These days most of the devices that we are carrying are Wi-Fi enabled. Still, when you are traveling, be it for business or pleasure, it may be difficult to connect to the Internet, especially when you plan to use several devices that need access at the same time.
The good news is that portable Wi-Fi routers are here to stay, and each new product generation has a bigger signal range, a greater autonomy and other useful features. If you buy a portable Wi-Fi router, you will be able to create a hotspot, allowing all your devices to connect to the web.
Right now, most portable routers have the size of a credit card, but their features can range from basic to very complex. Read on to discover the things that really matter when it comes to buying a pocket Wi-Fi router.
- The number of simultaneously connected devices
I have mentioned that you can connect “all” your devices to a portable router at the beginning of the article, but the reality is that even standard, big sized routers have a limit. Most portable devices allow up to five connections, which should be more than enough for most people’s needs. Make sure to read the manual before making the purchase, though.
- High speed Internet / 4G support
We’ve all enjoyed Internet at 3G speeds, but it’s time to say good bye to it. Standard 3G connections can only provide up 7.2 Mbps, while 4G can easily reach 50 Mbps. Need I say more? Go for a portable router that supports 4G data cards, even if your current Internet provider only supports 3G speeds for now. You will thank me later, when they’ll update their infrastructure. Or when you change your Internet provider…
- Boot time
You want to purchase a router that boots up really fast, especially because you don’t want to waste precious battery juice waiting for things to happen. It is known that some providers optimize their routers, managing to get boot times of under 4-5 seconds.
Some routers allow you to plug in pen drives, and then are able to share the content on all the connected devices. If you need to share files on the go, be sure to pick a portable Wi-Fi router that has native support for external storage devices.
- Signal strength
Portable routers are small, so their internal antennas are small as well. And a small antenna size leads to a small gain, and thus a weak Wi-Fi signal. Still, some manufacturers allow you to connect an external, high gain antenna using a cable like this. Sure, if you go this route you are sacrificing portability somewhat, but this is the perfect setup when you need to stream video to your devices on the go, for example.
- Other accessories
Portable routers include small sized batteries. Someday, a clever engineer thought about making a router with a larger battery, with the goal of providing power to other devices as well. And this is exactly how routers that double as power banks were born. If your phone battery is empty most of the time, you will certainly benefit from purchasing a portable Wi-Fi router that offers this extra feature.
Armed with this information, you should be able to purchase a good router that ticks all your boxes. As always, don’t forget to ask your friends’ opinion, and even borrow a router that’s similar with the one that you intend to purchase – if it is possible to do so, of course.