Portable Hotspots can Keep You Connected
While You Teach Online and Travel
WiFi is everywhere these days, but online ESL teachers who teach while traveling know that WiFi in hotels and cafés can be dicey. Certainly, the ultimate solution is to stay at an AirBNB rental which includes high speed Internet. But when that’s not an option, having a portable hotspot can save the day. Portable hotspots are also useful as a backup connection at home, in case your home Internet connection is unreliable or unavailable.
There are different types of portable hotspots on the market today, and of course, most smartphones can also share their data connection as a hotspot, too. The challenge with smartphones is that someone can call you, the battery runs out fast while connected and using data heavily, and more specifically, they are not designed to perform as wireless routers. Portable hotspots are though, allowing you to connect multiple devices, and giving you longer battery life between charges.
Most portable hotspots operate with an installed data SIM card to connect to the Internet, and then share that Internet connection with other devices in much the same way your home wireless router does. You set a password on the mobile hotspot, and when it’s on, other devices can detect the WiFi signal it broadcasts, and connect with the correct password. It’s fast, reliable, and safe, as long as your data connection is also fast and reliable. Ultimately, portable hotspots that rely on a SIM card you install will only offer the speed and reliability of your data plan, and the signal strength you have where you are connecting from.
Best Mobile Routers
Mobile routers are the ideal choice, because they are affordable and be used anywhere with either an International data SIM card, or a local data SIM, which in some countries is easy to buy and the data speeds are decent. We recommend using a data SIM and to ensure the data can be tethered.
Popular International Data SIM Providers
International Data SIMs are ideal for traveling online ESL teachers who want to have access to data without worrying about whether they will be able to buy a local SIM card to get mobile Internet access. One of the major advantages of using International Data SIMs is that you can prepay and refill them on demand, without any contracts. If you plan to travel through many countries, you can choose a global data plan, and if planning to be in just one country, you can choose a country-specific plan.
The SIM can be delivered to practically any address, so you just need to plan ahead, so it arrives in time before you travel. Then you can insert the SIM into your mobile router, or your smartphone.
Portable WiFi Hotspots
Portable WiFi Hotspots are effectively the same as Portable Routers, except that they don’t require you to purchase a SIM card from a mobile carrier. Instead, you buy one of the packages offered by the company itself. You can buy a Portable WiFi Hotspot if you travel frequently, or rent one by the day if you need it only for a short trip. The primary benefit of using a Portable WiFi Hotspot is that you don’t need to worry about searching and selecting the right SIM card for wherever you travel. You can also use it right at home as a backup connection.
Portable WiFi Hotspots typically offer monthly, per day, per gigabyte, and pay-as-you-go plans. Currently, there are only a handful of decent options. They are also more difficult to compare, as a few are offered as global Internet solutions, while other are configured to work in specific countries or regions. As well, some are offered as rentals only.
The upfront cost of owning a Portable WiFi hotspot is a little on the high side, so if you intend to use it only for online ESL teaching, it might prove to be an expensive option.
The Best Portable WiFi Hotspot: Skyroam
Other Popular Portable WiFi Hotspots
Which Should You Choose?
The emergence of Portable WiFi Hotspots is encouraging from a convenience standpoint, offering a no-hassle one-stop global wireless Internet connectivity solution. At the moment, however, they’re not quite free of the hassles, and they don’t offer the same affordability and flexibility that Mobile Routers do. As an online ESL teacher, you are (or should be) adaptable, you’ve learned to economize and find lower cost alternatives while traveling, and Mobile Routers fit right into your agenda – and carry-on. Any of the three we have recommended are worthy, budget-friendly options for the traveling online ESL teacher.