Tips to Buy a Portable WiFi

Portable WiFi Routers are amazing. They are these small devices which can easily fit into your pocket or purse. Though small, these devices carry quick internet access, allowing you to stay connected no matter where you go. But these devices are not all the same. They differ in speed, cost, and reliability.

There are a lot of choices in the market now and without the right information, you might end up buying the wrong one. You might end up paying a lot of money for more than what you need. Or you might end up getting less than what you require then ending up with overages.

As 4G mobile technologies emerged and 3G data costs have significantly lowered, portable WiFi devices have become popular. They are no longer a luxury only for the professionals and the wealthy.

Nowadays, just about anyone can get such a device at a low cost, sometimes even for free! If you’re planning to get your own portable WiFi, then it’s helpful to know tips regarding what you should be looking for. Here are the tips to guide you.

Data Plans

The first thing to consider is the data plans which are offered by the provider of the internet service. There are lots of plans available, whether you prefer prepaid or postpaid ones. You can choose which data plan goes with the device you choose, so make sure to choose wisely.

Speed and Range

Browsing the internet is easy when the speed is good. So this is an important factor to consider. Before you buy your portable WiFi, ask about the speed that comes with it. Nowadays there are a lot of providers which come with increased WiFi speed. Aside from the speed, also ask about the range of the device. This is important so that you still have access even from a distance.

Compatibility

Before thinking about the compatibility, think about the service provider you will be using most frequently. Not all providers of internet service have coverage in all the areas. And not every portable WiFi is compatible with all service providers. So before buying, make sure to check if the device is compatible with your service provider, your SIM, and your USB data card.

3G and 4G Support

These days 3G and 4G are gaining momentum. To be able to enjoy optimum internet access and speed, ensure that the device you will be buying supports 3G and 4G data cards.

Locked or Unlocked Device

Another important factor to consider. Some devices come locked to just one service provider while some are unlocked. Typically the cheaper devices are locked so you won’t be able to use them when changing service providers.

If you are investing your hard earned money into a portable WiFi, then it’s a lot better to go with one which is unlocked. In doing this, you can then change service providers whenever you’d like to.

How Many Devices can Connect

Another useful factor to think about is how many devices can connect to the portable WiFi at a time. Usually, these kinds of devices allow up to 5 connections, which is very reasonable considering that it’s portable.

However, if you need more devices to connect, ask about it before buying. In cases where you have a big household with a lot of users or you’re planning to use it in the office, then you will need a device which will allow more connections.

Fast Start

The boot up time of the device is also important. Typically these kinds of devices can boot up in a few minutes to as little as a few seconds. There are also devices which can help you gain access to the internet quickly without having to install any software or drivers.

Available WiFi Apps

Some portable WiFi devices come with apps to support your data connection and management. This is a helpful feature which you can ask about before making a choice.

Dual Purpose

There’s something very pleasant in a device which serves more than one purpose. Some devices not only provide you with internet access but can also serve as a power bank for your mobile phones or gadgets. These kinds of devices are very useful as you don’t have to carry around a separate power bank just for charging. It’s also very convenient as you will be able to charge your devices easily while traveling.

USB 2.0 Port

When the portable WiFi comes with USB 2.0 ports, this is very beneficial. It will allow you to use the device to hold USB pen drives or any other kind of USB devices for storage. This will allow you to share files with the computer it is connected to.

Back-Up Battery

A portable is handy and convenient only if it has a good battery back-up. This is especially useful if you travel a lot and you rely on your WiFi frequently. When traveling, you might not have access to charging stations, so you will need a reliable device. If the battery on your device runs out easily or doesn’t last very long, you won’t be able to get the most out of it.

Size of the Device

Of course, another important factor to consider when getting such a device is the size of the device. Anything bigger than what fits into your pocket or purse isn’t very portable. So if a small device comes with all these other factors, then it’s a great choice for a portable WiFi.

Conclusion

The emergence of convenient technological devices, such as the portable WiFi makes all our lives a lot easier. Professionals and ordinary citizens are able to communicate openly and frequently through them.

A portable WiFi is a great device for you to be able to gain access to the internet no matter where you are and no matter what time you need it. Being able to take such a device along with you even if you travel, is extremely handy. And now that you have learned some great tips when buying a portable WiFi, all that’s left to do is make a choice!

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Hi Linda!

    That portable WIFI idea sounds awesome, you don’t have to waste your monthly data plan and you can get better signal, cool!

    What about the security? Is it safe to connect anywhere without being hacked?

    Thanks for the review! I didn’t know about this. I guess I was stuck with classic wired routers… 😉

    1. They are awesome Israel. Most of them can convert public WiFi into secure WiFi, which makes it pretty secure. Of course nothing is 100% failsafe, but this method gets pretty darn close.

