The Advantages of Portable WiFi



If you travel for work or are planning a holiday, you will probably want instant Internet access while you’re away from home, and there are two options: tethering your smartphone or using a portable mobile WiFi router. Tethering can be expensive and a big drain on your phone battery, whereas a portable WiFi hotspot carries more data, has a bigger battery, and is specifically designed for connecting while on the go.

What is a Portable WiFi Router?


A portable WiFi router is similar to a home WiFi router but is a much smaller device that can easily fit into a pocket. Portable WiFi routers (mobile hotspots or WiFi dongles) use SIM cards for mobile data rather than Ethernet cable connections and home internet broadband plans. Portable WiFi routers are perfect for people on the move who like to keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues. Mobile hotspots can connect in hotels, airports, shopping centres, coffee shops, and even cruise ships.

These portable travel routers allow you to establish your virtual private network (VPN) connections from anywhere in the world. The NETGEAR M6 Pro Mobile Hotspot, can be unlocked with unlimited data for total peace of mind and the ability to connect to more than 30 WiFi-enabled devices simultaneously. Data rates from 150Mbps and up to multi-gigabit speeds can be achieved depending on the capabilities of your portable router device and your data plan.

Why Not Tether Your Phone?

Most mobile phones today, such as the Apple iPhone and Android smartphones can function as portable router hotspots for connecting to laptops or other devices. This offers useful functionality for basic online tasks such as writing emails but is not a preferable option for data-hungry applications and activities. Here are some reasons to avoid phone tethering.


Most smartphone contracts lock you into a particular network. If you’re travelling outside your service provider’s network, roaming data rates will be costly.

Battery Drainage

Using your phone as a hotspot will quickly drain your battery. Your phone battery won’t handle a long day of meetings, uploads, or downloads.


You may not be able to receive phone calls or messages while your phone is tethered. Also, your connection might disappear if you answer your phone.


If you add more than one device while tethering, the internet connection will possibly lag or cut out entirely. You also risk exceeding your data plan.

Advantages of Using a Portable WiFi Router

There are many benefits of using a portable WiFi router. Here are some major advantages.

Cost-effectiveness: Mobile hotspots are a good choice because they don’t come with monthly fees or contracts. You can purchase a pay-as-you-go portable router data plan SIM card that will provide you with uninterrupted service while you roam.

Connectivity: Unlike tethering your phone, a Nighthawk mobile hotspot can connect with 30+ devices concurrently without impairing your WiFi signal or drastically slowing down speeds.

Signal Reach: Portable WiFi routers have much bigger antennas than mobile phones. Your signal will reach further towards the nearest mobile tower, with a stronger connection.

Energy Efficiency: When fully charged, a mobile hotspot battery will give you up to 13 hours of uninterrupted connectivity. Plus, you will not be draining battery life on your phone.

Convenience: You can keep your phone with you and let your portable WiFi router handle all other device connections. You can make phone calls and send SMS messages while you are online.

Versatility: You can take your mobile hotspot everywhere. You will always have Internet access, even during international travel.

User-friendly: There is no need to install complex hardware with a mobile hotspot router. Simply turn on the device and it will locate the nearest WiFi connection for you.

Shareability: You can include family and friends in your hotspot WiFi network, so they can also connect to tablets, laptops, iPads, Xbox consoles, and smart applications simultaneously.

Flexibility: NETGEAR portable WiFi routers allow you to choose a payment plan and data limits to suit your budget.

Speed: A mobile hotspot is guaranteed to provide much faster speeds than you will get from tethering your phone.

Palm-sized routers are easy to use and have one SIM. The internet is at your fingertips. Reliability is important, especially if travelling for business. Wherever there is an internet network, the portable WiFi router will mimic the speed, depending on your data plan. It’s worth noting that 4G LTE router or 5G network connections are not supported everywhere. The mobile speed will rely on the nearest network and other considerations such as dual-band or tri-band WiFi compatibility.

More about WiFi Bandwidths

Dual-band WiFi uses two WiFi bandwidths – 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The latest 5G tri-band mobile hotspots such as the Nighthawk M6 Pro connect using the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands, depending on connection requirements for different environments.


2.4GHz WiFi Advantages – Compatible with most devices including older devices. It offers a stronger signal over a longer range/distance.

5GHz WiFi Advantages – Much faster than the 2.4GHz network. Less interference from other devices compared to the 2.4GHz network.

6GHz WiFi Advantages – The 6 GHz frequency band provides faster data transfer speeds, better bandwidth, and lower network latency than the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band.


2.4GHz WiFi Disadvantages – Much slower than the 5GHz network. More interference in built-up areas as many WiFi-enabled smart home appliances and devices use the 2.4GHz frequency band.

