How can I get Internet on a tablet when I’m out of Wi-Fi range?

Linda Woodrow April 25, 2013

I want to buy a 10″ or so tablet and connect it to the Internet when I’m out of Wi-Fi range, without needing to tether it to a smartphone. How would I do this? Via a dongle maybe? Or a Mi-Fi?

Anyone have any advice? Thanks!

  1. Jennifer Kirkley
    April 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I was handed down an original iPad that is wifi/3G capable, but I couldn't justify the extra $20+ a month for the wireless 3G service, so instead I purchase a mobile hotspot from walmart (Internet On The Go) for $80. It is a pay as you go option, allowing you to purchase data for additional $$. Nice thing is they give you 2 options on how to use the data -- get more data that expires within a month, or less data that never expires. For example, a $10 data card will either get you 1GB you must use in 30 days, or 500 MB to last a lifetime. The hotspot also comes with a free data offer initially. It uses the Sprint network, so will work anywhere there is Sprint coverage.

    I have found it to be the perfect alternative to the monthly 3G service. It has come in quite handy, and while a larger expense at the outset, it has already proven to be the more cost effective and convenient method to still be able to use my iPad when on the go.

    • Linda Woodrow
      April 25, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Hi Jennifer, I'm in Australia, but if such a thing is available here, it would be perfect for me too. I shall look into it. Thanks.

  2. ha14
    April 25, 2013 at 10:17 am

    if it si new tablet you want to by go for tablet dual connection, wifi/3G, if you already have tablet wifi enables there should be 3G dongle some may have dual band options.

    • Linda Woodrow
      April 25, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      Thanks ha14. I haven't got one, so that looks like the solution.

  3. Rob H
    April 25, 2013 at 9:27 am

    4 choices in order of cost:

    Tethered mobile phone (may be more hassle than it's worth - phone contract may not permit this use and connecting the devices may not be simple)

    USB dongle, takes a sim card and plugs into USB socket. Disadvantage: tablet must have a USB port. Dongles are usually full size USB, tablets use mini-USB so you need a conversion cable (thats an advantage as it means you can position the dongle for best mobile signal less dependent of the tablet)

    A MiFi router/modem - advantages: it's a separate device, no cables it just creates a WiFi hotspot, use not restricted to connecting just the one tablet, if necessary you can be able to position the device some distance from the tablet to get a good mobile signal.. Disadvantages: cost, battery powered (needs recharging)(avoid any powered by mains adapter or USB) (Google for "mobile broadband hotspot mifi")

    Tablet with SIM slot

    When choosing tablets I think connectivity and upgrade options are important so I'd be looking for (in order of desirability) USB (including USB charging), SD memory card slot, SIM, HDMI but those may come at a cost premium. As far as I'm concerned: no USB, no SD, no sale...

    • Linda Woodrow
      April 25, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Thanks Rob

    • Rob H
      April 25, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Tethering: you may be able to tether using bluetooth connection too.

    • Linda Woodrow
      April 25, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Trouble is I don't have a smartphone. I live in Australia and I live rural, and I have a very old "countrylink" phone that gets voice but no data reception just about anywhere. If I have a tablet that goes in my handbag that can get data reception when I'm within range of some kind of network, I think I'd have the perfect combo for my circumstances.

  4. Rajaa Chowdhury
    April 25, 2013 at 2:50 am

    Go in for a tablet which supports both WiFi and cellular data like 3G/4G LTE data slot. You will get it in iPAD, Android Tablets and Windows Tablets, all of them. However, you need to check that does it have a sim slot to support cellular data. Alternatively, you can use a USB dongle, however again you need to check if the feature is supported and which are the brand of supported dongles for the tablet. However, would recommend you to go in for a tablet which supports both WiFi and 3G/4G LTE. Attaching usb dongles are a hassle and are not very convenient while in move. Examples, models available with both features are iPAD, iPAD Mini, Google Nexus 7, Google Nexus 10, etc. The models mentioned have both only WiFi models and ones which support both. There are thousands of such models available in the market from different brands. Also very important, if you go for an Android Tablet, do check that the tablet model supports Google Play natively. Ask specific questions to the sales guy as I pointed out and then purchase after you are satisfied with all the answers.

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