WiFi. Teaching online is impossible without it, and if you plan to teach while on the road, you don’t want to take any chances.
Fortunately, you don’t have to. Nearly everywhere you go, from hotels and Airbnbs to cafes and coworking spaces, has solid WiFi these days.
But a layer of security can be a nice thing to have, particularly for international travel and to other places where you can’t be certain of exactly what to expect.
Enter the personal WiFi hotspot. These are small, portable devices that you bring with you when you travel or plan to work while in a public place without dependable WiFi.
For a small upfront cost and fee per use, you can have ultra-fast WiFi just about anywhere in the world — and never worry about missing a lesson or having a shaky connection.
Here’s the lowdown.
Can I just use the hotspot on my smartphone?
In many cases, you can. But there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Using the WiFi hotspot on your phone uses a lot of data — unless you have an unlimited plan, be prepared to pay hefty data fee if you do this regularly.
- By using your phone, you are subject to its network. If you don’t have LTE service in a certain location, the hotspot isn’t going to be very reliable.
- Because of the above two reasons, using the hotspot on a smartphone only gets more complicated and less reliable in foreign countries.
I’ve used my iPhone 7’s hotspot on multiple occasions and have generally had good experiences. That said, I’ve never used the hotspot outside of the United States.
Which personal WiFi hotspot should I use?
We’ve come to like Skyroam Global Hotspot, for a number of reasons.
First, it has helped us stay firmly connected to WiFi in over a dozen countries so far, across three continents (North and South America, and Europe).
The WiFi is 5G whenever available — which since I’ve used it has been the top-notch network available in the places I’ve gone anyway.
5G is set to be the industry standard in coming years, so with Skyroam, you know your WiFi will be up to par. The WiFi is at least 4G, guaranteed.
We haven’t had problems with connectivity or fading signal — I am heading to Australia and New Zealand later this year and will definitely have my Skyroam with me.
Their personal wife hotspot works in over 120+ countries through its innovative and patented virtual SIM technology.
With Skyroam unlimited global WiFi at your fingertips, you can keep up to 5 WiFi-enabled gadgets online simultaneously without the hassle of international roaming fees, SIM swapping, or unlocking devices!
How to set up a personal WiFi hotspot
Here’s everything you need to know about how to set up a personal WiFi hotspot.
Contrary to rumor, the WiFi isn’t satellite-powered. Skyroam’s SIM technology actually harnesses local data from wherever you are and converts it to be accessible by your devices.
Essentially, you connect to dozens of different cellular networks without changing your SIM card or using an open WiFi network.
Step one is to buy your personal WiFi hotspot. Once you’ve done that and the device has arrived at your house? and pay-as-you-go (monthly or daily), or rent a hotspot with unlimited global WiFi just for one trip.
The Skyroam Solis costs $149.99 to buy, but you can also rent it for a trip.
What I like to do is buy a prepaid card with five day passes on it ($40), and I’ll pick up a couple of them if I’m going to be gone for longer than two weeks.
I don’t use it every day, only when I have calls scheduled, so one of these cards is generally perfect for most trips of a week or less.
Once you have your hotspot, you buy day passes for each day you want to use WiFi, and have unlimited WiFi for the following 24 hours. That WiFi can be used on your phone, laptop, or another connectable device on the same day pass.
What else do I need to know?
Skyroam’s service starts at $9 per day. This can add up quickly if you’re on an extended trip, but there are a few things to keep in mind here:
- Similar to international phone plans, you only pay for days that you use. Your 24 hour day pass works for 24 hours, and if you elect not to buy another pass right away, that’s your call.
- I’ve spent more than $9 in coffee shops and cafes just to use the WiFi more times than I can count. After paying for the Skyroam device, I’ve actually seen what I call my monthly “WiFi expenditure” decrease. Remember, you only pay for what you use.
As a bonus, Skyroam is also a power bank, so you can charge your phone while you wait for your flight and push through emails at the same time. The device has a USB-C connection on the side. How’s that for efficiency?
Up to five devices can connect to the Skyroam at a time, maintaining 5G quality.
I’ve kept the battery on the Skyroam device working for upwards of 15 hours, during which I worked a full day and watched a movie in a hostel bed. Skyroam claims 16 hours on their site, not too far off.
Now, if only there were a similar hack for finding the lowest airfare . . .