Working From Home Using a Mobile Internet Connection

  • Added:
    Dec 07, 2013
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home office
home office
Photo by Sean MacEntee

As the speed of mobile Internet broadband increases, it has made it possible for those who work from home to make use of mobile broadband, rather than a fixed broadband system.  Mobile broadband requires a small dongle to connect you to the Internet, or a Mi-Fi Router.  A dongle is plugged into your computing device, or you can make use of a SIM card, which is inserted into your device.

This method of access to the Internet allows you to work from home, or work whilst on the go.  An alternate option that is available for those who work from home is to use their smartphone as a means of connection to the Internet as a wireless modem or router.

Coverage

Prior to signing up for a contract, you should ensure that you are able to get regular coverage in your area.  You can make use of comparison websites, such as uSwitch, to determine which areas are covered by which providers.  All that you need to determine this is to enter your postcode in the appropriate place on the website.  This will provide you with results showing you the options you have available and the median speed available in your area.

You should bear in mind that the information received on these websites is merely an indication.  You may, for example, experience signal problems if there is a large building blocking your direct path to the transmitter.  To confirm adequate coverage, you should contact your provider of choice once you have done your comparisons.

Speed

Depending on the type of work you intend doing from home, the speed of your service could be a deciding factor.  Speeds are dependent on the area you reside in and the type of service you obtain.  With the introduction of 4G, you are now able to obtain much higher speeds than previously available. 
The speeds offered by networks often drop during peak times.  You should make use of the cooling off period you have to determine the exact speeds your service is able to reach.

Contracts

If your intention is to work from home using your mobile broadband connection, a pay as you go option may not suit you at all.  It could become an expensive option, depending on your bandwidth usage.

When you sign up for a contract, you should check the contract length.  This portion of the broadband market changes constantly and you do not want to be tied into a lengthy contract that will hinder you if a better deal is available at some point in the future.  The other side of the coin is that longer contracts often offer more add-ons and could be cheaper on a periodic basis.  Many of the longer term deals and more expensive plans offer a free dongle.

Costs

The costs for mobile broadband differ greatly.  Since you will be using the mobile broadband connection for your work, you will probably not be interested in a pay as you go option.  The costs for pay monthly contracts will be dependent upon your requirements.  Some providers offer special deals regarding the type of mobile broadband you opt for.  You may be able to obtain a laptop or tablet free or at a reduced rate if you sign up for a longer contract time period or one of the more expensive plans.  There are other options available, such as wireless facilities.  You should do a comparison on a site such as uSwitch to determine the best deal for your needs.

Usage

Most providers place a limit on the data allowance you are offered with mobile broadband.  Before you sign up for a contract, you should try and determine your average usage figures.  This will ensure that you have sufficient data to cover your usage as you will be charged for excess usage and you do not want to run out of data allowance when you have important folders to send to a client.
You should check what the excess usage charges will be in the event that you go over your limit.  You should also check to see if you will receive reminders at certain usage points.  There are providers who will send you an email when your usage levels reach 50%, 75% and 90%.  You may be offered the facility to set the points at which you would prefer to receive reminders.  This allows you to either top-up or limit your usage for the month.

Options

To make use of mobile Internet for work, you have a couple of options.  You can opt for 3G mobile broadband.  This is an adequate method of using mobile broadband.  However, with the advent of 4G, you can obtain a much faster solution.  Most providers offer a free 4G dongle and you can obtain speeds of up to 15 Mbps on the regular 4G plans.  EE, the pioneer in 4G, also offers consumers a package called 4G Extra which offers speeds of up to 30Mbps. 
This level of speed is comparable to fixed home broadband services, but it comes with added benefits.  You can make use of 3G and 4G at home or when you are on the go. 

If you have a Smartphone that offers a tethering facility, you can use it to set up a wireless connection.  This involves turning your mobile phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot and sharing its 3G or 4G connection.  Once you have enabled tethering on your mobile phone, you will be able to access the Internet if your computer has a wireless connection.  This is a simple method of using your mobile phone’s service instead of obtaining an additional contract for your computing device.  You should check if the mobile contract you sign up for allows tethering.
You may also have the facility, depending on the type of mobile phone you own, to connect your phone to your laptop by using a USB cable.  If you have a Bluetooth enabled computing device, you may have the facility to connect in that manner.

The use of mobile broadband to work from home has become a more attractive option with the introduction of high speed mobile broadband facilities.

Author's Profile

Phil Turner was asked by his wife to find her a suitable mobile Internet package so that she could work on the go. He visited sites such as uSwitch to view up to date comparisons on providers offering mobile broadband.


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