Fixed line broadband is something that many businesses and households in Australia have been using for years, but an increasing number of people are now turning to a new type of technology known as mobile broadband to complement or even replace their fixed line access. With mobile broadband users are able to enjoy high speed access to the Internet whilst they are actually on the move, and this technology therefore offers total flexibility, ease, and convenience.
By plugging a specialist mobile broadband modem into the laptop or computer, users can access the Internet no matter where they are providing there is mobile phone coverage in the area. The reason for the need for mobile phone coverage is that the connection is provided through mobile phone networks rather than through copper wires or fiber optic networks as with fixed line broadband.
Mobile broadband is a technology that is likely to prove invaluable to a wide range of people, from the business user that needs to combine mobility with access to the Internet to students, those using the Internet for fun or leisure, and even those that do not have or do not want a landline in the home.
Mobile broadband Q&A
Is it possible to use the USB modem or dongle on different laptops and computers?
Absolutely, you can use your modem or dongle on any laptop or computer.
Will I get a good level of coverage with mobile broadband?
You can get coverage with mobile broadband in any area where there is mobile phone coverage, because the service is provided through mobile phone networks. If the signal in your area is weak, you may experience loss of connection or slow speeds.
Is it possible to use the mobile broadband service whilst abroad?
Yes, the service can be used in many countries. However, there are additional charges involved, and these can rise in the event that you exceed your download limit, so bear this in mind.
Will I be able to access mobile broadband whilst on a train?
Providing you are able to get a mobile phone signal then you can access the Internet via mobile broadband whilst on a train. Again, the strength of the signal that you get whilst on the train will determine access and speed.
Will I need to have a landline in order to have mobile broadband?
There is no need to have a landline in order to have access to mobile broadband as the service is not provided through the normal telephone exchange.
Is mobile broadband suitable for online gaming?
Unfortunately the speeds and download restrictions that come with mobile broadband make it largely inadequate for online gaming, and those interested in gaming would fare better by opting for a specialist gaming broadband package.
About 3G broadband: the mobile broadband technology
3G or mobile broadband is brought to us in a very different way compared to fixed line broadband, which uses copper telephone wires or fiber optic networks to provide us with access to the Internet. With mobile broadband the access is actually gained through mobile phone networks, and this is the reason why you need to be able to get mobile phone coverage in areas where you wish to use mobile broadband.
The USB modem that you receive when you sign up to mobile broadband is small, compact, and easy to carry around, and this modem will allow you to access the Internet via the 3G technology that is used. All you have to do is plug the USB modem into the USB socket on the mobile or laptop and away you go.
Mobile broadband coverage
Of course, you need to be sure that you can get good coverage when you take out mobile broadband, and this will depend on whether you have mobile phone coverage in the area where you plan to use the service. In areas where the signal strength is low coverage may be very patchy and you could lose connection or speed. Coverage tends to be better in urban areas rather than rural ones.
The modem options available
There are three main modem options available for use with mobile broadband, and these are described below.
USB dongles are easy to use, as they simply plug into the USB connection on the laptop or computer, and being the size of a mobile phone are very easy to carry around.
USB sticks are smaller than dongles, making them even easier to transport around, and like the dongle they simply plug into the USB connection on the computer and provide you with Internet access.
Mobile data cards are a third option, but these cannot be used by all mobile broadband users, as they can only be used on computers that have plug and go software installed.
Comparing mobile broadband
Making comparisons before signing up for mobile broadband is very important to ensure that you get the most suitable and affordable package for your needs. Both the cost and features of mobile broadband can vary, and therefore you need to take a look and see what you are getting for your money. You should look at factors such as the monthly cost, the connection fee, the download limits, speeds, and coverage. Also remember to look at contract lengths before you make your decision.
Australian mobile broadband providers
You can choose from a number of mobile broadband providers in Australia, which means that you can select from a variety of packages in order to find one suited to your needs. The providers include:
BigPond Mobile Broadband:
Australia's largest Internet Service Provider, BigPond offers a wide range of solutions for those that want to access the Internet, which includes mobile broadband, wireless solutions, ADSL, and cable. You can enjoy some very good deals and competitive prices.
Dodo Mobile Broadband:
This communications firm offers a vast range of services for businesses and private consumers, and this includes ADSL, dial up access, wireless, and 3G broadband access. There are plans to suit all sorts of needs and pockets.
Optus Mobile Broadband:
Described as an Australian leader in integrated telecommunications, Optus offers some great deals and competitively priced packages for your Internet access needs, including wireless/mobile plans, dial up plans, and broadband plans.
3 Mobile Broadband:
The first to launch 3G access in Australia, 3 is able to offer value for money and plans to suit all. You can get a great deal on a mobile broadband bundle with 3, and this communications giant describes itself as a leader in 3G technology.
Vodafone Mobile Broadband:
Offering a range of communications tools, devices, and services, Vodafone is able to provide some very good 3G mobile broadband packages and is planning to bring out an increasing number of exciting and competitively priced mobile broadband plans.
You need to take the time to look at the different options and offers from these providers, and check out the features and benefits of the mobile broadband plans as well as the prices.
How to go about choosing the right mobile broadband package
Before you take the plunge with mobile broadband it is important that you give some consideration with regards to what you want from the service and what you intend to use it for, as this will ultimately help you to get the right package for your needs. Some of the factors that you need to think about before you make a decision include:
- What you will use the service for
- How often/how much you will use the service
- How much you can afford to pay each month
- What sort of download restrictions you can realistically accept
- Whether there will be sufficient coverage based on the areas you plan to use the service
- What sort of modem device you will need
- What sort of contract you are looking for
- How reliable the provider is in terms of connectivity and service
Those that plan to use the service on a regular basis, such as business users, will need to be more stringent on what sort of download limits they are prepared to accept.
Advantages and disadvantages of mobile broadband
Mobile broadband offers complete flexibility, mobility, ease, and convenience, but it is also necessary to look at the downside of this technology as well as the upside. The great things about mobile broadband technology include:
- The ability to get online wherever and whenever you like providing there is mobile phone coverage in the area
- The ability to access the Internet via broadband whilst on the move
- The availability of competitively priced mobile broadband packages
- The ability to access the Internet even if you do not have or do not want a landline
Some of the disadvantages with mobile broadband technology include:
- The restrictive download limits imposed by providers due to the cost of transferring data across 3G networks
- Lack of packages that offer unlimited broadband access via a 3G network due to the risk of jamming up networks through increased traffic
- No guarantee of connection, as some areas may have no mobile phone coverage or very weak signals
What does the future hold in store for 3G Mobile Broadband?
Whilst mobile broadband is a relatively new technology it is already looking forward to an exciting and bright future. The popularity of mobile broadband has become more and more evident over recent months, and many firmly believe that the number of people taking advantage of this technology is set to boom over the coming years.
With this in mind providers are continually working on improvements to make 3G technology better and faster, and with demand for the service resulting in greater competition prices are also being driven down, which is great news for consumers.
Whilst mobile broadband is not without its problems, such as download restrictions and slow speeds, it is most likely that when the technology evolves and 4G technology comes into play problems such as these can be easily dealt with and consumers will be able to enjoy an even more satisfying mobile broadband experience.
4G broadband is the new superfast mobile broadband which will offer super fast speeds of up to 100Mbs. 4G mobile broadband is set to revolutionise the way we get online on our phones or with mobile broadband. You can read more here about 4g broadband plans for Australia.