Do you know your USB dongle from your USB data stick? Have you seen the adverts for something called “mobile broadband” but not understood what it’s all about?
Well mobile checker have added the following page to make the comparison of mobile broadband packages a whole lot easier:
We are planning to add the following explanations to the deals pages too but for now read on for everything mobile broadband related….
USB Stick, USB Dongle or Data Card?
Well, the most popular method of getting mobile broadband currently is the usb stick which is like a USB data (memory) stick in terms of size and ‘plug and play’ functionality and these are available on each of the following networks in slightly different designs which can be seen here:
3’s USB Stick, Orange’s USB Stick, Vodafone’s USB Stick and T-mobile’s USB Stick
A USB dongle is the older method of getting online where the dongle is the name of a slightly larger, plastic device with a lead trailing from it – it does exactly the same job as the usb stick but it’s a little bulkier.
The oldest mobile broadband devices are the data cards which, unlike the other 2 USB options, fit in the PMCIA slot of a laptop (note these will not work with a desktop PC!) – they are the size of several credit cards stacked together.
What if I don’t want to have to buy a new USB stick?
Well, what a lot of the current broadband literature and advertising doesn’t tell you is that you can use ANY 3G mobile phone connected either via bluetooth or a usb cable to surf the internet at broaband like speed. Yes, this is a little more cumbersome but you save the cost of the usb stick / dongle / data card and you will probably have your phone with you anyway wherever you are wanting to surf using mobile broadband!
For those of you that want to get the highest possible speeds using a mobile phone rather than a standalone USB device then look for a 3G device that has the newer and faster HSDPA technology (nicknamed 3.5G) connectivity.
Is mobile broadband really like the broadband I can get in my house?
The speeds you will get using USB style mobile broadband will vary based on the same factors that affect your current mobile phone – signal strength. If you are using these devices in a strong 3G signal area then you will likely not notice much difference in terms of speed compared to an existing home broadband connection. However if the 3G signal that your new USB mobile broadband connection you are planning to use is weak you will invariabally notice some speed issues.
Where you will likely notice a difference between standard home broadband and mobile broadband is download limits – there are restrictions that the networks place on the amount of web pages / files you can download for the price you are paying each month. The typical allowed usage is 3GB which should easily be enough for 95% of people that use the web to browse sites and download the odd music tracks etc but if you are planning to use mobile broadband as a permenent replacement for your home connection (losing your landline at the same time to cut bill costs maybe?) we would advise you to get the largest amount of bandwidth you can each month.
Want to know more?
Leave the Mobile Checker staff a comment at the end of this post and we will answer questions / queries here and if we get enough interest put together some help guides 🙂