What is a portable WiFi and how does it work?

portable Wi-Fi has become one of the key elements in these times, thanks to the rise of teleworking. In this article we will review what portable Wi-Fi or MiFi are and how they work, in addition to talking a bit about the internet fees required to use them. We started!

Index of contents

  • Portable Wi-Fi, an essential device for teleworking
  • How does a portable WiFi work?
    • What disadvantages do they have and how can we solve them?
  • Internet rates for portable WiFi
  • Conclusions and how to choose the best models

Portable Wi-Fi, an essential device for teleworking

The laptop wifi is basically the equivalent to having a WiFi router like home, only being able to transport it wherever we want by using a battery and a wireless network connection. The idea of ​​this type of device is not to have to depend on the WiFi zone options of the mobile to connect other devices such as laptops or tablets when we are in a place without a fixed network connection.

Thus, a normal person who simply needs to connect his laptop to the Internet with mobile data from time to time surely does not need a portable wifi. But many people will look for a more professional solution , and have a device that is exclusively dedicated to it without their mobile data being in the way. This may be the case of all those people who telecommute from different locations, something that has precisely become more than common in recent times.

Then, we will not have to have several Internet connections contracted for a first and second residence, nor will we have to use networks that are not ours if we are in a hotel or in someone else’s house. We will only have to take with us the portable Wi-Fi device, which will even be used to have during a trip, and have mobile coverage for Internet access. Nor will we depend on the mobile or its own data network.

These devices are also often called by other names. The most common name is MiFi, although we can think of many more as mobile WiFi, portable router, portable modem, mobile access point, etc.

How does a portable WiFi work?

A portable WiFi works in a very similar way to a common 4G WiFi router. That is, they take the signal from the closest mobile network to which your SIM card can be connected, and by creating a WiFi network they will distribute it doing exactly the same functions as a router. This connection will work exactly the same as a normal fixed router, but with all the advantages of a mobile device.

In order to fulfill its function as a laptop, they will have a battery as we have explained. This round is usually 2000 mAh, a not inconsiderable capacity that is similar to what mobile phones had just a few years ago, and usually gives a time of use that is not particularly high, of about 8 hours. Other more advanced alternatives give us even 15 hours, for example, and 3000 mAh or more.

When choosing a portable WiFi, what we must take into account is the capacity and battery life, the WiFi technology used and the maximum number of simultaneous connections.

Due to the software band, the operation of a portable WiFi is clearly oriented to offer the greatest comfort to the user. The idea behind these devices is to make life easier for people, so that all you have to do is connect the SIM card, turn on the device and be able to navigate instantly, having the sole responsibility of connecting the necessary devices.

Finally, as alternative features that we can find, we could mention  the possibility of connecting microSD cards in which to share multimedia content for all devices connected to the network, such as a traditional router.

In short, a portable WiFi is nothing more than the great evolution with respect to the old USB modems. These were previously the most popular option for connecting devices such as laptops without relying on a fixed connection. Now, we can connect as many devices as we want, we will have a battery to use them in any situation, we will not be limited to the options given by an operator, but we will have total freedom to connect the SIM card we want, and of course the speed and versatility in general they are much better.

What disadvantages do they have and how can we solve them?

It is clear that a portable WiFi is a device that gives us tremendous possibilities, but not everything is perfect and we are going to see some problems that we can find with them.

On the one hand, we have the battery life, which if we take the 8 hours that we mentioned before as a standard value then it is not excessively comfortable, it directly occupies the equivalent of a working day.

Given this, our most expensive alternative will be to bet on a device with a longer battery life, but what we can also do is use a powerbank to increase its duration. For just 15 or 20 euros we can get one that has between 5 and 10 times more capacity than the portable WiFi itself, and that will also help us to charge mobile phones or other devices.

Another concern could be having to pay for the data service of a separate SIM. We will now give you some keys to get a cheap data rate, but of course it is possible that you can take advantage of your current plan if your operator offers MultiSIM services.

Finally, one could mention the possible coverage problems that would completely undermine all the advantages of a portable Wi-Fi. The truth is that there is currently a great range of 4G, but it is true that there are areas where speed is poor, in addition to all those rural or remote areas where there will be little coverage, or momentary losses on highways and roads . It is important to choose an operator with the coverage that best suits us and take this inconvenience into account.

Internet rates for portable WiFi

Naturally, to enjoy a portable Wi-Fi you must have a SIM card with a suitable data plan for your use. The amount of GB required will depend entirely on the use that you are going to give the connected devices, and especially how much multimedia you are going to consume. It is more than clear that it is not the same to spend 1 hour checking e-mails than 1 hour watching Netflix.

If what you are going to do on your computer is exactly what you were doing until now, then surely you are interested in seeing the computer’s data usage. To do this, you will only have to search for “data usage” in the start menu, and you will find the amount of data used in the last month, as well as being able to specify a usage limit.

We are going to choose one or two of the best options that we currently find for the three main coverage in Spain (Movistar, Vodafone, Orange), focusing on those who offer the most data at the best price.

  • Xenet offers140GB of data for only 20 euros under the Orange and Movistar coverage.
  • Simyo gives us40GB for 28 euros with Orange coverage, the same as Lebara for 30 euros and with Vodafone coverage.
  • The Galician Rgives 30GB for only 16 euros, an excellent option for moderate uses, and the Catalan Fibracat a groundbreaking 100GB for 20 €. In both cases with Orange coverage.

Not all carriers can support using these types of devices with their data services. Check if there is any prohibition or limitation of tethering before hiring.

We also have unlimited data rates on the main operators.

  • Movistar infinite contract for 40 euros per month.
  • Orange Go Up (HD video) or Go Top (4K video) for € 36 and € 48 respectively.
  • Vodafone limited to 10Mbps for € 37 and maximum speed for € 48.
  • Yoigo Sinfín for € 32.

We insist that in each case it is very important to consult the conditions of the operator before any limitation they may impose. They could prohibit use with devices such as portable WiFi, or for example limit video playback to HD.

Conclusions and how to choose the best models

portable wifi is an ideal tool for all those who need internet for their computer or other devices everywhere, but they resort to it often so they do not want to be tied to the option of sharing mobile data. With portable Wi-Fi devices, you can have a separate device, with its own battery, in which to connect a SIM card to start enjoying a full Wi-Fi connection.

This is particularly useful for telecommuting on the rise, as many workers can carry out their work from anywhere, and in many cases a correct fixed network connection cannot be guaranteed. A portable WiFi will give the best that the mobile network has to offer, so it is certainly an interesting choice.

The market is full of these devices at very competitive prices. So if you want to learn which are the best portable wifi models and how to choose them , then do not hesitate to visit the complete guide that we link to, where you will have all this information and more.

We also recommend reading other articles about technology on our website:

  • Starlink network: everything you need to know | Internet for everyone
  • WiFi 6E What is it, news and improvements compared to normal WiFi 6?
  • How to turn your laptop into a WiFi repeater
  • What is VESA? Discover their relationship with monitors and televisions

We hope this article has been useful for you to learn the basic fundamentals of how a portable WiFi works!


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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