I’ve always had this dream of being able to take my laptop down to the beach and work there. Is this something I can do nowadays?
This question actually came up while at the pub with some old friends. We had talked about this a few years back; and while it was theoretically possible to connect to the Internet using your mobile phone as a GPRS modem, speeds back then were pathetically slow and your connection could drop at any moment.
How things have changed in only a few years. Mobile broadband has now become a reality and the only real decision you have to make is which provider and package you want to go for. Luckily there are a number of websites online which can guide you through the process. For example, here in the UK there’s Broadband Expert which offers a selection of reviews and comparison guides for different mobile broadband providers, from Vodaphone to 3, from T-mobile to Orange. They can also give you guidance on how to switch from one provider to another if you can get a better deal.
Connectivity is usually quite easy, most contract will provide you with a USB dongle you just plug into your laptop and you’re all set. Gone are the days of trying to line up your mobile phone’s infra-red connector with your laptop’s to get a better signal. You can even get a laptop that has the required card built-into it.
The one thing to keep in mind when using a mobile broadband connection is how much data you are actually using. Most providers have a cap on the amount of data you can download, and if you use the connection to stream video, watch TV and download files, you may find that you use more bandwidth than you expect. So make sure to keep an eye on it and get the right package for your needs.