Tips for Staying Connected with Wi-Fi and 4G on the Road

August 3, 2015 Updated: November 27, 2015

Do you need to stay connected on the go? It’s not always easy. With millions of holidaymakers hitting the road this summer, there’s a surge in demand in popular vacation destinations for reliable Wi-Fi and mobile broadband connections. This can all take a toll on the networks. And for those heading out to remote rural regions, finding a working connection can be a wild goose chase! Here are a few tips to stay connected on your travels, whether it’s to communicate with clients or upload your latest beach selfie.

1. Use On-board Wi-Fi networks

Epoch Times Photo

If you’re physically on the move, you’ll most likely be able to take advantage of some form of free Wi-Fi. Amtrak in the USA already offers it on many journeys, while free Wi-Fi is on its way for National Rail customers in the UK. Travelling by air? You should be able to access it on board many flights, but you’ll pay for the privilege still in most circumstances. You can buy a Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi pass for day or monthly use within the United States.

2. Tether your smartphone

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, one of the easiest ways to stay connected is by tethering your laptop to your smartphone. This means that you can use the local 3G or 4G network that your phone is connected to as a Wi-Fi signal for your computer, turning it into a mobile router. Be sure to check your mobile phone provider’s stance on this practice in advance, as some do charge you a fee for tethering. And if you’re travelling abroad, you may be on the hook for roaming fees as well. If your phone doesn’t have a Portable hotspot option, you can also download a third-party tethering app like FoxFi to enable this function.

3. Use a 4G Mobile Hotspot

Another option along these same lines is to tap into the local 4G network with the use of a mobile hotspot connection or device. These are known as “MiFi” devices or dongles, which can be plugged into the USB port of your laptop to connect to the local network. You’ll need to sign up for a subscription data service in most cases, but some are pay-as-you-go. If you have an older smartphone or don’t want to use up all of your battery power, this is a good alternative. Mobile hotspots also tend to work better in remote areas where your regular 4G from Nokia Networks signal may not be as strong.

4. Download Wi-Fi locator apps

If you’re not in the thick of the woods or a mountain cabin, there’s a good chance that you have some form of free Wi-Fi surrounding you – you simply must find it. Coffee shops, hotels, and even museums often offer free Wi-Fi that you can tap into, and more and more cities are setting up free Wi-Fi in public parks and plazas. To uncover these networks, a good option is to download a Wi-Fi locating app like JiWire.

Always be mindful of roaming charges when travelling abroad, particularly if using a portable mobile hotspot device. With free Wi-Fi and widespread 4G networks in many areas, chances are good that you’ll always be able to find a connection!