How to share your 3G Mobile Broadband Connection

Mobile Broadband is becoming incredibly popular, but it’s not just people that are out and about all day that are finding a use for it – people who can’t get broadband through their phone line, students in halls, those in short term rental.. the list goes on.

Although the prices for mobile broadband have come down considerably over the last couple of years, if you have several people & devices that want to use the internet at the same time, getting a mobile broadband connection for everyone can prove to be quite expensive.

Thankfully though, technology has moved on and we’re no longer restricted to having to use a separate dongle for each computer we want to use and Netgear and Option have both introduced new wireless routers that will make sharing your mobile broadband connection quick and easy.

Netgear 3G Wireless Router MBR624GU

Netgear are well known for making simple, affordable wireless routers that are easy to set up, and this one is no exception. It looks similar to most of their other routers, but the big difference is that instead of having a connection to your cable modem or BT phone line, it has a USB port that you can plug just about any 3G USB Modem in to.

Netgear 3G Wireless Router MBR624GU

Netgear 3G Wireless Router MBR624GU

The router will then establish a connection to your Mobile Network, and once it’s connected it will share the internet connection over both a wireless and wired network.

By creating a wireless network it means that devices like the iPod touch, Playstation3 and eBook readers can all access the internet easily. Infact, it’s not just wireless devices that can use it. The router has 4 ethernet ports on the back that can be used to add non-wireless computers, games consoles, printers and network storage (NAS) devices to the network.

The router has all the standard security options you’d expect to find on any Netgear router and creating your secure wireless network is quick and painless. As your download amount is limited I’d strongly recommend setting up a password for your wireless network. If you don’t and your neighbours start using it, you could end up with excessive bills.

Option GlobeSurfer X1

The GlobeSurfer X1 is similar in many ways to the Netgear, but is much smaller.  It supports all 3G broadband dongles on all networks and can be up and running in a matter of minutes. Like the Netgear router, the X1 can be used to create a wired or wireless network, regardless of whether a 3G dongle is present or not.

Option GlobeSurfer X1

Option GlobeSurfer X1

There are a couple of technical differences between the two routers too. Firstly, the GlobeSurfer X1 supports 802.11 b, g and n, where as the Netgear only supports 802.11g. To be honest, this shouldn’t make too much of a difference when accessing the internet, but if all your connected devices support 802.11n, it’ll make sharing files between them a fair bit quicker. Your Mobile Broadband dongle will have a limit so I’d strongly recommend setting up a password for your wireless network. If you don’t and your neighbours start using it, you could end up with excessive bills.

The other difference is to do with the ports on the back. The X1 only has 2 ethernet ports instead of 4 and has a USB port that you can use to attach USB printers or Network Storage devices as the X1 doubles up as a File and Printer server.

Points to note

It’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to have the Mobile Broadband dongle connected to either of the routers in order for your wireless (or wired) network to work.  By that I mean that even if you remove the dongle from the router, all of the devices that are connected to the network will still be connected and therefore able to access shared files, print to a networked printer or stream content from one device to another.

If you are going to be sharing your Mobile Broadband connection, you need to make sure that everyone using it is aware of the download limit that you have with your dongle. Unlike most fixed line broadband services, you don’t get unlimited downloads, with most networks capping your data at 1, 3, 5 or 15GB a month with extremely high charges if you go over your limit. If you are going to be watching video online, downloading movies or game demo’s on your games console, you’ll need to keep a close eye on how much data you’ve used. You can normally do this through the ‘My Account’ section of your service providers website.

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