3 Best Ways to Access Mobile Broadband on your Laptop

For accessing the Internet on the move, a laptop provides a flexible solution with a great deal of usability. Perfect for catching up with work, watching films or downloading music, you can even chat to people with Skype or Voice-over IP technology, available with MiFi.

Choosing the best way to access mobile broadband is dependent on your usage, here’s a quick guide to making this important decision:

Best ways to access mobile broadband on your laptop

Best Ways to Access Mobile broadband on your Laptop


In most instances, mobile broadband is supplied to a laptop through a dongle, which fits into a USB port. Some notebooks do have built-in 3G modems, but not many – yet. Like mobile phones there are Pay as You Go and contracts available. Many contracts include a laptop for free, but check how long you’ll be tied in for – as long as 24 months in some cases.

If you use your laptop to download lots of music and films then Pay as You Go will be too expensive and you need to choose a contract deal that covers high, or unlimited, data usage. If you exceed limits, it’s likely to cost a lot of money, so keep an eye on this.


Most laptops have in-built WiFi connectivity and can access this for free in a wide variety of places. WiFi ‘hot spots’ include cafes, bars, university campuses and surprisingly Brighton beach. Even if you’re already receiving the Internet through your dongle, if WiFi’s available its best to switch to this as speeds may be better and it won’t eat up your Pay as You Go credit or the limits on your contract.


MiFi is a small and portable wireless device that gives users a permanent WiFi hotspot wherever they go. Normally WiFi is accessed using a fixed wireless router with a limited area. The MiFi device is small enough to fit in your pocket or bag, giving you your own personal wireless ‘cloud’. It’s not just you that can benefit either, the MiFi device allows several people to connect at once – great for surfing the net with friends or work colleagues.

The benefits of MiFi are that it’s a lot faster than usual mobile broadband – more like when you go online at home. And, with Voice-over IP technology, you can make free or very cheap calls, both locally and internationally.

The drawback of MiFi is the cost, it is much more expensive than a dongle and you will be charged for the amount of time you’re on the Internet for.

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March 9, 2011 by: Prasanth Chandra

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