When you are traveling around the country you have 3G broadband whenever you get a phone network signal, certainly in towns and cities wherever you are. You can connect your iPad or smart phone and just go online.
If you take your iPad abroad you can do the same, but when you get back hone and are faced with your network provider’s bill for roaming charges you will wish you hadn’t.
There is another way, two actually.
Use Wifi Hotspots
You can just use hotel and restaurant free wifi hot spots. The big problem with these is security and the risk of identity they that they represent. There is no password so anyone can use them; there could be a guy upstairs on the same network who is reading your every keystroke and accessing your computer to steal all the passwords that are stored on it.
Unsecured wifi networks are recognised as a massive security risk and they are best avoided wherever you are.
Buy a local pre-pay sim card that is pre-loaded with as much data allowance as you will need. You can just replace your home sim card in your tablet or phone with the pre-paid one. This will allow you to browse the Internet at local rates, rather than roaming rates that are charged to your home network.
How Many Sim Cards, Though?
Most people have multiple Internet-enabled devices when they travel and just accept roaming charges as part of the cost, but they are avoidable. If you buy a mifi adapter before leaving home you just need to buy one local sim card and plug it into the mifi unit. This then allows all your phones, tablets and laptops to connect via the one sim card.
You can switch the mifi on when you need it and just leave it out of sight. You can access the mifi from twenty feet away so you can place it wherever the network signal is strongest.
With the mifi your phone can connect over the Internet at local data-usage rates and you can use your usual apps to make VOIP calls and Internet texts. This will cost you a lot less than making international calls on your cell phone.
Use your tablet in wifi mode to make sure you use the local sim card, rather than the home sim card that is still in it.
You now have a3G laptop, which you never had before. You no longer have to worry about using your laptop on a free, but insecure wifi network. Your mifi box gives you your own, password-protected and secure wireless network. The signals to and from your mifi dongle are sent over your own local and secure wifi. From the mifi device your signals are encrypted and sent over the local 3G or 4G network that you bought the sim card for.
With your 3G laptop you have all the capabilities of an iPad costing three times as much. You have removed the need to buy an iPad altogether and saved yourself a lot of money.
Quality of Service
The quality of your Internet service depends on the signal you are receiving and on the number of devices connected to the mifi box. A broadband speed check site will tell you what you are getting. You may need to modrate your YouTube use and video streaming, especially if two or three of you are using the one mifi.
You would be using the Internet less if you were using your home-based sim card anyway so not playing online games and streaming TV would be out of the question without the mifi. With the mifi they just impact on other family members and are anti-social anyway.