Broadband and Cell phone internet explained

by on July 30, 2009

Q: I don’t have internet at home and frankly I can’t afford it. Will purchasing a wireless card allow me to access the internet on my computer? Its not an old computer I don’t think( M1330 dell, 3GB).

I’m just confused and I do have an unlimited data on my phone. The thing is if I can in fact use these cards to get internet am I limited to what I can buy? I have a Sprint phone and a Dell computer. So will I have to get a Sprint card?

How much do these things usually run and what determines the type of card I should purchase? All I really want is unbroken internet access so that I can watch a youtube or netflix video online. I want to be able to watch it all the way without any pauses or freezes. I am really tired of just using the internet from 8-3 at work. I use the public transportation so would I be able to use this card on the bus?

Someone suggested the cheapest broadband service and then get an internet adaptor so that I don’t have to fuss with a wireless card.

But what is “broadband'” and is that something I will have to get from like comcast or AT&T? I want avoid their outlandish prices.

A: Broadband really just means a fast internet connection and currently that would include cable and DSL for residential customers. There are a few other options but those are the most available options right now.

Your unlimited data plan on your Sprint phone is not really unlimited. If you read the contract it is limited to 5GB of data transfer. To put this in perspective this is probably 4 or 5 Netflix videos.

You can connect your computer to your phone to use its data connection and that is called tethering. There is normally an extra charge of about $30.00 a month to use this ability on most networks. Depending on what phone you have, since you are on Sprint, it might be possible to do it without paying the fee but I would not suggest it since downloading video over the cellular network would be very very slow.

I think you are getting confused about the wireless cards. There are two types of wireless cards. The first type is a wireless WiFi card. This would connect to a local area network, ie a network in your house. This network would then have to be connected to the internet via a broadband connection (ie cable or DSL).

The other type of wireless card is a cellular wireless card. It is similar to tethering but instead of connecting your computer to your phone you would use a card or usb device connected to your computer to transfer data over the cell phone network. Again this would be very slow and prices usually start around $39.00 a month for a 2 year service agreement.

You are in the same situation when a wireless cellular card that you are in with your phone, in that they say it is unlimited but it really is not. If you go over 5GB a month your phone company will either disconnect you, bill you for the overage, give you a warning, or possibly some combination of the two.

The only solution you really have, to watch video at home on your computer, is to get cable or DSL at your house. Plans range from $19 a month on up. Some plans only include the modem while others include all the wireless networking you need.

The good news is that the networking inside your house is something that you only pay for once so in the long run it is very inexpensive.

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