How To Keep Your Pc Connected On The Road
Weird cranberry sauce recipes, rambling stories from drunken uncles, and crowded freeways arent the only perils of traveling away from home for the Thanksgiving holiday. Finding a working Wi-Fi connection can be a pain even in these widely web-enabled times, and that holds true even if youre walking around a major metropolitan area.
Indeed, you cant even be sure your relatives will have a wireless router.
So whats a poor, laptop-lugging traveler to do? Fear not: You dont have to wander the streets searching for a signal like a nomad seeking the next oasis in a desert. In this story, well cover everything you need to know about jumping online while traveling, whether that means paying a cellular provider for a Wi-Fi connection in your pocket, or searching for that next Wi-Fi hotspot on the road.
Travelwifi 4g Pocket Sized Travel Wi
Initially released in 2017, and revamped in 2019, the new generation 4G portable travel Wi-Fi hotspot, affectionately called Teppy, has been helping me stay connected to the Internet while travelling around the world. Its just like your Internet router at home, but smaller, lighter and wireless.
The premise is simple: this hand-sized hotspot allows up to 5 devices to securely share an Internet connection using fast local 4G networks. Just turn it on and thats it. Best of all it works in over 100 countries around the world.
Ive been regularly using the previous generation Tep Wireless/Travelwifi hotspot since 2015 and I cant count the number of times its saved the day. And the new 4G Wi-Fi hotspot is even better.
Best Thing About A Pocket Wifi
The main reasson why people want to get Wifi on the road instead of buying a local sim card is to NOT change phone numbers. AND I AGREE! That is for sure the number 1 advantage of a portable WiFi device over a local sim card. Changing phone number in every country can be a hassle and that is where a pocket WiFi is a winner!
Another big advantage of having a portable WiFi device is that you can connect up to 5 devices at the same time. So in case you are traveling with children I can definitely recommend using a portable WiFi device as they can all connect at the same time. Laptop, phone, tablet, no problem.
ALSO ON TRAVELTOMTOM
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Just Use Wifi For Internet Access
If all the above sounds like a lot of work, and you donât think you really need to be online every minute of the day, then our suggestion would be just to use free WiFi networks as you go.
In many countries around the world you can find free WiFi all over the place. In the UK for example, most restaurants, bars, museums and many public spaces as well as public transport operators offer easy, hassle free connections.
The same can be said for the US and much of Europe. Reliable locations to find WiFi include McDonalds, Starbucks, and many others. Your hotel or lodging will nearly always include free WiFi as well â thankfully weâre almost past the days when hotels feel they can charge for WiFi access.
You might also want to consider investing in a wireless range extender, also known as a travel router. This is a small device that can boost a weak wireless signal, allowing you to connect your devices from further away to something like a hotel or coffee shop that you might not have been able to previously connect to.
Weve done a round up of the best travel routers to give you an idea of what these devices do and how they work. Our current suggestion is the this TP-Link Travel Router, which is well reviewed and very cost effective.
A travel router can also be used at home, but if you are trying to improve your home WiFi, check out our guide to the best home WiFi routers as well.
The Best Ways To Get In
by Elmer Montejo on March 08, 2016in , , , , ::
The Internet instantly gratifies your need to stay in touch. People today demand connectivity wherever we go, at home, at the office, in bars and restaurants, at the mall, on airplanes and especially in the car.
If your car supports it, the best solution is to use the Internet connectivity and Wi-Fi built into your car, since it gets the better reception than other mobile connectivity solutions. More and more car makers, such as Chevrolet and Audi, are designing cars with Wi-Fi hotspot capability. But even if your car doesnt have Wi-Fi built-in, it’s easy to bring connectivity to your car.
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How Can I Add A Wi
Built-in Wi-Fi is convenient, but it probably doesnt warrant buying a new car. However, its possible you can still get Wi-Fi in your car you just need the right equipment.
OBD II devices
Some car Wi-Fi devices, like the AT& T ZTE Mobley | 503 or the Verizon Hum OBD reader, plug into your cars OBD II port. These devices are often available from the service provider and may cost $100 or more.
