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Understanding the Basics of Mobile Broadband

mobile wifi broadband

In order to get the most out of your gadgets, you’ll need to keep track of the latest technology. Mobile broadband is one of the most heavily used, yet misunderstood, advances available these days, so we feel it will be helpful to go over the basics so that our readers can at least learn a bit about this helpful addition. At its most basic, mobile broadband is a high speed network connection designed to be used from any location. This is in contrast to more standard services such as ADSL, cable modems and optical fibre which only bring a net connection to one location.

How Does It Work?

These days, you have the ability to connect to the internet basically anywhere as long as you have the right sort of device. Most newer models of smartphones and laptops come with in-built modems that connect to the mobile broadband networks and allow you to surf the web. This is done via a number of signals, the most popular of which are listed below in order from slowest to fastest:

  • 2G (including GPRS and EDGE)
  • 3G (including W-CDMA, HSPA and EDGE-Evolution)
  • 4G (including HSPA+, LTE and MBWA)

Depending on your location, you’ll have access to one or more of these data connections through which to surf the web.

What happens if you have an older device though? Here, you can purchase an external component that can connect up to this mobile broadband instead. Two of the most common are listed below:

  • PC cards
  • USB modems

If you have a smartphone, tablet computer or PDA that can connect to the web, you can also use this as a portable hotspot that can link your older laptop or desktop up to the net if need be. Thus, you should have access to broadband internet through your home or office setup no matter what devices you own. Once you have this system installed though, what matters should you be aware of when using it?

Important Considerations

In order to utilise these sorts of mobile internet connections, you’ll have to arrange for a data plan from your chosen telephone service provider. This will incur extra fees which you’ll have to pay at the end of each month. Before signing up for a contract, make sure to check whether your data is “capped” at a certain limit. While some data plans give you unlimited uploads and downloads, most will only supply you with a fixed amount, either halting further net access or charging you extra if the limit is reached. Thus, you should read the fine print and be aware that you can inflate your mobile bill quite easily if you’re not careful. Have a talk with your service provider about which plans fit in with your daily usage and find one which ones suit your monthly budget as well. Thankfully, there’s enough variety out there that you should be able to find an ideal data plan with a little research and hard work.

You should also realise that this sort of mobile technology still has its limitations, especially since it’s relatively new. Unlike standard Wi-Fi and ADSL connections which are usually stable, these remote links can experience slow speeds due to:

  • Limited coverage in more remote areas of the globe
  • Blocked signals deep in the interior of buildings
  • Blind spots due to geographical or architectural obstructions

Finally, even though these plans are marketed as “high speed”, they are still slower than your average fibre optic or ADSL connection. That is not to say they are unusable though; just don’t expect to download files at extremely rapid speeds while out and about.

Written By

Madison Hytten is a writer for Telecom Group, a New Zealand company that provides telecommunication and IT services. They have a range of mobile phone and broadband internet packages for businesses and homes.



  1. Rohit

    July 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    thanks for the information pal,, I appreciate your knowledge regarding the topic.. 🙂

  2. Melissa

    July 12, 2013 at 10:11 am

    That helps a lot in understanding the basics of wireless broadband. Looking on for more talented works from you.

    • Madison Hytten

      July 16, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Thank you Melisa, I hope that you will continue to collaborate on my other post in the future.

  3. Steevo

    January 5, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Mobile broadband is getting more popular, as we have the convenience of having it wherever we go with our smartphones.
    I don’t see PC Cards and USB modems in popular use any more. It’s more about mobile phone (tethering) and maybe WiFi hotspot devices. It seems that in NZ, the better providers are 2degrees (cheap) and Vodafone (superior 4G coverage and speeds) are the better options. And contrary to your note – 4G mobile broadband is WAY faster than standard ADSL

    • Madison Hytten

      January 9, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Hello, Steevo! I understand why you would think that 4G mobile broadband is faster but I personally believe that there are times that ADSL is better, especially when I’m tackling work stuff online. Then again, it’s a matter of preference, I guess. Haha! Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my post.

  4. Steevo

    February 17, 2014 at 12:25 am

    Well – 4G LTE actually IS faster.
    And that’s what your article is about. Not ADSL.

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