromebook’s prime selling point is the low price tag and it’s built in 3G connection.
Internet On The Go: The Pros and Cons of 3G
|The Pros||The Cons|
|Internet Everywhere: No need to worry about being able to connect to a wireless AP at the airport, or in a train station. You’ll be unstoppable with Internet on the go.||Reliability: The carrier you’re with counts. If you haven’t got cell service with your carrier, you haven’t got Internet.|
|Competitive Pricing: There’s a decent amount of competition, so it’s not going to break the bank unless you have Netflix.||Speed: It’s not going to be as fast as your broadband access point at home or work.|
|Options: You can pick how you want to connect to the Internet on the go; there’s a device for every situation.||Quota: Every major provider puts a quota on your data usage—even with ‘Unlimited’ plans, if you download too much you may wind up paying.|
Breakdown of Wireless Plan Quotas
If you’ve just acquired a 3G access point and you’re worried about your quota, worry less. So long as you don’t stream large videos from Netflix or download AutoCAD presentations, you aren’t going to be blowing through your quota.
Streaming audio and video: This will eat through your bandwidth at an incredible rate. Avoid Netflix at all costs. Consider just how funny that cat video on YouTube can be.
Downloads and presentations: This varies wildly. It can be anything from the 5MB for a PowerPoint presentation to a few hundred for AutoCAD.
Images: Your average compressed image works about to be about 1MB. Vacation photos that haven’t been resized are easily 5MB.
Flash plugins: If you do a lot of web browsing, you may want to download a flash blocker plugin for your browser. Imagine all the ads you see while browsing, those are flash based. [for firefox | for chrome]
Web Browsing: The styling data for webpages adds up over time, but will not have a meaningful impact on your data plan.
Text: Text is cheap. You could blow through the library of congress on an average data plan.
Remember while you are out and about and using the Internet on go, keep your data safe! For great tips read our blog post “Stay Safe On The Go”.