You may be wondering, whats an OBD II port and where do I find it? Its most likely located below your steering column or dash. Its what mechanics plug into to run vehicle diagnostics, but you can use it to create a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Installed wireless routers
While more expensive than OBD II devices, an installed wireless router will give you a better connection and you wont have to worry about plugging in anything. Car routers can range from $200 to $600 and should be professionally installed.
Use A Universal Portable Hotspot
If you’re likely to regularly require mobile internet for your family or yourself, a portable hotspot seems smart.
These devices basically replicate the hotspot function of a mobile phone. Like your home router, they connect to the internet and share access via a secure password. The difference is, like a phone, portable hotspots use mobile internet. As such, a subscription or pre-payment is required to use them, on-top of the initial purchase price.
Various manufacturers produce portable hotspots. This Netgear 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot has 10 hours of battery and up to 10 days of standby charge.
To use one, you’ll need to speak to a mobile network to order a SIM card. Be sure to choose one that fits and provides the right level of usage. Otherwise, you could end up running out of data and have to use your smartphone!
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Portable Wifi For Camping Traveling And Working Remotely
For those that work remotely while on the road, having reliable wifi while camping is often a struggle.
Over the years, weve tried various cell boosters and cell service providers, trying to find a combination that would provide a more consistent camping wifi solution. But we still often found ourselves either taking a less desirable campsite to ensure we had reliable enough cell service to use our portable wifi hotspot, or worse, wed end up breaking camp early to seek out wifi at a local coffee shop in town.
Though we havent completely solved the camping wifi paradox, we have recently found a camping wifi setup that works better than any other weve tried, and wanted to share this info with fellow campers and working travelers.
The Best Cell Service For Use As Camping Wifi
Every cell service provider has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to network coverage, cost, and tethering options.
Weve tried nearly every option out there and after traveling all over the U.S., weve found that Google Fi offers the best value for those that want reasonably priced service, wide network coverage , tethering, and versatility as a camping wifi option.
You can see both their flexible and unlimited data plan options here. We use the flexible plan because when were at home we use very little data. And wifi tethering is built in – which is a must for using your phone for portable wifi for camping.
Google Fi leverages multiple cellular networks including T-mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular, and dynamically switches between them to provide the greatest service depending on how close the nearest cell tower is and how strong the signal is.
However, in our experience, the automatic switching from one network to another is not perfect and can sometimes kick you off a fairly decent signal & wifi connection in favor of another that ends up being less usable or that may not have data service – leaving you abruptly without camping wifi.
This is where the app FiSwitch comes in. This app allows you to manually switch the Google Fi service between T-mobile, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular networks and its worth its weight in gold to those traveling while working remotely and camping.
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Its The Weboost Drive Reach Cell Signal Booster
12v power adapter
A Magnetic-mount Antenna for the outside of your vehicle
If your vehicle will allow – we’d HIGHLY recommend buying for the additional weBoost OTR Antenna* as it places the antenna further up on your vehicle and, in our experience, provides an overall better signal strength in more remote or wooded areas.
An internal antenna – used to broadcast the signal inside of your vehicle
HOWEVER this is key: Your cell phone or portable cellular hotspot MUST be directly on top of the internal antenna in order for the booster to work to its full potential.
Admittedly, the weBoost Drive Reach is a bit of an investment, and its not going to miraculously create usable cell service where none exists. But if you need wifi while camping, weve found that it has been well worth the investment.
On numerous occasions it took our cell signal from weak or nearly non-existent, to adequate enough to use for camping wifi to be able to work remotely, or even binge watch Netflix on occasion! And even when our signal was already decent, the weBoost significantly improved our upload and download speeds.
Having this camping wifi setup has drastically reduced the daily stress of working remotely by minimizing the constant struggle of finding reliable cell service while camping. Plus it has opened up so many more amazing campsites that we would have otherwise had to pass up – and that alone is worth its weight in gold!
And thanks for reading!
Travel Routers Also Work Well
For those not traveling with a laptop, a travel router brings strong Wi-Fi to phones, tablets, and other devices. The better ones have a whole range of features, including boosting the signal from an existing Wi-Fi network to give better speeds on whatever device youre using.
You typically set it up from your web browser, then put it wherever you can find the best Wi-Fi signal and let it do its thing.
