Regular Wi-Fi routers found in homes and offices are not portable, they need an external power source and an ethernet cable to connect to the internet. However, portable Wi-Fi routers (also known as travel or mobile routers (MiFi)) exist. They have a built-in rechargeable battery and use a SIM card to connect to the internet.
In case you need to access the internet when you’re on the road, you can use a portable Wi-Fi router as a substitute for your in-house installation. They are very affordable and are easy to carry in your pocket or purse. Major mobile router manufacturers include TP-Link, D-Link, Netgear, GL.iNET, and Alcatel.
How Portable Wi-Fi Routers Work
A portable Wi-Fi router works by converting a 3G or 4G internet connection into a Wi-Fi signal that can be accessed by devices with Wi-Fi capability such as laptops. But unlike a standard internet box that connects to the internet via cables, a mobile router does this using a SIM card, similar to a smartphone.
Some travel routers use a virtual SIM card instead of a local SIM card and this eliminates the need to buy a local SIM card when you’re travelling overseas for business or pleasure. For example, Urozetta Cloud Wi-Fi travel routers allow you to enjoy 4G LTE networks in over 150 countries without roaming fees.
The signal from a portable router can reach up to 10-15 meters and can be accessed by up to 10 devices. However, keep in mind that internet speed will likely slow down if you connect too many devices at the same time. Also, connectivity issues might arise if you exceed the specified range of the router.
How Portable Wi-Fi Routers Powered
Portable routers are powered by a removable battery, built-in rechargeable battery, or directly via a USB cable. If powered via USB, it can be plugged into a laptop’s USB port, 5 volts DC adapters, or power banks for power supply when travelling.
Those powered by a removable or built-in battery usually come with a USB port which is used to recharge the battery. The battery of a mobile Wi-Fi router can last between 6 -15 hours depending on its capacity and type of connection. For instance, the battery will drain much faster when connected to a 4G network than when connected to a 3G network.
Mobile Routers Reliability
Mobile routers are just as reliable as standard home routers. They remove the burden of having to connect and manage your devices on public Wi-Fi networks when on the go. To stay connected, just ensure you have an active SIM card subscription with a good price plan and your battery is charged.
Uses Of A Mobile Wi-Fi Router
Besides using a portable Wi-Fi as an internet connection device, you can also use it for other things including:
1. File sharing- use it to share files and media via an internet browser across multiple devices.
2. Charging- some routers, such as TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Router, also double as phone chargers making it easy to keep your devices charged while travelling.
3. Range extender- mobile routers can be used to extend your current Wi-Fi network thus reducing dead spots and maximizing coverage.
4. Secure Access- a portable router allows you to connect to ethernet or outdoor WISP Access Point and create a secure private wireless network in public areas.
Carrying A Portable Wireless Router On A Plane
Like most consumer personal electronics, you can carry a portable wireless router on a plane in carry-on or checked baggage regardless of which airline you decide to fly. However, you’ll not be able to use it as an internet device since you’ll not be able to get a 3G/4G signal on a plane once it takes off.
The good thing is that most airlines now offer in-flight Wi-Fi so that you can stay connected to the internet during a flight. On the other hand, if your goal is to use your mobile router to set up a local area network that allows you to communicate across your own devices, then that will definitely work on a plane.
Using A Portable Router In Different Locations
Portable routers can be used in any location that has network coverage. All you need to ensure is that you have a SIM card that is active in the location you are travelling to. Some travel routers now support Virtual SIM technology that allows you to connect to 3G/4G internet in over 100 countries and regions. A good example is the Urozetta Cloud Mobile Wi-Fi router.
Benefits Of Having A Mobile Wi-Fi Router
Mobile Wi-Fi routers are beneficial in that they allow you to carry them in your pocket or bag when you travel and access the internet from anywhere in the world. Also, compared to public hotspots, you can rest easy knowing that your connection is secure and less susceptible to hackers.
Portable Routers And Support For Wi-Fi Calls
A portable Wi-Fi router can support Wi-Fi calling as long as it is able to provide your phone with a high-speed internet connection. Wi-Fi calling is a great option in places with weak or non-existent cellular coverage.
Portable Wi-Fi routers are available and are a great option when you need to have constant Wi-Fi access when travelling. Using a mobile Wi-Fi router is also a good idea if you are looking for a more secure way to access the internet when in public places such as hotels and airports.
In some countries you even have the option of picking up a portable router when you arrive and dropping it off as you leave, thus eliminating the need to buy a local SIM card.