Being able to stay connected pretty much wherever you go has become something we almost take for granted when it comes to phones. However, increasingly, we are also expecting to be able to stay online while we’re away from home and, thanks to the plethora of latest gadgets, that’s now becoming easier and cheaper to do.
If you already own a laptop or netbook device then the probable route you normally take to connect to mobile broadband is using a dongle, either on a contract or it might be a dongle pay as you go deal that is often better for more casual internet users.
Either way, connecting to the mobile internet is usually just a case of plugging this small device into a vacant USB port on your computer and tapping into the available mobile broadband network where you are located.
What’s the difference?
Things change when you go overseas though, and many dongles don’t even work when you’re out of the country. Those that do can often be subject to very high connection charges because the process is called ‘data roaming’. Connecting in itself can cost lots, but if you start downloading data, even just small movie clips, then charges can soar.
There are a couple of ways around this. Firstly, it’s possible to buy a dongle when you get to the location that you’re travelling to. Chances are there may well be a pay as you go dongle deal from the same network available at the other end, which means you only pay for what you use and there’s no contract either.
A quick fix
The other way around all of the hassle and also the costs is to tap into an available Wi-Fi network. These days, the Wi-Fi network is available in all manner of locations, from your arrival airport through to cafes, bars, fast food restaurants and hotels. In some cases you’ll have to pay, but many outlets offer it for free.
You may have to buy some light refreshments to get a username and password for your online sessions, but that’s a small price to pay compared to roaming costs. It should be faster and more reliable than using the mobile broadband network too.