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The 3G USB key: an essential tool to stay connected

A 3G USB modem is a small hardware device that allows users to stay connected to the internet when working remotely from a laptop. It looks like a USB key, is compact and provides users access to the internet by using the 3G networks of telephone operators. The 3G USB key has an area for SIM cards and a subscription from the telephone or mobile operator is necessary to use the 3G USB key. The 3G USB key is a plug and play device that is easy to install in the laptop. The 3G USB key is compatible with all operating systems and is machine independent.

The 3G USB modem is very efficient and many professionals use this technology which provides the means to work remotely from a laptop, while remaining connected to the internet.

What is a 3G USB modem?

Like a USB key, 3G USB modem is a little gadget that provides a user internet access via his laptop when it has no internet connection or is away from a Wi-Fi hotspot

How does it work?

Similar to a kind of wireless modem (Wi-Fi), the key is using the 3G networks of telephone operators in order to connect to the internet. Like cell phones, the 3G USB key consists of an area for the SIM cards. To make them work, you must first subscribe to a package from an operator.

Should I try it?

If you're the kind person who is always on the move, this tool is essential for you to continue your work while being away from your office.

With this technology, you will be more responsive towards your business. You can, for example, respond instantly to an email, find information you need immediately or share and communicate a message with your employees/colleagues.

You'll probably also be more productive because you can work anywhere and anytime, including in transport, abroad, weekend etc...

Finally, you will automatically be connected to your business in real time. Navigate through your intranet, query your database and share documents with colleagues on a community platform, transforming your notebook into a real office.

Installing the 3G USB key

To install your key 3G, there is nothing more simple:

- Insert the SIM card that you obtained from your operator, within the 3G key, in the space provided for that purpose.
- Contact your service provider to activate your SIM card
- Then insert the key 3G USB port of your laptop.
- Launch your browser and surf!

Normally there is no special configuration or driver installation required for this gadget. Depending on your service provider and the model of your 3G key, a connection wizard may be displayed on your screen upon connection. It provides all the information relating to your account throughout your connection (time, speed, signal, tools etc...).

Finally, note that the key 3G is in principle compatible with all operating systems and all types of computers. Some PC models are already equipped with integrated 3G modem directly in their systems. This configuration enables you to avoid plugging a 3G USB key. Therefore, remember to check if you do not already have this feature as it will prevent you from buying another one.

Choosing your package

Now, all mobile operators offer their own 3G key associated to an offer. Given the wide range of formulas, it is impossible to list them all here so you'll have to choose one that seems best suited to your needs. To help, here are some recommendations.
  • Hour Packages (without appointment): these are packages that can range from 20 minutes to 8 hours depending on the operators. This will allow you to choose when you want to login during the time determined by the package.
  • Day packages (no obligation): packages which you can connect anytime throughout the day, from your first connection until midnight.
  • Monthly adjustable packages - (with commitment 12 or 24 months): this package allows you to choose a formula for the month (from 2h to 12h depending on the operators). If you exceed the number of hours you will be charged.
  • The monthly unlimited packages (with commitment 12 or 24 months): with this type of package you can use for unlimited hours. However, beyond a certain limit data exchange, which varies depending on the operators, your speed will be limited.

Note: the first two formulas are ideal for occasional users who need internet access at a specific time. The next two are more preferable for users requiring a connection more frequently.

Important recommendations

What most operators do not say is that behind all these offers, there are many parameters that you shouldn't overlook.
  • First, if you want to connect from abroad, remember that the price/Mb is much higher, as the operators must go through a system to reroute the connection. The bill may ignite quickly if you're not careful!
  • Secondly, it is strongly recommended to monitor the amount of data you exchange while being connected. By browsing on websites, reading your emails, watching a video or downloading a document, you will increase the rate of data transfer. Therefore, check with your operator to know exactly how much data you have with your package.
  • The last point concerns the coverage. Although 3G is a little more democratic today, it is not available everywhere. In this case, it is interesting to repatriate to EDGE or GPRS to enjoy properly (but slower) internet.

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