How Does Portable WiFi Work?

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Portable WiFi hotspots are becoming increasingly popular.

These gadgets allow you to connect to the internet wherever you want, whenever you want, even if you’re out and about.

These devices are also known as portable hotspots since you can use them anywhere there’s an Internet connection, such as coffee shops, airports, parks, etc.

If you’ve never used a portable WiFi hotspot before, then it might sound like a lot of hassle. After all, what if it doesn’t work where you want it to? What if it doesn’t have enough battery life?


A portable WiFi hotspot is a pocket-sized router that runs off of cellular towers to give you data while you’re abroad.

But once you get started using a portable WiFi device, you’ll realize it has its own set of advantages. So here’s some important information you will want to know about travel WiFi hotspots before buying yours.

What Is Portable WiFi and Why Do You Need It?

Portable is a pocket-sized router that enables you to use WiFi almost anywhere on Earth. Portable WiFi routers use 3G and 4G signals based on towers that support giving you WiFi.

You’ll need a portable WiFi router the most if you intend on traveling overseas. Investing in one of these devices prevents you from having to deal with the trouble of signing up for SIM cards overseas. Moreover, these gadgets are also well-suited for you who will travel to multiple countries.

How Do I Use Portable WiFi?

Since every company may have different ways to set up your portable WiFi, you should follow their instruction manual.

However, to give you an example. The pocket WiFi provider, Skyroam, requires you to download an app once you get your travel router. Afterward, you select your WiFi plan. Finally, set up your password and connect your devices.

How Much Does a Portable WiFi Network Cost?

Some companies may rent out their devices, or they may charge you to buy the router. While purchasing the router is over $100, you won’t have to pay a deposit. So going this route may save you money.

Regarding data costs, providers offer various mobile internet plans, including:

  • Per-GB: best if you don’t use a lot of data and aren’t traveling for long—at least $35 per 5 GB
  • Unlimited data: great if you use a lot of internet—at least $80
  • Monthly: great for more extended trips where you don’t use a lot of data—starting at $6

What Are the Benefits of Portable WiFi?

While yes, you could just purchase a SIM card in another country when you’re traveling. Or, if you’re venturing throughout your home country, you could just use your regular SIM card. First, however, you should explore the benefits below to see if portable WiFi routers best serve your lifestyle and workflow.

Portable WiFi Routers Don’t Drain Your Battery

Here’s a quick story. You need to hop on the internet with your laptop, yet you need to conserve your phone’s battery. What do you do?

Get a portable WiFi router.

If you’re using your phone as a mobile hotspot, it relays the internet to your phone and transfers it to your connected device. Unfortunately, doing so can suck your phone battery, which isn’t helpful when you need your phone the most.

You Don’t Need an Unlocked Phone

If you don’t want to unlock your phone or purchase an unlocked phone, portable WiFi routers serve as an excellent tool to still provide data while you’re abroad. Moreover, if you buy mobile WiFi for your trip, you won’t have to worry about incompatible SIM cards.

How Do I Select a Portable WiFi Device?

If you’ve decided that a portable WiFi device will best serve your needs, you’ll need to know how to shop for the best pocket router.

Keep reading to learn how to select the best travel adapter.

Device Battery Life

Portable WiFi routers have a battery like any device on the market. So to ensure your WiFi device lasts for as long as you need, check out its battery life.

Thankfully, you’re in a time when you can purchase technology to enhance battery life. To maximize your portable router’s battery life, you can connect it to a power bank. In that scenario, ensure your WiFi device has USB-A ports. However, if you’re fortunate to find a travel router that uses USB-C, jump at that opportunity.

Pre-paid Data Pricing

Ensure you explore the travel internet provider’s data plans before purchasing your portable router. As mentioned earlier, you can choose plans that offer unlimited data, per GB, and monthly. Each plan depends on what you’ll need connectivity for.

The most crucial part of fine print that you’ll want to pay attention to is each plan’s limitations.

Data Provider Coverage

If you’re in a country where your travel WiFi provider doesn’t offer great coverage, not even the best portable WiFi for travel will give you a smooth browsing experience.

Explore the providers’ mobile coverage in the country that you’re traveling to.

Even if you’re connected to a travel router, you’re still exposed to hackers. Invest in a VPN like ExpressVPN to secure your browsing activity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Portable WiFi

Portable WiFi hotspots are handy tools for people who travel frequently. They’re small, light, and convenient.

However, there are also some myths surrounding these handy devices. Here are some of the most common questions regarding portable WiFi hotspots.

Do You Have To Pay Monthly for Portable WiFi?

Whether you have to pay a monthly fee for portable WiFi depends on the provider. For instance, some providers will charge a flat fee and a monthly fee for their data afterward.

Does Portable WiFi Work Everywhere?

Yes! WiFi signals power these devices. So whether you’re at home, at an airport, or even in another country, portable WiFi hotspots will always connect to the internet.

Who Needs a Pocket WiFi?

A pocket WiFi can be a great way to get online anywhere you go. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket or purse, so you can take it with you wherever you go. These devices also have a long battery life, so you won’t have to worry about running out of power while you’re away from home.

Final Thoughts on Portable WiFi

Now that you know what portable WiFi is and how it works, you’ll likely have a better idea when searching for a means to access the internet while traveling.

If you don’t want to bother with carrying a pocket WiFi device when traveling, consider purchasing a plan for an international SIM card like Google Fi. Or, if you need internet access in remote areas that cell phone towers have no access to, look into satellite internet.

If you’re looking for the best portable WiFi device for international travel, I recommend going with Skyroam. It’s affordable and effective.

person standing on top of Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan City, Taiwan

About Tee

Tee began first experienced the wonders of traveling when visiting Vietnam. Afterward, he went crazy and ventured to at least… More about Tee