Mobile Broadband

Huawei Portable Mobile Router.

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TP-Link Mobile Router.

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A Mobile router is a device the same facility as a normal broadband router but rather than providing the backhaul over copper or fibre connections, it is provided via the mobile network. There are a number of factors to take into account when considering using a mobile router rather than a standard router :

  • Speed : The connection speed of the mobile router depends on the strength and usage of the mobile signal locally. However in areas of good 4G signal a speed of 40Mbps is quite likely. The maximum speed of a broadband signal with FTTC is 76Mbps and this can often be attenuated by the boradband supplier depending on the broadband contract. A usual contract of 38Mbps is comparible with the mobile speed.
  • Capacity :How much data, per month, is used. Broadband contracts will usually have an unlimited amount of data available. There are mobile SIM contracts that give the same unlimited data. Lower capped data limits may in reality not be an issues except for users that do a lot of online gaming or watch home movies.
  • Price : An contract for a mobile SIM only with Three is £20pcm and a 38Mbps broadband contacts with BT is around £25pcm. So these are similar.

Advantages of a mobile router :The broadband may be packed up and taken to a new address, used in a vehicle, used on holiday. This can be a saving in cost compared to prices charged in hotels, trains etc. Additionally a land line is not necessary and the cost of such, as added by mbroadnband suppliers to the contract is not needed.

Disadvantages of a mobile router :The mobile signal varies more than the fixed broadband especially at times of heavy mobile use. To use mobile broadband a good signal is needed to get a usable speed comparible to a broadband speed

Mobile broadband provided by 4G in an area of good coverage is comparible to the standard fixed broadband. Additionally a mobile broadband is "mobile". Developments of 5G will improve the speeds of mobile broadband as will FTTP for standard broadband. Heavy broadband users will often find that a fixed broadband is the best, but for others it is more in the balance.

To deliver FTTP in the UK, the copper telephone wires used to deliver the backhaul need to be replaced. One solution is to install fibre in the streets at a considerable cost of digging up roads and pavements. Another option is to use 5G as the backhaul to the cabinet thus merging the distinction between the two flavours of broadband.