Wireless mobility makes it possible to work or have fun nearly anywhere you can set up a Wi-Fi connection. Verizon offers a comprehensive range of modems and routers to keep its customers in touch. While its FiOS and DSL options put wireless connectivity within the reach of most users, they require a dedicated wire or cable to connect to a stationary modem. True mobile computing requires breaking the dependence on wires and relying on portable devices that operate when plugged into a socket or when a switch is flipped.
3G Mobile Broadband
As of 2011, Verizon's mobile broadband workhorse for the past few years has been its 3G modems. These devices are the size of a common flash drive and plug into a USB socket. The 3G modems are compact and convenient to use when mobile computing is a necessity.
Monthly access fees vary according to the amount of data usage required. Limits range from 1GB to 10GB per month. Exceeding your monthly plan's limit results in additional fees.
4G Mobile Broadband
Like the 3Gs, these modems are compact and plug into a USB socket on a computer. The 4Gs are about 10 times faster than 3Gs. Consequently, the devices are fractionally larger.
The 4G plan costs and data limits are the same as 3G. The 4G capability is only possible in areas that support the faster speeds but are compatible with existing 3G networks. However, expect to get 3G speed performance.
The 4G modems are compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac 10.4 and above.
There are times when no public hotspots are within range. By using a Verizon mobile hotspot, you can stay connected. With a mobile hotspot, it is possible to connect up to five devices at once by hitting the power button and entering the unique password found on the back of the mobile router. This password-protected feature adds an important security layer. Both 3G and 4G capabilities are available, but the 4G is set to become the pervasive network by 2013.
The 3G mobile hotspots are combined with an existing data package and are limited to 2GB per month with additional overage fees.
Wireless Enabled Devices
Many netbooks and tablet PCs are shipped with mobile wireless access already installed. Verizon has teamed up with HP to provide this option on a number of products. Monthly usage fees are the same as USB mobile broadband charges, but do not include overage fees.
The present generation of smartphones in 2011 also incorporate mobile broadband technology. This capability is used in conjunction with an existing data plan for an additional monthly fee. Data usage is limited to 2GB per month and overage charges apply above this amount.
Contract Versus Prepaid
Signing a traditional two-year contract means you'll pay a lower price for wireless broadband devices, but you still have a monthly Verizon Wireless bill to pay. Prepaid options are available for 3G and 4G USB wireless broadband and can be bought in daily, weekly and monthly service increments. However, you will pay extra for this flexibility through lower monthly data limits. Verizon also offers a prepaid mobile hotspot option comparable to its postpaid MiFi service.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images