If you’re a digital nomad or you work remotely, it’s important that you’re able to get internet access wherever and whenever you need to. I’m taking a look at how to get internet anywhere on your laptop – no matter where you are in the world.
The best internet connection options for your laptop
Options for mobile internet for laptops can be broken down into mobile hotspots and USB modems, satellite connections, and public WiFi. Depending if you’re just doing light work and browsing, or whether you need to take video calls or upload/download large files, you’ll need to think about things like speed, performance, and data consumption when it comes to alternative portable internet connections.
Tethering from your mobile phone
This is my go-to method for connecting my laptop to get internet anywhere. I use this when the WiFi at my Airbnb or hotel is unsteady or unavailable. Most of us take our phones everywhere with us, so we have a built-in hotspot in our pocket.
All Android and Apple phones, and most other current model phones have a hotspot option. You’ll find it in your phone settings, and it’s easy to set up and get online with your laptop.
The only problem you’ll face here is if the mobile network is weak in your location. And also if you need to jump on a video call or download large files – you’ll chew through your data pretty fast this way. My iPhone also starts to overheat when I’m tethering for long periods, and the battery drains faster than normal.
Mobile hotspots and USB modems
Unreliable wifi is a fact of life when you travel frequently or full time. One of the best ways to ensure you can get internet anywhere, at any time, is by carrying a mobile WiFi hotspot. These are tiny, self-contained devices that turn a mobile signal and into a wifi connection.
The main benefits to hotspots are that they’re super portable, easy to use and they make it simple for you to access the internet while you travel. They’re also wireless, so you don’t have the hassle of carrying power cords and cables when you’re on the move.
Recommended mobile hotspots:
- GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G MiFi Mobile Hotspot – this is Amazon’s top seller for global wifi hotspot devices
- NetGear Nighthawk M1 4G Hotspot
- NetGear 4G Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot (fast speed)
- Huawei E5576-320 4G Unlocked Mobile WiFi Hotspot (a consumer favorite)
- GL.iNET GL-MT300N-V2 Pocket Hotspot (highly rated for performance)
- SkyRoam – a popular digital nomad favorite
A USB modem is all you need to set up your laptop and get internet anywhere. But you’ll need a SIM card and a data plan that works with your local cellular network, or a device that works with an eSIM card for this to work.
You can check out international SIMs to get wireless internet for your laptop here:
The main thing you need to remember with this method of internet connection is to check whether your data plan, SIM, and device support 4G or 3G. If everything is synced up properly, you won’t have any problems.
Companies like Starlink are aiming to deliver fast, seamless internet connections to everyone’s laptops from anywhere in the world. However, they don’t help you get internet anywhere just yet – but Starlink is expanding fast.
You can sign up for latest updates here.
The downside is that you’ll also need to carry extra bits and pieces in your backpack like modems and a satellite antenna. It also relies on a direct connection between your laptop and the satellite – so if it’s stormy, rainy, or cloudy, you might still end up with no internet. As technology improves, this method of internet connectivity will only get better, but we’re still in the early stages of satellite connection that can reach anyone, anywhere.
Free public Wifi
This is an obvious one, but it’s no less important. As WiFi networks grow, there’s more opportunity to connect to free public and city wifi than ever before. Central squares, transport hubs, parks, and beaches often have free internet. Check your wifi options to see which networks are open on your laptop.
Other options are of course cafes (where you’ll need to buy something to connect to their internet), hotel lobbies, supermarkets, malls, transport hubs, and department stores.
The most important thing to remember is that these public internet networks are NOT secure, and anybody with evil intentions can easily access all the information on your laptop. So if you don’t want strangers snooping around in your computer, sign up for a secure VPN service. I’ve used and recommend NORD VPN and Express VPN – two of the most popular and high security VPNs on the market.
That’s my summary on how to get internet anywhere
That’s your crash course on the fastest, eastiest options to get internet anywhere. I always recommend that you do your own in-depth research to find a portable internet connection device that works for your specific needs. Digital nomads travel in many different ways and have wildly different needs – so it’s important that you find the right option before you purchase 🙂
Rachael is a full-time digital nomad and freelance copywriter for B2B and SaaS companies. She’s worked with brands like Unbounce, Biteable, Datacom, Viddyoze, and Owler.
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