One of the better multi-purpose devices out there is the RavPower FileHub. Relatively light and compact, not only does it give stronger Wi-Fi, its also a portable battery for charging up USB-powered gadgets, an SD card reader, and more.
If you only care about boosting your Wi-Fi, check out the Netgear EX6120 instead. It plugs directly into a power socket, and provides greater range than the FileHub or USB-powered versions.
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Are You A Verizon Customer Looking For Portable Wifi
Depending on where in the world you live, you may have a lot of public WiFi hotspots available for your use. While they allow you to access WiFi without an Internet provider, they do come with some security risks. If you have a specific cell or internet provider, you can access private WiFi hotspots that offer premium prepaid internet access thats much cheaper than using mobile data, and more secure.
There are some mobile WiFi devices that are geared specifically for one providersay, for example, if you are a Verizon customer. Being able to connect to a service you already use can save a lot of hassle, and help you avoid having to use insecure, public networks that could expose your data.
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Use Old Hardware As An In
While portable hotspots and dedicated in-car 4G routers are expensive, you have cheaper options available.
For example, if you have an old phone, you could use this instead of your main device. Just leave it connected to your car’s charge port, maybe secure with tape or Velcro, and keep it hidden. Only share its existence with your passengers. Plus, you have a spare phone to use in an emergency.
Alternatively, you could rely on a mobile dongle. While such devices are rare these days, they can be found on eBay, or at the back of a drawer.
Importantly, mobile dongles only require a USB power source. So, you could take a few minutes to set one up manually with your laptop, then connect it to your car’s USB port. Whenever your car is running, the USB port will be powered, and the hotspot active.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it works.
How Fast Do You Need Your Wifi Connection To Be
Perhaps the biggest reason to invest in a portable WiFI router is that you intend to download or upload files on a regular basis, and need both the speed and convenience of a strong WiFI signal to do it. A smartphone alone is fine for emails and texts, but for anything bigger or more complex, you need a fast Internet connection without question.
It used to be youd need to be hard-wired to process anything bigger than a few megabytes, but there are options available now that can deliver fast upload and download speeds even if you are on the go.
Best portable WiFi for connection speed: NetGear Mobile WiFi Hotspot
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How To Get Mobile Wi
If youre up for it, there truly is never a better time to live in your car than now. Most vehicles nowadays can be outfitted with Bluetooth connections, TVs, and even refrigerators. And now car manufacturers like Chevrolet and Tesla have been adding built-in hotspots to some of their models as well.
But you dont need to buy a brand-new car just to get internet on the road.
Having Wi-Fi in your car keeps you connected and entertained on long drives and road trips. With a built-in hotspot or even just using your cell phone hotspot, you can use your laptop or tablet to get work done when youre out of the house. And youll also have an extra safety measure to get in touch with someone right away during emergencies.
So, how do you get that sweet Wi-Fi connection on the road? Well explain some affordable and effective options.
Read on for details on mobile hotspots, public Wi-Fi, travel routers, and more.
In this guide:
Cell Phone Hotspot Options For Getting Internet On The Road
The easiest and most cost-effective method for van life internet access is your cellphone data plan. Smartphones have a hotspot capability that allows you to tether devices to your phone, utilizing the phones data plan as the internet for your other devices including your laptop. It doesnt cost you anything beyond what you normally pay each month, and anywhere you have service you can get online with your computer.
Depending on your carrier, reception quality varies across the country. . Its an interactive map that shows you where your carrier has a signal and how strong it is. This is a great tool for remote workers that will help you plan ahead and find an office with a view.
To determine how big of a data plan you need and to find ways to cut back on data usage, you can use an app called My Data Manager to see how much data you use on a daily basis.
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Our Review Of The Teppy Travel Wifi
Overall, this worked perfectly for us. I was able to connect while on the road and the kids played games together via their phones. I used it while on vacation to get a stronger signal in order to work outside or around a campfire.
Travel Wifi provided us with 5 GB to use and we used about 2 GB. We traveled from Florida to Michigan and back. We didnt keep it on the entire time as often the kids would be reading or doing puzzles in their workbooks. Plus, we did have it on for a few hours in order to boost the signal at our vacation destination. The kids even used it to stream with their friends.
It lasted for us for a good amount of time. We had no problems connecting. Overall I would use it again, especially on the road.