Setting up mobile broadband is usually straightforward, with 'plug and play' software making it easy...
No matter which provider you get your mobile broadband dongle from, set-up will be a simple process of following a few basic instructions.
The software you need to start using your mobile broadband will automatically be installed on your computer when you plug in your dongle. You don't even need an installation CD.
Simply insert your mobile broadband sim card into the slot on your USB dongle, and plug it into your laptop, netbook or tablet - making sure your device is switched on first. The software will then be automatically installed. This may take several minutes and you should not remove your dongle while the files are being installed.
Then, simply follow the on-screen prompts to get started. A shortcut will appear on your desktop, allowing you to get online at the touch of a button.
If you are a pay-as-you-go broadband customer, you will be directed to your ISP's page to activate your account and top-up your dongle if necessary.
Built-in mobile broadband
Some of the laptops and netbooks now come with built-in mobile broadband, allowing you to put your sim card directly into your laptop - with no need for even a dongle or USB modem stick for a truly mobile internet connection.
Many laptop manufacturers have deals with specific mobile broadband providers, so make sure you check whether or not your laptop will be locked to one ISP before signing up.
Then simply buy your mobile broadband sim card, insert it into the slot on your laptop or netbook and you're ready to go. As with standard mobile broadband set-up, all of the necessary software will automatically be installed.
Mobile broadband routers
Some providers also offer mobile broadband routers, which allow you to share your connection with other users, either in the office or at home. You can also buy 3G mobile broadband routers from hardware providers, such as Netgear, which are compatible with more than one supplier.
To use one, you will need to set-up your mobile broadband connection as usual, and then plug your USB modem stick into your router rather than your laptop. You can then connect more than one laptop, netbook or other wireless device to the same mobile broadband connection.
Remember to set-up security passwords as usual on your mobile broadband router, to make sure that only authorised users can get online, and keep an eye on your usage as you could be charged for exceeding your download allowance if you're sharing your connection.
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