5GHz WiFi Disadvantages – Shorter range/distance of signal than the 2.4GHz network. Some older devices and desktop computers will not pick up the 5GHz network.

6GHz WiFi Disadvantages – When it comes to signal range or propagation, WiFi 6 and WiFi6E are more limited. Higher frequencies have shorter wavelengths.


If you expect to be using the data plan for more than one person, you will need plenty of data allowance. You can even use data sharing with a second mobile router device. It pays to shop around for the best deals.

Portable Mobile Hotspot Security and Performance

Enhanced and encrypted security is a major advantage of a dedicated mobile hotspot router compared to phone tethering or unsecure WiFi. NETGEAR Nighthawk products use the most up-to-date security encryption types. A dedicated hotspot device with encrypted security will protect you and your network from malicious intruders and other users connecting with your mobile data.
Portable WiFi routers have a powerful battery for all-day use, and you can also plug in using an AC power adapter. You also have options for limited data, unlimited data, and unlocked device plans. It’s also worth considering the addition of an external antenna for establishing an even stronger connection if you are travelling to remote places.

The M6 Pro 5G WiFi External Antenna

Connecting your NETGEAR Nighthawk M6 Pro to an omnidirectional antenna provides a stronger WiFi signal, broader coverage, faster data rates, and the ability to adapt to different environments. Simply plug the antenna to improve reception and extend coverage in buildings, vehicles, or remote sites. The extra antenna reach is particularly useful if you have less than 2 bars of reception on your portable WiFi box. Here are a few tips for the best mobile hotspot antenna results.

  • The positioning and aim of the antenna will impact its performance.
  • Aim the antenna toward a nearby mobile tower.
  • Move the antenna position around and monitor the reception until you get the desired results.

A Nighthawk M6 Pro Mobile Hotspot is specifically designed for compatibility with the Omnidirectional MIMO Antenna. It is the ideal solution for people who travel a lot and for those living remotely without an Ethernet broadband connection.

Where can I use a mobile WiFi hotspot?

Mobile hotspots were initially established for public use in coffee shops, libraries, and hotel lobbies. Today, portable WiFi hotspots are more often private networks that can be conveniently carried for network connections almost anywhere. They provide the ability to share the WiFi connection with multiple devices nearby. From business people to students and even digital nomads, everyone needs the internet on the go these days, and personal WiFi routers with mobile broadband data plans are the solution for staying connected.
Internet connection for work or pleasure is more than just a luxury – it is an essential service for many people. Customised plans allow users to find portable, affordable, and reliable internet when and where they need it. In comparison, public WiFi can be unsecure and unreliable. Surfing the net is much safer and quicker with a portable WiFi router.

Considerations When Buying a Portable WiFi Router

If you’re planning on purchasing a portable WiFi router device, there are a few things to consider, including:

Wireless Carrier Limitations

Choose a carrier with the best available coverage for the right price. Some data plans come with monthly data caps, while others offer unlimited data but will cap your data rates after a certain point. Make sure to read the data plan small print, particularly if you expect to engage in data-hungry online activities.

Wireless Network Availability

The best mobile hotspots are powerful, but they do have their limitations. It can be difficult to establish a stable internet connection in remote areas and some developing countries. Check your carrier’s network availability map to determine whether you can get adequate coverage. NETGEAR Nighthawk portable WiFi routers can connect in 125+ countries.

Battery Life

You should choose a mobile hotspot with a long-lasting battery to ensure it meets all your needs. Nighthawk hotspots, for example, can run continuously for up to 13 hours. Smaller WiFi hotspots can have a much shorter battery life, and the battery will drain fast if there are multiple connected devices. You can carry a spare battery to ensure you remain connected 24/7.

4G/5G capabilities

The capabilities of portable WiFi router devices vary. Some can handle 5G connections, while cheaper WiFi hotspots are often only compatible with 4G networks. These devices are good for some tasks but won’t offer blazing-fast 5G connection speeds. Investing in a NETGEAR 5G hotspot device may save you money in the long run by allowing you to connect to multiple devices whenever, wherever. Nighthawk mobile hotspots can replace slow internet connection with 5G WiFi as the primary connection for your home.

The Number of WiFi Devices You Want to Connect

NETGEAR Nighthawk Mobile Hotspots can connect to 30+ devices, a huge improvement on earlier portable WiFi hotspot capability. We are using more connected devices than ever at work, at home, at school, and while on the road, so it makes sense to future-proof your virtual private network. The best 5G mobile hotspots can handle multiple devices running concurrently without a noticeable loss of data speeds.


Embrace the The Power of Portable WiFi by Nighthawk

NETGEAR is the most popular WiFi technology brand on the planet for all the right reasons, including portable WiFi routers that look great, function seamlessly, and outperform the competition with superfast multi-gigabit speed potential.