By: Dave Ware, with files from Erin Lawrence
A mobile WiFi hotspot is a portable version of a router, which will let you connect to the internet and broadcast that connection to any device that you choose. It becomes a private internet hub that you can turn on and off at will. They’ve been popular with international travelers for years because they provide users–especially business travelers– with a reliable way to stay connected. ZTE has launched it newest hotspot in Canada: the ZTE Unite IV. Let’s take a look at what it can do, what it promises, and some of the costs involved.
ZTE Unite IV Mobile Hotspot launches in Canada
Mobile hotspots work by taking data passed by a cellular signal from a 4G or 5G mobile network and creating a private, secure WiFi network. The mobile hotspot will encrypt your data, and you’ll also have protection from the network carrier, so you can rest easy knowing your data is secure.
Your home or office router is, in essence, a non-mobile hotspot. It takes the network data provided by your modem (some have built-in routers) and creates a secure network for everything connected to it. Think of your mobile hotspot as a router-to-go.
Who needs a mobile hotspot?
Mobile hotspots are convenient for people who travel a lot and spend time in areas where public WiFi is unavailable. Travellers often find themselves deciding if they should take a chance on public WiFi. While most are legitimate public services, it’s easy for hackers to create a hotspot, call it “free public Wifi”, and then search for private data on devices that connect to it.
Your mobile hotspot eliminates that concern; they allow you to set your security and usage options at a single point and connect all of your devices to that point.
Who is a mobile hotspot for?
It’s easy to see the benefit of a portable, rechargeable device that allows you to connect to the internet safely and reliably. Large organizations such as school boards could use this device, combined with a value netbook, to provide an easy online learning solution.
Parents who are growing tired of their bandwidth being eaten up by gaming and streaming could set up a ZTE Unite IV for their kids’ devices and run a completely independent network alongside their home solution. If you’re not a heavy data user, this device could become your primary network, giving you a 100% mobile internet setup.
For travelers, The ZTE Unite IV is a powerful mobile hotspot that fits in your pocket and offers you fast internet speeds, plus a lot of flexibility in setting up your on-the-go network.
You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that regardless of what the Wi-Fi situation is at your destination, you have a stable network to rely on without having to trust an unknown set up in an unfamiliar location.
It also provides a backup if you have issues with your home network, and due to its battery pack, it will still perform in the case of a power outage. The freedom from a wall plug can also be handy if you’re in an area with no available power source, maybe while camping.
What Does the ZTE Unite IV Mobile Hotspot Offer?
The Unite IV runs on a Linux framework and uses a Qualcomm SDX24 for its CPU. It has 521Mb of internal memory, which shouldn’t be an issue; there are no additional apps or processes to stress the memory.
How fast is ZTE Unite IV?
The Unite IV mobile hotspot should be able to pull up to 750 Mbps of high-speed data. With those speeds, you’ll have no problem streaming video or music, and uploading or downloading large files won’t be an issue.
You’ll be able to connect as many as 16 devices via the ZTE Unite IV, all using the connection settings you’ve set up. ZTE says this dual-band device can connect to both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands at the same time, reducing your dependency on either and improving your connection stability.
The ZTE Unite IV has a 3000 mAh battery, which will give you 12 days of standby time, and it supports quick charging, which means you should be up and running in 45 minutes.
The ZTE features a 2.4-inch full-colour touch-screen at 240×320 resolution for easy operation and navigating device settings. It weighs only 150 grams and will fit in a pocket or phone holder.
How do I connect to the internet with a mobile hotspot?
In order to connect to the internet via your mobile hotspot, you’ll need a cellular data plan. In this case, the ZTE Unite IV appears to work only with Bell Canada SIM cards, so you do face some limitations there.
How much does mobile Wi-Fi cost?
Bell offers a range of Flex Plus plans that start at 5GB for $60 per month and go all the way up to 50GB for $150 per month. These plans are almost prohibitively expensive for all but the frequent-flying business traveler, and cost many times more what a SIM card from a company like KeepGo charges, for example (though I guess that’s moot, since a KeepGo card seems like it does not work in this device because it’s tied only to Bell) You can also buy the ZTE Unite IV directly from Bell for $300 or $11 per month for 24 months with no money down and no interest, but like we noted, the monthly cost is not insignificant.
The ZTE Unite IV will operate anywhere you can find a cellular signal that your sim card can recognize.
If you’re an on-the-go person or find yourself constantly struggling to find a good WiFi network where you end up, a mobile hotspot like the ZTE Unite IV may be a solution. It can solve many connection issues and provide you a connection to a dependable, familiar network.