Options for wireless Internet
Many users have thought about getting rid of their wired Internet options, whether it is fiber-optic cables or dSL, and going to solely 4G wireless Internet service options. In homes with a desktop, several laptops and several phones depending on a network, it is important to find services that can handle that load. Luckily, options are available that permit you to take advantage of a variety of services.
Going with completely wireless Internet is not just a pie in the sky dream like the jet pack or cars that drive themselves. All of the major cell phone service providers, along with some third party companies, sell gadgets that allow you to start down the totally wireless Internet path. Make sure that they fill your needs, though, before unhooking from that line that brings the Internet into your house.
USB antennas that you can hook into your laptop to get mobile wireless Internet web access have been available for a long time now, and in the latest years, these systems have upgraded to some swift 3G speeds, rivaling those on the lower end of the home wireless Internet service market. Most of them work pretty well, but the plans can cost you a lot of money for data. Also, since you can only get on one device at a time, antennas by themselves don’t represent a workable alternative to a home network, which permits more than one machine to get online at the same time.
One of the more popular features in recent wireless Internet introductions has been the mobile wireless hotspot. The notion is that a hotspot pulls in the wireless Internet signal and then passes it along to other devices. This can be just about everything, ranging from netbooks to laptops to smartphones to Blu-ray players to desktops to Netflix boxes to video game systems like the Xbos and PS3. Instead of limiting you to just running one device online at a time, this allows you to run five, or even eight, depending on the system, at one time, on the Internet at the same time. These hotspots come in several different varieties, such as portable units featuring rechargeable batteries or dedicated units for the home. It is a tempting option for people who want to avoid the expense or the inconvenience of having a home wireless Internet service, as well as at the office and a vacation home.
The other advance in the wireless Internet technology of this situation is that a lot of these hotspots are either 4G or a hybrid between 3G and 4G. In the real world, this means they can send data through from 3 to 6 mbps, and as quickly as 10 mbps. This matches the best that most standard providers of cable Internet and the more expensive dSL options have to offer, without the nuisance of wires. Some providers even sell you packages that offer a USB antenna and a mobile hotspot to boot, meaning that you don’t have to port that hotspot around with you. Instead, just plug that antenna in when you take your laptop for a spin. This gives you an option that is both convenient and useful.
It is worth noting that this wireless Internet technology does come with some potential drawbacks. The first is that the service depends on having a solid cellular signal. You might not live and travel in the same area as a signal, which means that a hotspot will not always work for you. However, if you live in a buys area, this is likely not a problem, but the data may be slower than you want. If you are one of those iPhone users who remembers struggling with AT&T’s 3G network, then you know how congestion can take a strong signal and make it extremely frustrating to use.
Another complaint has to do with the cost, which averages between $35 and $80 each month. This doesn’t sound that expensive in comparison to some home wireless Internet plans, particularly when you add in the convenience that a mobile hotspot gives you. There is some truth to this, but there is one problem that you may not have thought of. Not every provider of mobile hotspot service allows you unlimited data through their wireless Internet service. If your provider has a data cap, which is generally about five gigabytes, once you go over that cap, you can run into trouble with trigger fees or throttling. Trigger fees usually run about 10 cents per MB, which can add up. Throttling means that your provider gives your service a drastic slowing for a certain period of time.
Not having wireless Internet represents a major problem for Internet users in the 21st century. Look at the data cap to start. If you watch a 30-minute video through Netflix, you have just used about 85 MB. Hulu and YouTube videos in high-definition take a similar abmount of data. A single episode on iTunes TV takes about 250 MB, and a full-length feature film can take between 1.5 and 4 GB, or even more. Wall-E in high-definition, for example, takes up 7.5 GB all by itself. This will make a 5 GB data cap last a lot shorter than 30 days.
This brings the topic of throttling back service. Clear is one wireless Internet service that offers unlimited downloads of data. They also have a notion of what is a “reasonable” amount of data to use each month which, once again, totals about 5 GB per month. When you exceed that amount, an automated application slows your throughput significantly. They are still giving you an unlimited amount of data, but so slowly that it doesn’t really matter.
Some wireless Internet services do offer unlimited data plans without a cap or throttling programs, though. Sprint and Virgin Mobile USA were the first, and several others have followed their lead. This means that if you are going to use a mobile hotspot, you need to ask potential providers the right questions. You don’t want to pay trigger fees, and you definitely don’t want to put up with throttling when you do not have to. Informed consumers have the highest satisfaction levels.
Topic: wireless Internet