Computer users now expect to have a quick, stable data connection whether at home, at work or while traveling. Over the past five years, cellular networks have increased the bandwidth allowed by their networks and have rapidly deployed 3G (or Third Generation) connectivity. (3G is not available in all areas. Check your provider's coverage area and ask friends about coverage if you are uncertain.) Mobile providers now offer a number of options for consumers who wish to use 3G for Internet access, including dedicated mobile broadband cards, cell phones that can be tethered to computers and netbooks with embedded 3G radios.
Things You'll Need
- 3G access
- Data plan or plan that allows for tethering
- Data cable, if applicable
- Network connection software
Purchase and install a 3G modem for your computer. Determine which cellular network operates best in your area, and choose a modem that will interface with your computer.
Purchase a data cable and install the 3G connection software on your computer. Tether your modem to your computer via the data cable. This choice is best suited for users who occasionally have need of data connections.
Purchase a netbook with an embedded 3G radio antenna. This option works best for users who wish to purchase a new, highly mobile computer and don't have need to share the connection with other users via a router.
Tips & Warnings
- Most mobile broadband providers offer a 30-day trial period in which you can you use and return a 3G card without penalty. Check the terms of the trial period before signing any contracts and make sure that you can attain a strong, stable signal before committing.
- Some cellular Internet service providers now offer "pay-as-you-go" mobile broadband access. This may be an attractive option if you do not intend to use the mobile broadband connection every day.
- Allow multiple users to share a 3G connection with a cellular modem router or MiFi hotspot.
- Most 3G Internet providers limit monthly usage to 5 gigabytes. Thereafter, you may be charged high overage fees or your speed may be throttled if you exceed 5 GB.
- Your provider may charge additional fees for tethering your phone or may count time connected as voice minutes. Always check with your mobile provider before tethering your phone.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images
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