3 ways to add broadband to your mobile devices | Computerworld
Smartphone users have become accustomed to having 3g/4g connectivity when away from a Wi-Fi network. however, if you’re using a tablet or laptop, it’s often a different story.
Not all mobile devices offer broadband access to mobile data networks as a built-in option. and when the option is available, not everyone is prepared to increase the purchase price to have those capabilities. According to Jeff Orr, Director of Consumer Research Group at Abi Research, “29% of multimedia tablets sold worldwide in 2011 had a 3G or 4G modem module.” that’s about 1.2 million, he adds.
That leaves many mobile device users searching for internet access when they’re not near a wi-fi hotspot. if you are one of these, you have three options:
- Use your smartphone as a broadband modem by connecting it to your device.
- Purchase an external USB mobile broadband adapter, along with a carrier service plan.
- purchase a wireless broadband hotspot device (along with a carrier service plan), which creates a small area of wi-fi service and allows multiple (typically up to four or five) devices to share the connection.
Each approach has its pros and cons. In general, you trade off simplicity with flexibility, the impact on your phone’s battery with longer run time, and the cost of using a higher volume service plan with multiple plans. Within each category, service availability and price are likely to greatly affect your decision.
connection with your smartphone
Tethering (sharing your smartphone’s broadband service with other devices) can be done using a phone-to-USB cable or wirelessly via Wi-Fi (or, for some devices, Bluetooth).
You can connect your phone to another device if your carrier allows it, your smartphone supports it, and you have a service plan that includes tethering. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon all offer tethering options as part of their smartphone data plans.
smartphone anchor apps
If you want to test the connection without changing your data plan, there are some connection apps.
android apps include clockworkmod tether, easy tether and pdanet. ios apps include tether me and miwi.
but be aware that your service provider may not approve the use of these applications, potentially exposing you to fines. Furthermore, iPhone users will first have to jailbreak their devices, something that Apple definitely does not approve of, and which can create other problems with your device.
If your current data plan doesn’t already include tethering, you’ll need to upgrade your plan; it will usually increase your bandwidth allocation as well. For example, AT&T offers at least 5GB of “tetherable” data for an additional $50/month, Sprint also offers 5GB for less than $29.99/month, T-Mobile’s least expensive plan that allows tethering is $84.99/month, and verizon wireless offers you 2gb for $20/month. if you exceed these amounts, at&t, sprint, and verizon charge $10 per gigabyte; t-mobile’s plan is “no overages,” speeding up speeds instead of charging more money.
pairing with a cable means you can only connect one device at a time. you can also connect using bluetooth; in that case, the number of devices varies; for example, you can connect one device via android and up to three on an iphone 4 (however, a bluetooth connection will probably be considerably slower than a wi-fi connection). Supports Wi-Fi hotspot tethering You can connect up to eight devices at once, although connection speed will likely suffer as multiple users are added.
- If there’s one device you’re likely to have with you, it’s your phone. You don’t need any additional devices, data cables or power/charging cables and adapters. (A wired connection can usually be made with the same USB cable you use to charge your phone.)
- uses the same data plan you have for your phone, though you may need to upgrade to that plan.
- the link can be especially helpful if you have multiple mobile devices and only occasionally wants to connect to the internet with each.
- Pairing can significantly reduce the battery life of your phone. You will always want to have your phone AC charger with you. and possibly a pocket battery.
- Your phone needs to stay close to whatever it’s connected to, which can be inconvenient if you need to take a call or move your phone away from the device it’s connected to.
- Some carrier/phone combos don’t allow you to use voice and data at the same time, which means making or receiving a call will disrupt your data activity.