The innovation of the internet knows no bounds, and in today’s modern world, having access to the power of the World Wide Web can often mean the difference between a successful endeavor, or one that falls short of expectations. Of course, it’s also one of society’s most influential mediums, giving virtually everyone access to information, knowledge, and inspiration through a plethora of easily-obtainable smart devices.
While most mobile devices feature their own LTE network for world-wide internet access, it’s become increasingly common to use the carrier’s (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, etc.) expansive service coverage for on-the-go endeavors. Many of today’s most advanced smartphones even encompass their very own hotspot technology, allowing individuals to utilize the provider’s internet connectivity on a number of other compatible devices. However, thanks to rising data costs and an ever-changing focus on the amount, speed, and reliability of your service’s coverage, it wasn’t long before the mobile Wi-Fi hotspot — a powerful alternative to the tethered devices that were traditionally utilized fo internet connectivity — was born. Below, we’ll outline the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspots to enhance your workflow, whether you’re commuting to and from work, heading to the other side of the state for a panel, or flying across the country for a business-oriented endeavor.
What Is A Mobile Hotspot?
Before we dive headfirst into our guide on the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspots that are currently available, let’s clear up the confusion around what these virtuous devices actually are.
Essentially, Wi-Fi hotspots are access points that utilize a provider’s LTE coverage and convert cellular signals (often 3G and 4G LTE) into Wi-Fi. In the same vein as a traditional router and modem, the service provider’s data passes from, and into, the device, creating a centralized point for peripherals like your smartphone, laptop, and other compatible objects to tether alongside. As you might have already guessed, the ability to utilize a world-wide connection courtesy of reliable mobile providers like Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint provides users with a surprising amount of power, especially within the realms of business, creation, and acquisition. No longer are workers stuck within the confines of their office, home, or local Starbucks to utilize important features like HD video conferencing, significantly bolstered upload and download speeds, and capabilities that are tailored toward the travel-savvy individual.
However, the ability to peruse the World Wide Web through a secure (and often encrypted) connection comes at a price. For most carriers, you’ll have to pay separately for your own data plan; specifically, one that’s catered toward the type of work you’ll be doing while on the road. For example, a video editor might need an elaborate plan that offers the fastest upload and download speeds, exceptional coverage, and large data limits, which means that plans of 20-30 Gigabytes per month might not be enough. As you might expect, this leads to a heightened cost of entry. For individuals who utilize their Wi-Fi hotspot for things that are far less demanding, monthly costs will be substantially less. Because of this, it’s important to research which provider will secure the best deal for you, based on what you’re looking for in your hotspot. Below, we’ll run through a few of the things you should look for when picking out your next mobile Wi-Fi setup.
What To Look For
Tips & Tricks
Where Are You Going? It’s true that mobile hotspots can be the quintessential devices for a travel-oriented workflow, but if you’re heading outside of your local area, it’s important to understand (and research) which providers will offer the best coverage for you. A trip to the other side of your state can cause you to drop out of your normal coverage areas, meaning that you’ll become a victim of below-average upload and download speeds, spotty connectivity, and possible caps on how much data you can transfer via the service provider’s connection. If you’re heading to the other side of a country, and even abroad, the propensity for issues to arise is further exacerbated, with some providers placing harsh restrictions on their overseas data plans. Before heading to an area far from where you’re comfortable, look into the regulations and restrictions revolving around your provider’s most utilized hotspots — this could save you a lot of pain, heartbreak, and money in the long run.
What Are You Using It For? As we stated in an earlier portion of our guide, costs for a mobile Wi-Fi connection can ramp up considerably based on what type of work you’re going to be doing while on the road. Most service providers will subject their users to a “baseline” data allowance, meaning that you’ll be paying a flat subscription to a plan with an allotted amount of content that can be transferred over the service. If you surpass this limit, you’ll be subjected to overages that will often cost much more than your original plan. If you’re a content creator who’s looking to transfer, edit, and upload videos and photos on the road, you’ll need to do the math regarding how much content you’re going to ship while using your mobile hotspot. This way, you’ll have a rough idea of the type of speeds, coverage, and limits you’ll face when searching for the perfect mobile device. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a hotspot catered toward general use, like checking your email, reading articles, and working on documents while on-the-road, you won’t need to worry as much about extravagant data allowances. As such, you’ll be able to save quite a bit of money on your quintessential Wi-Fi setup. Now, let’s dive into our guide on the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspots.
Our Favorite Picks
Ellipsis Jetpack 4G LTE Prepaid Mobile Hotspot
Verizon’s Ellipsis Jetpack 4G LTE Prepaid Mobile Hotspot is as dependable as you’d imagine, boasting an expansive listing of internet-savvy attributes like multi-device support, operational status indicators, and lightning-fast speeds to keep you on top of your workflow, no matter where you are. Not only does the Jetpack allow you to pair with up to eight separate devices, but its 2100 mAh battery also ensures that you’ll enjoy over 10 hours of continuous Wi-Fi connectivity on the company’s reliable 802.11b/g/n wireless network. The Jetpack’s ultra-compact silhouette can be packed, stowed, and retrieved with ease, making it a go-to peripheral for the traveler who might need unprecedented access to the web at a moment’s notice.
Battery: 2100 mAh / 10 Hours
Number Of Devices: 8
T-Mobile’s Alcatel Linkzone Wi-Fi Hotspot is the perfect device for users who are looking for a dependable, all-encompassing device that’s also fostered under one of the world’s most revered service providers. Its removable 1800 mAh battery allows for six hours of continuous use, and over 300 hours on standby, giving users a relatively modest window to boot up, work, and ship their content in a timely manner. The Alcatel Linkzone marries elaborate pairing capabilities, which allow for up to 15 devices to operate under T-Mobile’s blazing-fast 4G LTE Spectrum network, with the dependable coverage offered by the brand’s extensive service map. Not only is the Alcatel a monster when it comes to multi-device use, but it’s also a sleek, compact powerhouse that gives you uninterrupted access to the power of the web while out and about.
