What is Pocket WiFi?

Pocket Wi-Fi

With the advent of advanced technology, the significance of information and communication increases, and so does our need for Internet mobility intensify. We have become more dependent on instantly having information at hand. With pocket Wi-Fi, you will be connected to the Internet without a working phone line and specifically, when travelling, pocket Wi-Fi is very useful. Thus, we need to be more knowledgeable about Pocket Wi-Fi, how to use it and what its advantages are.

What is a Pocket Wi-Fi?

A pocket Wi-Fi is a portable wireless modem which is also referred to as MiFi, a mobile hotspot, or Internet dongle, that connects any Wi-Fi enabled device such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets to the Internet through a mobile telephone network.  As a small light-weight gadget, it fits into the palm of your hand, broadcasting Internet signals to compatible devices in its vicinity.

How does a Portable Wi-Fi work?

A mobile Wi-Fi router is fitted with a SIM card which can be obtained by subscribing to a mobile network provider. A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module (SIM), or SIM card, is an integrated circuit that securely stores a mobile subscriber’s identity number and its related key. These numbers and keys are used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile telephony devices.

The mobile router transforms a 3G or 4G (and recently developed 5G) connection into a private Wi-Fi signal to your different devices. In case you wondered, 3G, 4G and 5G are networks that connect your phone to the Internet. The ‘G’ stands for ‘generation’ and thus, 3G means ‘third generation’,4G ‘fourth generation’ and 5G stands for ‘fifth generation’.  Each generation is faster than the previous one and the larger number indicates the newer, better version of a particular technology. 4G LTE (an abbreviation for Long Term Evolution) is a 4G wireless communications standard developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) to provide up to 10x the speed of 3G networks for mobile devices.

A portable or pocket router has its own source of power and is fitted with a battery and has USB charging and microSD ports meaning that you can use several SIM card formats. Some routers do not have an internal battery, so they need to be plugged into a power source, making its coverage wider and the navigation faster.

What are the advantages of Pocket Wi-Fi?

Pocket Wi-Fi is like a tiny magic box or ‘Lucky Packet/Pocket’. A stable 24/7 Internet connection with many devices at once are some of the benefits. Because it is portable, it can be used in almost any place in the world. A mobile Wi-Fi router gives you the experience of independence since you only need to change the SIM card or get one which can be used in several places. A Pocket Wi-Fi is prepaid in most cases. You choose the data package; you pay for the rental duration and the device is ready to use after its activation.

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What is the downside of a Pocket Wi-Fi?

A mobile hotspot is not a device to amplify Wi-Fi signal from other sources. To get the Wi-Fi service, you need to buy a data plan from a service provider with a SIM card. These companies usually offer several packages to choose from.

Are there other options than a portable Wi-Fi?

There are several alternative to a portable Wi-fi router, when, for example you need to travel to a different country. Your local mobile network provider can offer you an international data package called Internet data roaming. You provider will charge an expensive add-on on top of your data plan. In comparison, the Pocket Wi-Fi is prepaid and you know right from the start how much you will be paying in total.

Alternatively, you can rely on free Wi-Fi spots. However, free Wi-Fi attracts cyber criminals and it is predicted that global cybercrime will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021.  Accordingly, you need to be careful if you want to make transactions on a free Internet connection. A study done by the University of Maryland found that computers, smartphones and networks are attacked by hackers at a rate of one attack every 39 seconds.

Another alternative is purchasing a prepaid international SIM card. Generally, you simply plug the SIM Card into your phone, possibly make a few Access Point Name (APN) setting changes and then you are ready to go online.  Your data consumption habits will determine how long your Internet use will be. Provided that you need a simple Facebook/WhatsApp message or call via the Wi-Fi calling function, a prepaid SIM card will suffice. If 24/7 Internet access for up to five devices is what you need, then a Pocket Wi-Fi is more suitable.

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