  2. Hey Linda,

    This is the first time I heard about protable wifis and they sound awesome! Since I work online, it’s crucial to me to be connected to the internet and these seems like the solution for me when I’m on the move! Do you have recommendations on the specific models?

    Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Anh

  3. Hi Linda,

    I read your post and was intrigued by this product. I did not know you could actually go out and buy your own device to have your own separate WiFi signal. I’d feel a lot better about connecting to Public WiFi’s as I always concerned about MITM (Man In The Middle) software attacks where your data is intercepted between point A and B.

    I like that it is small and many different price ranges, but, as I looked for prices, I realized there was none on the page. Do you think you could make those available on this post in the future should I decide to buy one, furthermore, which one is your favorite and why.

    Thank you kindly Linda, you really have opened my eyes to a technology I did not even know existed!

    Regards,

    Philip.

    1. Thanks Philip, there are prices on my site, but you have to look a little deeper. To make sure pricing is always accurate, it is imported from Amazon directly. To view that, you need to hover over the router and there will be a pop-up with the most up to date pricing. Check out this post for my reviews of the best routers. If you want a larger selection you can get that here.

      My personal favorite it the Huawei E5770s-320 as it is small, looks nice, has the functionality of a power bank and has a LAN and SIM option. Also, it’s easily available where I live.

  4. Linda,
    Thank you for the informational post! We appreciate how thorough you are. We did not know several things you mentioned, such as dual function and the available Wifi apps. We were not aware that they make wifis with charging ports. Also will look for those handy apps to help control data.
    Definitely a post that we can bookmark and save for reference later.
    Thank you!

    1. Cool, glad you liked it! The routers also being a power bank is the ultimate feat. Massive plus for the light traveller.

  5. I am not sure where I’ve been, but I had no idea that there were travel routers! I also could not believe how inexpensive they are. There’s a great selection with some popular brand names so I plan to read through the different brands again before I make a final purchase. I love the different characteristics of the different brands.

    1. I had no clue either until I saw a friend of mine with it. And started looking into it after that. The price range is pretty good too, so there is something for every budget.

  6. Thank you for creating this article! I’ve heard of portable WiFi routers before, but I never really knew much about them and especially the best things to consider when purchasing one. I would like to get one in the future and I will definitely consider all those tips before purchasing one. Which place do you recommend purchasing a portable WiFi router, Amazon, Best Buy or somewhere else that has the best prices?

    1. You are welcome Brian! Where to buy is totally up to you, what you feel comfortable with. I order pretty much everything online because it’s so convenient for me. But some people prefer going into the show and actually seeing it and speaking to a sales person.

      Pricing is a very important point of consideration. My experience is, is that Amazon’s rates are mostly the same as in the shops or sometimes even lower.

  7. Thank you so much for helping us with really useful tips to buy a Portable WiFi. It all goes to show how fast paced this world of technology is.
    I wonder what new device is coming next after this.
    I am interested in the portable WiFi because it easily portable and convenient to use at home and away.
    Do you know if its available in the UK outlets and how much it costs?

    1. I’m sure they are available in the UK, but not sure in which shops as I don’t live in the UK. I imagine prices will be much the same to the prices quoted on Amazon.

  8. Hi Linda. That was interesting to know that there is a mobile wifi routers. Didn’t even know that it has compatibility with your network provider. Thanks for the post. So you mean if I have one of this, I will not be struggling on those slow internet access spots when I travel?

    1. If you have a router that works with a SIM card and your own coverage is good, then you no longer have to struggle with slow public WiFi.

  9. Hi Linda,

    I was really intrigued with your article. What a wonderful solution to limited internet access. Here in Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, many tourist struggle with internet. Especially if they are wanting to share their awesome photos of the Vic Falls with family and friends back home. There is free Wi-Fi at some coffee shops and hotels, but you do have to make a purchase like a coffee or something to use it which is fair I guess. At other places you pay a fee for data usage. For those who are traveling on a budget – this would be an excellent alternative. Is there one that you would recommend for this kind of traveller?

    1. I would always recommend a MiFi-router, not just a travel repeater. Any router that works on a sim card will do, basically. But want you need to look at is the speeds. The more budget the router is, the lower the speed will be. 

      Essentially, it really depends on your usage. If you only want to be connected and use whatsapp, messenger or mail, you don’t need high speeds. For sending images or videos however, you do.

  10. This is good information. I travel every year from New Hampshire to Florida and back, and we stay in hotels and motels along the way. Some have intermittent wifi,and none of it seems secure. This is a great solution. I am involved in local issues that are very time-sensitive for the term of our annual travel. Thank you for this information.

    1. You’re welcome! It’s so great to be able to stay connected if you need to. But don’t forget to enjoy your time off.

  11. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for the reply! I see what you mean about the speeds. I saw you have done two reviews on mini routers. Lovely, I will definitely make a note of them.

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