What is an Internet dongle?

05 Nov 2018

Close-up of an internet dongle being inserted into a laptop

Internet dongle overview

One of the best things about the Internet today is just how accessible it is. It wasn’t long ago that having a half decent Internet connection was something not available to most. Today, there are a vast number of options to choose from, which is a testament to just how far we’ve progressed in such a short space of time.

Of course, the benefits of having a wide variety of choices far outweigh the negatives; more choice means that it’s more likely you’ll find something that is exactly right for you. It also means that there’s more competition, with a higher quality of products on offer, and most importantly, this means that we don’t have to spend money on products that are sub-par.

With so many different options out there, it can make keeping on top of all the developments hard.

Hoppy is here to give you a quick overview of what you can expect from Internet dongles, so you can be better informed when deciding on which one to choose. With all that out of the way, let’s explain what we mean by an Internet dongle.

What is an Internet dongle?

It may not look like much, but an Internet dongle contains the power of the Internet in a tiny package. Resembling a USB stick, it lets you enjoy broadband on the go simply by connecting it to your laptop.

It’s a type of mobile broadband, which means that you don’t need to be at home with a landline to go online. That’s because it’s essentially a small modem that connects to broadband or wireless signals, just like how your mobile phone can go online.

What are Internet dongles good for?

As you can imagine, a big selling point for Internet dongles is convenience. If you’re travelling but need to get a lot of work done, then an Internet dongle can make that possible. Although mobile Internet is great, it’s not necessarily suitable for all tasks but in situations where you need to use a reliable Internet connection on your computer while away from home, the small but mighty Internet dongle can save the day. Not only that, but certain plans from network providers will allow you to use these devices abroad as well, so you can stay connected even while on holiday.

What are Internet dongles not good for?

Unfortunately, there is a price for all these benefits and that is the cost of the dongles. Dongles are more expensive than fixed line broadband in general, with greater restrictions in connection, speed and download limits. Another issue is that the key strength – the portability – is also limited by location, as you won’t get coverage in every area. However, from a financial standpoint, there are plenty of short-term contracts and pay-as-you-go deals for people who don’t want to be tied down for a long time.  

Are Internet dongles the right choice for you?

Internet dongles might not be perfect, but they are really useful for a lot of people. We’re certain many deadlines would have been missed if Internet dongles were not around.

Whether they’re right for you depends on your lifestyle and how you use the Internet. If you mainly go online at home or generally use your phone for more casual Internet activities when out and about, then there are usually cheaper or more convenient alternatives. However, for those who regularly use their laptop away from their home or office, then it could be worth the extra cost.

For more information on different Internet dongle options, check out our free and easy to use price comparison service to find the best deal to suit you.  

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