Everything you need to know about Mobile broadband
- It is not Wi-Fi broadband!
- Technology, data and coverage explained
- Recommended mobile broadband plans
Mobile broadband is not your average kind of broadband. It doesn’t use fixed cables like an ADSL connection, it is completely wireless. There are some definite pros and cons for using mobile broadband that every prospective buyer should know about.
Firstly, mobile broadband, sometimes called wireless broadband, is not Wi-Fi broadband! This is where most people get tripped up. If you want Wi-Fi around your house on a broadband plan that is high speed with lots of data allowance you want ADSL broadband with a Wi-Fi modem. Not wireless mobile broadband; this type of broadband is completely different.
Mobile broadband is most known for the unique modem device it requires; you need a USB stick, dongle, mini Wi-Fi or hotspot device to use mobile broadband. The device either plugs straight into your computer (through USB) or transmits the internet wirelessly to your computer (mini Wi-Fi or hotspot). The connection of the internet does not require any cables or fixed wires (hence the wireless broadband) and it uses mobile towers to access data (hence the mobile broadband). Think of this type of internet like the internet on your mobile phone, it operates the same way.
From this information it is easy to deduce the limitations of mobile broadband. Most people have experienced firsthand coverage fluctuations of mobile phone coverage, be it voice service or internet connections. Sometimes you will experience strong signals and sometimes that signal bar is infuriatingly low! The same can be experienced using mobile broadband.
Why does this happen? It is the direct result of the type of technology mobile broadband operates on. As already explained, mobile broadband uses mobile towers; this is as opposed to fixed hard wires and cables. Thinking about this logically; an internet connection that travels through the air using mobile signals will not be as reliable as an internet connection that travels directly through a cable, from telephone exchange straight to your house. The mobile broadband technology has more of a likelihood of encountering problems as the signal travels through air, buildings and walls to get to you. This is why some people describe connection as “patchy”.
Another feature of mobile broadband to be weary of is that you cannot get a plan with lots of data included. The technology simply cannot support the transfer of unlimited or heavy amounts of data. The biggest plans you can get are around 18GB-20GB, although you will find the majority of providers keep their plans around the 10GB mark.
Considering the limitations of mobile broadband a fair question to ask is: why would you bother getting it? Well for starters, although it is has been pointed out that connections are not as ideal as ADSL, mobile broadband connections are not horrible. They are usable, just not extremely consistent. If you are in a metropolitan area, where there is good mobile tower infrastructure and mobile phone reception is great, then using a mobile broadband plan should be no problem for you. Mobile broadband has further appealing aspects which are described below. If you fall into any of these categories is it definitely worth considering mobile broadband as your internet option.
The strongest feature of mobile broadband is the ability for it to be used anywhere; it is completely mobile. You are not limited to accessing the internet within your house as there are no fixed wires or cables attached to the modem. If you need to have access to the internet in places like public transport, parks or cafes having a mobile broadband plan is ideal.
A recommended plan for this type of user would be iPrimus Mobile Broadband 6GB for $39.99 per month – call 1300 137 794 for more information.
iPad and tablet users
If you have an iPad or tablet you generally take it with you outside of your house. Mobile broadband thus becomes useful as you are able to access the internet on your iPad wherever you are. Some iPads also allow you insert the mobile broadband SIM directly into the tablet.
A recommended plan for this type of user would be Optus SIM only 4GB for $30 per month – call 1300 137 794 for more information.
For low broadband users
Mobile broadband plans are useful for low internet users. The majority of ADSL broadband providers offer minimum plans around 10-20GB per month. For people who only use 1-5GB of data a full fixed line ADSL connection can be a waste of money.
If you are an extremely low user Optus offer 15GB of data that lasts for 365 days, to enquire about Optus prepaid you can contact them on 1300 137 897.
When ADSL is not available
ADSL broadband is not available to all homes in Australia. Particularly in regional areas, people often find they are too far from a telephone exchange to get a connection or live in an area where there is no access to ADSL broadband. In this case mobile broadband may be your only option if you want access to internet.
If you need a plan with lots of data Internode has an 18GB plan for $79.95 per month – call 1300 106 571 for more information.