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Can I use the internet with a wireless dongle?

Can I use the internet with a wireless dongle?

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Last updated: 21 May 2021

Being able to access the internet on the move is becoming more and more important and, with more strain being placed on public WIFI, people are looking for new ways to stay connected. One great way of doing this, of staying connected to the internet wherever you are, is to use wireless dongle.

What is a wireless dongle?

A wireless dongle (or mobile broadband dongle) is a small device which connects to your laptop via a USB port. Once connected it acts as a portable modem, allowing you to access the internet on the move.The dongle works by connecting to mobile broadband much like your mobile phone does, this means a 3G, 4G or 5G network is required for your dongle to work.

How do I get a wireless dongle?

Dongles are issued by a mobile network providers, and this can be done in one of two ways – with a pay monthly contract, or on a pay as you go basis.

If you’re not going to be using it very often or don’t know how much data you will be needing then pay as you go might be best for you. This involves paying an upfront price for a dongle and then simply topping it up when you need to use it.

If, however, you’re going to be using it regularly, it makes sense to enter into a contract, as this is really the only way to get the best broadband deal from your network provider. These plans, much like phone contracts, will generally last for between 12-24 months, and allocate you a set amount of data per month.

How much do wireless dongles cost?

The actual dongle will generally cost between £30-£50 if you go for a pay as you go deal plus whatever data you pay for. If you opt for a contract, then you will receive your dongle for free but will then be tied into paying a monthly fee, this will of course vary but expect to pay around £20 per month.

Pros of using a wireless dongle

  • Small, lightweight and easy to transport, you can take your dongle with you anywhere and get connected.
  • No need to worry about charging them, they run off the battery of your computer.
  • You can get ones that will work abroad as well, meaning your boss can delegate tasks to you even when you’re on holiday!
  • Useful backup to have in the if your unfortunate enough to have your broadband cut out.

Cons of using a wireless dongle

  • There is a limit on the speed they can achieve, as with internet on your mobile phone. However, with 4G and now 5G rolling out to a wider and wider area, speed is becoming less of an issue.
  • Coverage is dependent on available reception - if there’s no 3G or 4G coverage, you won’t be able to get online.
  • Connections tend to be more expensive than a standard fixed-line broadband deal, so unless you have to it won’t be the most economical way to get internet in your home.

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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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