How to Get Wi-Fi on a Laptop Anywhere

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With mobile broadband and 3G speeds comparable to regular broadband, it's no surprise that users who travel regularly or have no need for a home Internet connection are turning to 3G service for their laptops. How wide your 3G network is depends entirely on your mobile carrier. If you want a regular 3G connection for your laptop, consider getting a computer adapter from one of your local cell phone providers; if you only need one while you're traveling, you may want to see if your smart phone is capable of creating a temporary mobile hot spot.

Things You'll Need

  • Mobile broadband service
  • Mobile broadband adapter
  • Smartphone

Mobile Broadband Adapter

  • Contact your local cell phone providers. Many mobile providers have data plans especially for computer users looking for 3G service in place of a home-based Wi-Fi network.

  • Purchase a plan and adapter that will work with your computer and your Internet access needs. If you're going to be purchasing a limited data plan, make sure that there is enough bandwidth for your typical Internet use.

  • Read any instructions that you are given by the cell phone representative, and the manuals that come with your adapter. When you're feeling prepared to set up your service, plug the adapter into your computer.

  • Fill in your network account details; these will be given to you by the representative of your mobile broadband service provider. Once the network connects, you will be able to use the mobile broadband connection to use the Internet the same that you would use a Wi-Fi connection.

Personal Hotspot

  • Determine if your phone is one that comes with the ability to turn 3G access into a hot spot. There are several smartphones and service providers that have built-in hot spot creators, such as the Palm Pre, Droid, and iPhone. You will need to have a data plan with your cell phone provider and may need to have a special plan that allows you to create a personal hot spot.

  • Enable your phone's hot spot creator. Make sure that your phone has a sufficient charge, and that you're currently able to get 3G service. You may need to fill in network details, such as SSID and password.

  • Access the personal hot spot via your operating system's network manager. You may need to fill in the password, if your hot spot is encrypted. Once you've connected to the hot spot, you will be able to use the personal 3G hot spot the same way you would use Wi-Fi.

Tips & Warnings

  • Considering plugging your phone into a charger or your computer when using it as a hot spot to save battery power.
  • Be careful to monitor your bandwidth when using your cell phone to create a mobile hot spot; if you're bandwidth is limited it can be easy to go over your allotted plan, and overages can change the price of your bill.
  • Make sure that your hot spot is secured with a password; an insecure network can be accessed by other individuals with Wi-Fi, and can cause your bandwidth to be used faster.

References

  • Photo Credit Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images
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