What’s your go-to method of staying connected while traveling? Is it getting a local sim card? Or just taking advantage of the free WiFi at Starbucks? Instead of relying on spotty WiFi networks and slow wireless connections, why not use a portable hotspot to take your home’s internet with you wherever you go?
Unlike public hotspots, which are open (and often unsecured) WiFi networks found in coffee shops, restaurants and airports, a portable hotspot gets its connection via satellite and is often provided by your wireless network. That means these hotspots aren’t only more reliable, they’re more private. By packing one of these portable hotspots, you’re able to stay connected wherever you go—no matter how remote or how crowded.
1. NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Mobile Hotspot Router
Able to connect up to 20 devices on the go, the Netgear Nighthawk is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of portable hotspots. The dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz dual concurrent WiFi supports ultra-fast data speeds, and the high-performance 5040 mAH battery can support your myriad connections for hours at a time. You can even set up guest WiFi and password-protect networks. Seriously, when it comes to a portable hotspot, the Nighthawk has it all. Make sure it’s compatible with your mobile carrier before purchasing.
2. Netgear Unite Explore 4G LTE Mobile Wifi Hotspot
This powerful hotspot lets you connect up to 15 devices at once. Operating on a robust and ultra-fast 4g network, the Netgear Unite Explore takes roughly one minute to set up and offers instant internet access wherever you are. The sleek 2.4-inch touchscreen makes operation a breeze, and the hotspot itself boasts up to 22 hours of nonstop use on a single charge. But best of all, this device is tough. The Unite Explore is Netgear’s flagship device for the explorer, and as such, was built to be water resistance and tough against bumps and bruises. Note that this device needs a SIM card but is GSM unlocked and will work on any GSM network.
3. Alcatel LINKZONE US Unlocked 4G LTE Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot
BEST FOR TRAVEL
Looking for a hotspot that won’t take up too much space? The Alcatel has you covered. Able to cover up to 15 different devices within a 150-foot radius, this tiny hotspot packs a removable 1,800mAh battery that promises up to six hours of nonstop use. And while the T-Mobile version is slightly cheaper, we’ve chosen to go with the unlocked version because it supports all wireless carriers. You’re welcome.
4. TP-Link N300 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
This powerful hotspot is equipped with 300Mbps of WiFi speed on an impressive 2.4GHz band network for blazing-fast speeds. It even comes with a built-in Micro-USB port for extra ease of use. Small enough to fit in your pocket, it’s a great portable router to take with you to school or on vacation. What’s more, the smart pre-encryption function lets you set up SSID and password protection, so you can use it to transfer and/or stream without having to worry about hacks.
5. TP-Link AC750 Wireless Portable Nano Travel Router
Last but not least, this tiny travel router offers dual-band AC750 Wi-Fi for lightning-fast connections. The handy micro USB port conveniently lets you charge your devices, and the one-switch design for multiple modes makes it easy to use at home or on the road. All you have to do is connect to an outdoor WISP Access Point and you can enjoy a fast, private connection without all the added baggage that comes with using a public network.