Wireless Internet on your Laptop

When wireless Internet first became available, the only way to connect to it was with an external Internet card—a credit card-sized device that plugged in or attached to a laptop or desktop. While most laptops produced during the past five to ten years should have built-in wireless capability, only much newer laptops can access mobile broadband networks.

3G and 4G Laptops

Despite being able to connect to wireless Internet, most laptops don’t have mobile broadband capability right out of the box. Rather, you need an external device that brings 3G or 4G mobile Internet to your laptop. You can, however, purchase a mobile Internet-enabled laptop through a wireless broadband provider. These computers come with mobile broadband technology preinstalled, which means you can use the Internet anywhere your provider has coverage.

There are a number of broadband wireless Internet providers for laptops, though not all of them offer the same brands or types. Some might offer Dell laptops, while others may have HP or Macintosh products. Some providers might even offer the more portable, less powerful netbooks instead of laptops.

If you’re looking at wireless Internet providers for laptops, you may also be looking at contracts. These laptops come at a reduced price, subsidized by a contract with a data plan. These contracts might also limit the type of network you can connect to. Is it 3G or 4G? WiMAX or LTE? Make sure to read the fine print carefully.

What to think about before buying a new laptop

When thinking about a new laptop to enhance your wireless Internet capabilities, there are two main questions you should ask yourself. First, where will you be using it? If this will simply be for your home, mobile broadband capability may be unnecessary; however, if you play to be on the road quite a bit, it may be worth looking into a broadband-enabled laptop.

Secondly, think about what other mobile devices you have, and if they may be able to accomplish the necessary tasks. For instance, if you have a smartphone or tablet that can receive and send emails on the go, you may not need your laptop to do the same thing.

Some perks of laptops from wireless Internet providers

  • Instant connection to the Internet wherever there is coverage
  • No external cards or accessories to carry around or install
  • A possible contract (up to two years) with the provider you purchased from