What is portable WiFi router and how to use one

We have become accustomed to having internet in the palm of our hand 24 hours a day, whenever we need it so when we travel and the excessive costs of data roaming come into play we become frustrated. This is where a portable WiFi router saves the day, hoorah! It might sound and look very high tech but these palm sized gadgets can get you online, anywhere in the world, at affordable prices and they are very easy to use.

Portable wifi devices

What is a portable WiFi router?

They are essentially a portable WiFi hotspot that enables you to set up your own secure WiFi network, wherever you are.  There are two parts that make them work; the actual portable WiFi device and the data SIM card that goes inside. They are compatible with all WiFi enables devices including phones, laptops, tablets and iPads, games consoles, cameras etc.

How easy are they to use?

The answer is incredibly. Once charged it is simply a case of popping in a SIM card and switching it on, then within seconds you can be surfing the internet on several devices simultaneously. Some companies only sell locked portable WiFi hotspots, this means you can only use that companies SIM card inside – this can therefore make it expensive to use when you travel.  It’s best to get an unlocked WiFi router so you can use any SIM inside, that way you can always get a different SIM if necessary to keep your costs low in the country you are visiting.

How reliable are they?

Portable devices vary in particular capabilities but as long as there is network coverage in the destination you are in you will be able to access the internet. Most portable WiFi hotspots can connect up to 10 devices and give you decent internet speeds, the Alcatel Y858V 4G Hotspot is a great example of this and affordable too.  For those that are after something top of the range the Huawei E5786s 4G+ Mobile WiFi boasts super fast 4G+ download speeds of up to 300mbps and gives you up to 500 hours on standby.  If you are less fussed about internet speed you can pick up a portable hotspot like the ZTE MF65 which certainly won’t break the bank!

using portable wifi on a tablet while travelling


What can I use a portable WiFi router for?

You can use a portable WiFi router when you travel; whether for business or pleasure.  You can connect you and your family’s devices up to a secure network so you can all get online affordably.  If you are travelling on business you can ensure you keep productivity levels high while you are out and about.  You can also use these devices at home, in a small office or in the car.  Most portable WiFi hotspots are fairly small and light weight so you are not restricted where you can take them.  Just make sure that the SIM you use inside gives good data rates in the country you are using it in.

What options are out there?

There is a huge variation of portable WiFi hotspots on the market; these vary quite a lot by:

Size: some are pocket size some are larger. 

Functionality: Some have basic functionality (i.e. giving you internet access) where some have additional features like also being a powerbank to charge your devices,  the ability to send and receive SMS and some might also have external storage. 

Compatibility:  Although all WiFi hotspots are compatible with all WiFi enabled devices, there are options to plug direct in to your laptop or tablet using a WiFi USB, where others are a stand a lone gadget that can work without a laptop.

Cost: The range in cost is actually quite vast; if you just want to get online when you travel a cheaper one might do, but if you plan on supporting a small office or want fast download speeds you may have to spend a bit more.

Speed: There are both 3G and 4G WiFi hotspots on the market.

Locked/Unlocked: We covered this above - make sure you have the freedom to use any SIM inside so you can always get the best rates in the country you are in.


The best thing about portable hotspots is that they allow you to keep in touch whilst on the move. Whether it is updating your Facebook status with your travel photos, answering emails or finding local attractions. These handy gadgets are ideal for those times when there is no free WiFi and to safe guard yourself against hackers that prey on open WiFi connections. Check out our blog post on how to select the best WiFi hotspot for your needs or you can  browse our online store for the lowest costs on a range of portable WiFi brands.

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