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The 10 Best Mobile Hotspots  Sep 2018

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1
Best Mobile Hotspots - ZTE Velocity 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Hotspot GSM Review ZTE
9 . 7
2
Best Mobile Hotspots - H2O BOLT 4G LTE Prepaid Mobile Hotspot Bundle Review H2O Wireless
9 . 5
3
Best Mobile Hotspots - Verizon Jetpack 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot - AC791L Review Verizon
9 . 1
4
Best Mobile Hotspots - Netgear Unite 770S 4G LTE Mobile Wifi Hotspot Review NETGEAR
9 . 0
5
Best Mobile Hotspots - Franklin Wireless Boost Mobile 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot Review Boost
8 . 5
6
Best Mobile Hotspots - Skyroam Hotspot: WiFi for Global Travelers Review Skyroam
8 . 2
7
Best Mobile Hotspots - Huawei E5577s-321 150 Mbps 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Review Huawei
7 . 9
8
Best Mobile Hotspots - Verizon Ellipsis Jetpack MHS700L 4G LTE Mobile WiFi Review Verizon Wireless
7 . 6
9
Best Mobile Hotspots - Huawei E5573s-320 Unlocked 150 Mbps 4G LTE Review Huawei
7 . 3
10
Best Mobile Hotspots - Sprint Boost Mobile Netgear NIGHTHAWK M1 MR1100 mobile Review Siren
7 . 1

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Your Guide To Buying a Mobile Hotspot

By Yehudah Posnick

    A mobile hotspot (also known as MiFi--mobile WiFi) is a device that allows you to access internet for your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. If you travel abroad and try to access the same internet provider that you use at home, you might have to pay exorbitant charges for every download that you perform. But if you use a mobile hotspot, you pay a company a flat charge, and it allows you internet access for a number of devices, for a specified period. The mobile hotspot thus combines the functions of a modem and a  Wi-Fi router--it allows other Wi-Fi devices within range to reach the Internet via its cellular connection. They can either be devices dedicated to providing internet connectivity, or smartphones in their own right. Some require you to subscribe with a mobile device provider.  

    We've put together this guide to help you select the best mobile hotspot that answers to your needs. It'll help you:

    • Choose the right type of mobile hotspot,

    • See useful tips about that type of mobile hotspot,    

    • Read reviews of different brands of mobile hotspots, and what customers are saying,

    • Select the right brand of mobile hotspot, and

    • Compare prices and find the best deals.

    We can categorize the types of mobile hotspots as follows:

    • Using a mobile phone as a Mobile Hotspot: When a mobile phone can work as a mobile hotspot device, this is known as “tethering”. Some mobile phones can be set up to serve as a WiFi hotspot, but this will depend on your type of phone and your service provider.

    • Specialized Mobile Hotspot devices: These are dedicated devices that are just for supplying Internet access to your smartphone, laptop or tablet when traveling.

    Based on all the consumers' reviews we've scanned, these are the top things they mentioned about their new stuff:

    • Companies may change their plans: The Virgin Mobile Overdrive Pro No-contract device has an attractive plan, where you only pay a flat $35/month plan for 10GB of downloads over wireless Internet. But once you exceed the 10 GB limit, the Internet speed decreased drastically, or they will either charge you for more, or even stop your connection. So this is something that must be heeded.

    • Check battery time: You should check the amount of time that the battery will hold out without having to recharge it. For example, the battery on the Huawei E5372s-32 (Megafon MR100-3) is good for 6 hours of continual use, or 36 hours when just in standby mode.

    • 3G vs. 4 G--You’ll see devices rated either as 3G or 4 G. “G” here stands for "generation". It refers to the generation of broadband Internet supported. The difference is as follows:

      • If a network is advertised as 3G, the data transfer rate must be at least 200 kilobits/second.

      • A 4G network must have a peak data transfer rate of 100 Megabits/second for people traveling, and 1 Gigabit/second for pedestrians.

    When you’re traveling, the location might not support a 4 G connection. If your mobile hotspot is 3G, it might not support a 4 G network. But if your device is 4 G, you can get along in a country with only 3 G connectivity. A 3 G connection is adequate for GPS, weather, email, Facebook and other social networking apps.

    • Range: This is the distance that you can be from the mobile hotspot in order that your devices can access the internet. For example, the Unite Pro Netgear 781S 4G LTE WiFi Wireless Mobile Broadband Hotspot gives you a range of 20-25 feet away from the hotspot, in an open room.

    • Number of devices that you can connect: The Huawei E8377s-153 HiLink CarFi 150 Mbps 4G LTE WiFi Hotspot gives you connectivity for 10 WiFi devices, while the Netgear 781S 4G LTE allows you to connect up to 15 WiFi devices at once.

    • Using a mobile phone as a Mobile Hotspot: When a mobile phone can work as a mobile hotspot device, this is known as “tethering”. Some mobile phones can be set up to serve as a WiFi hotspot, but this will depend on your type of phone and your service provider.

    • Bandwidth specs: You'll see the specs 802.11a, or 802.11b/g/n. This refers to the wireless technology bandwidth standard that is available--that is, how fast can informatoin move through the system. Each successive version and upgrade being assigned a different letter. The minimal bandwidth was that of 802.11b, with a bandwidth of 11 Megabits per second (=Mbps) ; 802.11a has 54 Mbps, but was more expensive. 802.11g and 802.11n were further upgrades, offering 54 Mbps and 300 Mbps respectively.

    Virgin Mobile--is a brand of wireless communications, offering a range of handsets, service plans, and network radio interfaces for each country in which they are stationed. Virgin Mobile USA was founded in 2001 in San Francisco, California, but then later merged with Sprint Corporation. They offer high-speed data packs, international calling options, mobile hotspots, games, music and more on their devices.

    Huawei--is a telecommunications equipment company, that was founded in 1987 in Shenzhen, China. Their products include smartphones, tablet computers, mobile broadband solutions, routers, repeaters, portable speakers, and more.

    Skyroam--is based in San Francisco, California, but they have offices in China and Hong Kong as well. They were originators of the Skyroam Hotspot--an idea to provide an affordable mobile internet connection even when traveling abroad, that is data-secure and efficient. Their technology allow you to register once, but get connectivity for as many as five mobile devices, with a number of different affordable plans.

    Netgear--is a provider of networking products for the home, business, and for service providers. They were founded in 1996 in San Jose, California. They make network switches, wired and wireless firewalls, network-attached storage products, and more.