I am enquiring about pocket wifi devices.
Are they suitable for multiple users in the home environment at the same time and if so would this activity affect the quality of the signal? What is the proximity of service from the device, i.e. device in sitting room to laptop in garage? What are the speeds and coverage areas like? I am at Robina, QLD. Will my cell phone being on a different network be able to access the wifi device? How pocket/portable are the devices? I am interested in both prepaid options and plan options. And anything else you think I should know.
Pocket Wi-Fi, also known as mobile wireless gateways, are small Wi-Fi modems designed to create a home wireless network from a 3G mobile broadband connection.
Mobile wireless gateways are useful for connecting more than one device to the internet at the same time. In areas where the 3G signal is weak, you can place the device in an area with the strongest reception, then move around freely with your laptop.
Mobile broadband is not as fast as ADSL or ADSL2+ broadband. When several users access the same connection, you share the speed. So if you are only receiving a speed of 1Mbps, sharing that connection will result in an even slower speed for every user. Slow speeds mean a long wait to load up a webpage, time outs and sudden disconnections.
The range will depend on the modem, so you will have to look up the specs on the particular model you are interested in. Virgin's Wi-Fi modem, as an example, has a range of 15 metres. Wi-Fi signals can go through walls but signal strength will weaken the further it has to go. The advantage of a portable modem is that you can take it out of the sitting room and use it wherever you like.
Pocket Wi-Fi modems are designed to be just that – small enough to go in your pocket, just about the same size as a USB stick. Not all mobile wireless gateways are the same size of course, and some will need their own power supply at the wall and look more like an ADSL modem.
Your cellphone will be able to access the signal if it is Wi-Fi compatible. This is the case for most smartphones, iPods, laptops etc.
The big problem with mobile broadband is the speed. Applications that require faster such as iView, YouTube, Skype, web pages with lots of graphics, VoIP and online radio require speeds of at least 1,500kbps to work well and mobile broadband users often struggle to access these sorts of speeds.
This is why it is important to call a few providers and find out which one offers the best coverage in your area, with a plan that suits your needs.
Try Optus on 1300 137 897, Virgin on 1300 106 571, Vodafone on 1300 433 823 and Three on 1300 433 823.
If you think you need faster speeds than these providers can offer, you should be looking at an ADSL or ADSL2+ connection instead.