Mobile Wi-Fi: Create a network when reception is only in one area of your home

  • Set up a Pocket Wi-Fi zone with your mobile broadband connection
  • Avoid reception in only one room in the house
  • Compare prices for the Pocket Wi-Fi Modems

There are many reasons why people use Mobile Wireless broadband internet, as opposed to an ADSL connection through a telephone landline. If you travel, do not expect to live in one location for very long, or live in a group house where you’d rather have your own separate broadband connection, Mobile Wireless broadband is a great option.

Of course the other major reason for getting Mobile Wireless is when ADSL broadband isn’t available in your location. This can be because you live too far away from the phone exchange, have low quality copper wiring in the ground, or because of infrastructure problems like a pair gain, RIM, or sub-exchange on the line.

An issue people with Mobile Wireless broadband often have to contend with is when the internet signal only works in one section of the house. In the past this meant having to do all of one’s internet usage in one location, even if it was in the kitchen! However, with the advent of Pocket Wi-Fi (or Mobile Wi-Fi as it’s often referred to) you can now set up a Mobile Wireless portable Wi-Fi modem in the one room where reception is good, and create a network that covers most of your property.

Optus (1300 768 194) call it “Portable Wi-Fi”, and their modem is known as the “Mini Wi-Fi modem”. Vodafone call it “Pocket Wi-Fi”, as you can essentially carry a Wi-Fi network in your pocket. Virgin Mobile (1300 106 571) simply calls it a “Broadband Wi-Fi modem”, as all of its services are done via Mobile Wireless towers. Telstra BigPond has both its “Elite Mobile Wi-Fi” modem and its “Prepaid Mobile Broadband Hotspot” modem.

The way these modems work is they receive a signal from the mobile phone tower, and then emit a Wi-Fi signal in the vicinity where the modem is located. These modems have rechargeable batteries that last for 4-5 hours, or you can often plug them into an AC electrical outlet in the wall. What this means is you can provide broadband to your entire home, as long as the signal can be picked up in just one part of your house.

A single Mobile Wi-Fi modem can have from 3 to 5 wirelessly enabled computers, smartphones, laptops, notebooks, or tablet computers simultaneously connected to the single portable Wi-Fi network. Most of these Pocket Wi-Fi devices run at speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, while some like the Telstra Elite Mobile Wi-Fi can go as fast as 21Mbps. Your monthly data quota is defined by which plan you sign up to with your chosen broadband provider.

Generally speaking, the Wi-Fi network will extend at least 15 metres in all directions from the portable Wi-Fi modem, but this can vary between providers and modem types.

Coverage in itself is also going to be a major issue. There are three types of mobile phone towers in Australia: Telstra BigPond, Vodafone, and Optus. Most Mobile Wireless providers resell off of the Optus mobile phone network. Before signing up to a plan ensure coverage is at least “supposed” to be good in your area. Telstra BigPond has the best coverage with its NextG network, but it is much more expensive than the competition.

If you cannot get cable, ADSL, or ADSL2+ broadband internet to create a Wi-Fi network at home or in an office, a Mobile Wireless broadband Wi-Fi connection is the next best option. When the broadband signal only works in one part of your property, you can now be confident that a home Wi-Fi network is still a possibility. Place your Mobile Wi-Fi USB modem on the right spot and all will be well. You can also create a Wi-Fi network in an outdoor area if several people want to access the one connection in a backyard or park. Sound cool?