When a broadband connection is obtained through mobile phone signal, it is referred to as mobile broadband. Here the quality of the broadband connection depends on the strength of the mobile phone signal. A mobile broadband can be accessed with a variety of gadgets like the mobile phone dongle, the data card and the mobile phone itself. Mobile dongles are generally USB with the option to plug and play after a small setup installation (only in the case of a user with older Windows version). These portable devices are also referred to as USB sticks or USB modems.
What makes it so Cool?
The mobile internet technology allows people to do everything that they usually do with the fixed line service. The difference is that they can be carried anywhere. As a user you are wireless all the time and can afford to carry them anywhere. Be it on a train, in a park or just by the side of a sea shore, you are always connected (subject to network strength).
By now, you would have clearly realized that mobile broadband is the right solution to those who have to do a lot of travelling, especially those that are involved in business that calls for emailing and browsing even while on the move. It is also the apt choice for students and other people who do not have a fixed residence. The dongle and its connection simply travels with you wherever you go. Ofcourse, you have the smartphones like the Blackberries that can do the job for you. But a laptop is a laptop and no mobile browsing can equal it.
There are number of pay-as-you go options for buying your mobile broadband plans. The best part of a mobile broadband is its lack of setup equipments. You can afford to have an old ASDL connection and yet simultaneously go for a mobile broadband connection. All you need to have is a USB port and a proper operating system on your computer. Any device running on the XP, Vista or a Windows 7 platform should do well with your mobile internet connector.
Another major advantage of having the mobile broadband is its ability to come into play when used outside UK too (provided the service provider has an agreement with the country). Though the prices of mobile broadband have come down recently in Europe, it is still an expensive option. However today in UK, the prices start from as low as £10 per month.
The Science of Mobile Broadband
A mobile broadband usually works on the 3G technology. This technology is supported by two complementary features - HSDPA and HSUPA. However in most of the cases, the promised speeds are available only in certain areas. In the future, one might see better access to such speeds. Along with dongles and data cards, 3G laptops are also becoming popular.
Mobile Broadband Providers
The below mentioned broadband service providers offer mobile broadband solutions.
- Orange Mobile Broadband
- T Mobile broadband
- Vodafone mobile broadband
- Virgin mobile broadband
- O2 mobile broadband
- 3 Mobile Broadband
Before buying a Mobile Broadband
The first ever decision you need to make before buying a mobile broadband is whether you need it. In other words,' is mobile broadband the one that best suits your needs?" - this is the question you should be asking yourself.
The next thing is the period factor. Decide on whether you want the service for a long-time use or for a brief period. Then comes the choice of selecting the right service provider. This is important as the provider you chose should have the best coverage in your area.
A lot of other things like purchasing a dongle only or a laptop deal and selecting a package that best support your download needs and the speed factor has to be considered. Again, things like freebies along with the connection and other extra deals that can be squeezed in are helpful.
Check out for user guides in selecting the best deals. This can help you in choosing the right package.
Customizing your Mobile Broadband Dongle
The demand for mobile broadband has seen an abundance of sales in dongles. As a user it is very important to make your own mark in your device to avoid confusions between your device and that of others. Just like in the case of mobile phones, there are skins that can be purchased for your dongles as well. These skins are available for different sizes of dongles and in a variety of colour and design choices.
Conditions against Mobile Broadband
Though mobile broadband is popular and is improving all the time, it is still a new-comer to the internet world. It will take time before this new technology becomes as fast, stable and reliable as a fixed-line connection. The next big disadvantage of a mobile broadband is the speed. Though speeds are advertised to be in the range of 3.6 to 7.2 Mbps, the actual speeds are close to 1-2Mbps. This speed might just be okay for average browsers and surfers but will suffer when it comes to heavy downloading, gaming and video streaming. Again the connection is always on the mercy of mobile signals. Users get limited download allowances and slower speeds than most of the fixed line plans. This is because of two main reasons:
- Data transfers across 3G are very expensive.
- When heavy downloading happens, the probability of lost connections and slow service in 3G mode are more than in the case of fixed-line services.
Cancelling Your Mobile Broadband Account
Each broadband service provider has its own set of terms and conditions. Hence do not forget to check them before you commit yourself. Some broadband operators offer 'a cooling off' period. In this case, you may return your dongle within two weeks of your purchase, if you are unhappy with the network or the level of service. Just in case your service provider does not offer the 'cooling off' period, you are covered by the UK's distance selling regulations (if you buy online) where you can return your product within seven working days in case the product does not meet up with your expectations.
Before buying a connection it is very important to take all the above mentioned factors into consideration. Be safe and make the right choice rather than crying over spilled milk.