Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ditch The Dongle! - Easier Internet Access On The Road

    A few years ago I had to figure out how to have reasonable internet access speeds while traveling on the road. I mean...I HAD to make sure I could write these articles no matter where I was! At that point the best bet was a USB "dongle" from Sprint with a portable router that was compatible with it. That gave me 4G speeds for every device within the tiny router's range. But the router was power hungry and need recharging quite often.That limited the amount of use pretty dramatically.

Now...there is a better way.

The "Dongle"
I used to have a Sprint data plan only. This just meant I had no voice calling and for the USB dongle I didn't have the ability to use it anyway. The best part about it? It was unlimited. No caps on data at all. It was an "all you can eat" plan, grandfathered in from a few years ago. Mainly I did this since my Verizon phone, at the time, wasn't capable of being a "hotspot" for WiFi. What's all that mean? Simply, I couldn't use my phone as a router so that all my devices that needed internet access could get online at the same time. I could "tether" the phone via USB to a laptop, but that didn't work with my ultra-lite android based tablet/netbook from Asus. When I finally was forced into getting a new phone. (Yes, I had a Motorola StarTac forever! Sue worked GREAT!) The new phone had WiFi hotspot capability AND a great data plan. So I could ditch 2 pieces of equipment (one that required frequent charging!)  for just my phone!

The "Dongle" Connected To The Router
Be aware, if you have a phone with a limited data plan, it is very easy to go above those limits when using it for internet access. Take a look at your plan and figure out how much you use on a regular, monthly basis. Usually, you can set your phone to alert you when you get to a set you don't go over.

I haven't tried using the a phone...when accessing the internet. So I am unsure whether that will work. It's rare I have to be on the phone AND go online at the same time, so it may not come up at all. The downside? Well, I used to have the Sprint dongle and a Verizon phone so I had two different networks to choose from. Sometimes one will work when the other doesn't. Now I am down to one network. Depending where you travel, this may or may not be an issue at all. I tend to be "off the beaten path" so good signal can be hard to come by.

As always...Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV) so test it out for yourself before taking the plunge. What works for me..MAY NOT work for you. Probably will be fine, but Who Knows?

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"


  1. Even better, if you have the old Verizon unlimited data plan (or even a data plan -but be careful of overages), you can download one of two apps, Pdanet+ or Foxfi and use your Samsung (and maybe other) cell phone as a wifi hotspot (or tether), with no extra charges. I know Verizon doesn't like it, but I've used these apps for years and saved lots of money.

  2. Dave,
    You can absolutely use any app you like to accomplish this! Some carriers are including "tethering" and hotspotting with their preinstalled applications.


    Rich "The Wanderman"


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