Battery: 1800 mAh / 6 Hours
Number Of Devices: 15
Huawei E5770 Mobile Hotspot
Although Huawei’s E5770 Mobile Hotspot isn’t the best choice for users in the USA, it offers exceptional coverage for our readers from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. As the dark horse on this list, this one-of-a-kind device provides blazing-fast 4G LTE, an insanely-powerful 5200 mAh battery, and multi-peripheral connectivity for users who are looking to change the game when it comes to their on-the-go workflow. As one of the only Wi-Fi hotspots to feature a built-in microSD slot and Ethernet port, the E5770 boasts attributes that are seldom found in other comparable products, giving business-oriented users a leg up on their everyday checklist. Up to 10 devices can operate through the hotspot’s expansive network, which allows for over 20 hours of usage. Better yet, Huawei’s E5770 isn’t tethered to a specific carrier, giving interested parties a choice when it comes to SIM card utilization.
Battery: 5200 mAh / 20 Hours
Number Of Devices: 10
Jetpack MiFi 8800L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
As another Verizon entry on our list, the Jetpack Mi-Fi 8800L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is targeted toward power users who are looking to cut the cable when it comes to traditional Wi-Fi usage. With an attractive connectivity map of over 200 countries, this compact hotspot boasts multiband capabilities, a router that allows for the use of 5GHz or 2.4GHz bands simultaneously, and a built-in Auto VPN that ensures a secure connection, no matter where you are. You’ll be able to work all-day thanks to the 8800L’s 4400 mAh battery, QuickCharge technology, and optimized hardware, helping you to keep a stable connection throughout your workday. Aesthetically, the Mi-Fi is a dream, utilizing an intuitive 2.4-inch color touchscreen, menus, and prompts that help to orient the device’s various attributes. What’s more, you’ll be able to charge your secondary devices using the 8800L’s multi-functional USB ports, meaning that, even when you’re unplugged, your work will still take top priority.
Battery: 4400 mAh / 24 Hours
Number Of Devices: 15
The Skyroam Solis is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing offerings on this list, but don’t let that fool you; this 4G LTE powerhouse is also as capable as they come when it comes to device support, connectivity, and Wi-Fi capabilities. A 6000 mAh power bank allows the Solis to operate for 16+ hours, giving you access to quality-of-life improvements like multi-device charging, coverage in over 130+ countries, and a service map that isn’t tied to a traditional cellular carrier. From the cities and coasts of America, all the way to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia, Skyroam’s reliable 4G network is available anywhere, thanks to a virtual SIM that’s unique to the company. Up to five devices can tether to the Solis’ encrypted connection at one time, allowing for multifaceted users to keep their phone, tablet, laptop, and reader up-to-date. If you’re looking to make your next destination (ie. the beach) into a powerful work area, look no further than the Skyroam Solis.
Battery: 6000 mAh / 16 Hours
Number Of Devices: 5
TP-Link M7350 V4 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
TP-Link’s M7350 V4 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is one of the most reliable devices around, allowing users to complement their workflow with any 4G-capable SIM card. This personal dual-band Wi-Fi hotspot is perfect for individuals who want to multitask while on the road, offering connectivity for up to 10 devices at 150Mbps download speeds, and 50Mbps upload speeds. The M7350’s blazing fast 4G comes alongside an optimized 2.4GHz or 5GHz dual-band orientation, allowing interested parties to declutter their device’s channels for speedier use. With the TP-Link M7350, you’ll be able to stream movies, download files, and host video meetings without worrying about a sudden lapse in connection, thanks to the company’s expansive coverage map.
Battery: 2550 mAh / 10 hours
Number Of Devices: 10
Netgear Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router
The AT&T-tethered Netgear Nighthawk LTE Mobile Hotspot Router relies on one of the world’s most renowned companies for its coverage and includes a dual-band, dual-concurrent Wi-Fi designation that can stream HD movies, music, and games through the company’s trusted 4G LTE bands. Boasting one of the most incredible connectivity ratios on our list, this 20-device powerhouse utilizes encrypted internet access, device blocking, and content filtering for the safe perusal of the web, while also allowing for money-saving practices like data offloading whenever you’re in range of an existing network. The device’s 24-hour life comes courtesy of a large 5,040 mAh battery, allowing users to work day in and day out, without the need for a constant connection to a power source.
Battery: 5040 mAh / 24 Hours
Number Of Devices: 20
Netgear AC810-100EUS Aircard Mobile Hotspot
Netgear’s AC810-100EUS Aircard Mobile Hotspot is yet another device that helps you to share an uninterrupted 4G LTE connection with all of your compatible devices. From your laptop and mobile phone, all the way to your favorite e-reader, the Aircard supports up to 15 of your most-used peripherals for active use over one of the world’s premier wireless networks. A 2930 mAh battery offers close to 11 hours of operating time (260 hours while on standby), ensuring that the device is ready to operate whenever you’re in need. Like Netgear’s other offerings, an intuitive touchscreen allows users to control everything from connections, channels, and settings, all at the swipe of a finger. Better yet, the AC810 is an absolute bargain when it comes to exceptional build quality, making it one of the most robust offerings on the market. If you’re looking for an all-in-one hotspot that won’t let you down when the going gets rough, the Aircard might be just what you’re looking for.
Battery: 2930 mAh / 11 Hours
Number Of Devices 15
10 Best Lightweight Laptops
Now that you’re ready to head outside of the office and take your work to a faraway destination, check out our guide on the best lightweight laptops to find the perfect, travel-ready workstation.