Internet Connections: Understanding Your Options For Getting Online


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Mobile Internet Connections with Dongles

Mobile Internet for checking emails on the go. Image by Pauly

Mobile Internet has grown in popularity over recent years, especially with the introduction of 3G and 4G access. Mobile Internet uses “dongles”, which look very similar to USB flash drives. The dongles attach to a computer via the USB port and connect the device to the ISP, and then the Internet. The major drawback? Only one computer can use the device at any one time.

Not only is limited connectivity an issue, mobile internet can also be extremely slow, depending on the signal strength of the provider. If you just want to use a dongle for browsing the Internet, checking social media, and accessing emails, you will most likely be satisfied with a mobile Internet service. If you’re looking for online gaming, or wanting to watch videos, however, you will struggle.

Mi-Fi Connections Through Mobile Internet

Mi-Fi is mobile Internet’s equivalent of Wi-Fi, allowing you to connect more than one computer or device to the same service at the same time. This is great for those who want to access their mobile connection from a tablet or smartphone device without a USB port. You’ll access everything through 3G – and soon 4G – technology.

While security is an issue, there are fewer risks with Mi-Fi than with Wi-Fi hotspots, typically found on trains and in businesses. The data is encrypted while travelling between ports on a Mi-Fi network, which makes interception more difficult. Many smartphone and tablet devices also have in-built protection software but it is still important to use with care, and check the websites you are on.

Accessing the Internet: Options Everywhere

You have many options when it comes to accessing the Internet – your choice will depend on your location, your connectivity needs, and whether or not you mind being tied to one location. Wi-Fi and Mi-Fi technology are among the most common options, allowing people to access wirelessly, from any location. We use Mi-Fi on cell phones and mobile devices almost every day, which offers a moderately secure way to pass information. On the whole, mobile technology is growing in popularity – but it’s still slow compared to broadband connections.


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Microsoft Windows. How Do Hubs, Switches Routers, and Access Points Differ. Accessed March 4, 2013

McDowell, G. How Does a Router Work? Make Use Of. (2009). Accessed March 4, 2013

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