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WiFi or 3G – Which is best for the mobile worker?

October 30, 2008

There used to be a time when you would sit back in your hotel, and dig out how you could connect to their WiFi. This might be anything from a ramshackle collection of consumer WAPs connected back to an ADSL service, to something much classier which was the full Corporate option. You generally got something, and it was real pleasant – although certainly in Europe it was not generally free, and could cost upwards of £5 for 2 hours of usage, limited to 150MB during that time. This was shared with everyone around you and you had to either be very trusting (i.e. stupid) or employ encryption techniques for your access overlaid on their network.

We suffered but then came 3G and low cost tariffs that gave you 1GB or more limits at upwards of 350kbps. These limits have increased over time so now you have pretty much unlimited 3G connectivity for less than £30 per month. This access was their for you to use very much anywhere and certainly was very favourable considering that you only had to need to use the Internet for 12 hours a month to make it financially viable, and this is even lower cost now with today’s tariffs.

So what is the best recommendation for the mobile worker? Well unless you are working in the Outer Hebrides then it is 3G all the way, providing you with access whenever you want it, wherever you want it, with more security (no nasty people packet capturing next door) and (if you travel once a week or more) it is generally going to be cheaper.

You can also now spread the love locally if you are part of a team, by getting hold of one of the now many 3G WiFi Routers, that take your dongle or card and share it on a local WiFi network, great for setting up that temporary remote office. This is also condoned and encouraged now by companies like T-Mobile in the UK. So get out there and get yourself a 3G adapter and always make sure you can work (although as I have posted, not a great experience at 70mph on the London Midland Train line).

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