Mobile Internet – How to Choose Between Tethering, MiFi or a Turbo Stick
Let’s face it, we’re working more and more outside of the office these days and it’s expected this trend will continue. According to a recent IDC report, more than two-thirds of Canadians already do some of their work each week outside the office. Over the next four years that number is expected to increase to 73 per cent – representing three out of four working professionals.
Working remotely is setting the new benchmark for productivity thanks largely in part to new mobile devices and high-speed mobile Internet access. Today’s professional needs to be constantly connected to the Internet on multiple devices from various locations throughout the day to work with colleagues, connect with vendors and respond to customer inquiries. With many different mobile Internet options out there, it’s not always easy to figure out what works best for you, which is why we’ve broken down each option below:
A lot of people don’t realize many smartphones can be tethered to another device (i.e. a laptop) and serve as a modem to provide Internet access through a cellular data plan. In one wireless tethering scenario, the smartphone creates a mobile hotspot that multiple other devices can simultaneously connect to. This is an excellent solution for people who occasionally need Internet access on another device. For example, each morning a worker commuting on the train may tether their smartphone to their laptop to download new emails to respond to during the commute.
One of the primary advantages of mobile tethering is fast and easy setup. A typical mobile hotspot setup requires only a couple of commands within the ‘Settings’ feature on a smartphone to get up and running. It’s also extremely flexible and wide ranging. You can tether anywhere you have mobile network coverage on your smartphone. And lastly, no additional equipment is required, which often makes it the most affordable option for occasional use.
However, it is important to remember that tethering drains smartphones batteries and results in increased data usage. If you have a small data plan, consider upgrading to a larger data plan or limit your tethering to occasional use. Or, if you plan on tethering for long periods of time or frequently, you might want to consider MiFi or a Turbo stick.
For users who frequently travel in groups or with family, a MiFi device may be the best option for mobile Internet access. A MiFi hotspot like the Novatel Wireless MiFi 2 mobile broadband modem creates a wireless network for multiple devices. Like Turbo sticks, MiFi devices have a mobile broadband SIM inside and also come with a battery. This suits on-the-go users who require connectivity to multiple devices for long periods of time.
The Novatel Wireless MiFi 2 is one of the latest examples of next generation MiFi devices that are intuitive and simple to use. Featuring a touchscreen design, users can easily check data usage, manage connected devices and change settings. With up to 16 hours of battery life and connection up to 10 Wi-Fi devices to LTE Internet, the MiFi 2 is great for small teams that travel and work outside the office.
Despite having more device options than before, the majority of mobile workers will complete most of their work on a laptop. For users looking for constant Internet connectivity, a built-in mobile broadband card or USB Turbo Stick is the ideal mobile Internet option.
Turbo Sticks like the Novatel Wireless U679 are USB modems that give you access to LTE networks with super fast download speeds averaging 12-25 Mbps. Turbo sticks are an ideal option for professionals who frequently travel and require reliable mobile high-speed Internet access, but have varying usage patterns month to month. In most cases, to ensure you get the best rates, many service providers offer plans with monthly fees that automatically adjust to your monthly data usage.
Turbo Stick mobile Internet is also ideal for US business travelers looking to avoid high roaming charges. North American Flex plans can cover data usage in both Canada and the US and are perfect for professionals who frequently travel between the two countries for business and personal travel.
The bottom line
For many working professionals, being online and connected is not a luxury – it’s a requirement. Just as people need to be reachable by mobile phone when outside the office, customers, employees and vendor partners expect to get in touch over the Internet. Mobile broadband options – ranging from tethering, Turbo sticks or dedicated MiFi devices – offer high-speed mobile connectivity to business professionals from virtually any location.
How do you connect to the Internet on your laptop when you’re on-the-go? Mention your favourite mobile Internet solution via the comments section below.
By Andy Baryer
The Bell Blog team