Now, you can carry your hotspot with you

05th February 2017
Now, you can carry your hotspot with you

Bangalore, February 52017: In 2010, Finland astonished the rest of the world by making Internet -- with a 1 MBPS connection -- a basic right of  all her  citizens.  It was an idea only slightly ahead of its time:  in June last year, over 70 nations voted to pass a UN Human Rights Council resolution,  that declared the Internet to be a basic human right.  India was in the dubious company of a handful of nations including Russia, China and  Saudi Arabia that dissented.
How ironic, that the same government that refuses to concede  access to Internet,   as a right of its citizens, has been for weeks now, been bombarding them  with messages about Digital India and forcing them  to do all  money transactions  on the Internet!  
Ultimately governments don't determine the pace of technology -- people do. And  many of us,  forced to operate  e-wallets since November last,   now need to be connected to the Internet almost all the time.
This is easier said than done.  The  data plans for phones from  most mobile service providers are costlier, slower and less consistent than what the same providers offer for home broadband  connections.  I  often need to access my mail and send text and pictures, even when I am out of my home or office. A simple act like paying for a cab ride or coffee, through PayTM,  can be a hassle, unless I have a reliable Net connection.   If I switch to  data on my phone,  all sorts of rubbish get downloaded for which I have to pay. I wished I could  carry my home WiFi router  with me  and create a hotspot where ever I go -- and   now,  I can do exactly that, thanks to a new generation of  portable, pocket routers,  popularly called  Mi-Fi,  for Mobile Wifi  or as I like to think, Mera-Fi!
You may ask, what's new?  Pocket sized wireless routers that  work on a data SIM, have been around for a year or more.  But  innovations  have made them much more versatile today. Here's how:

1. Unlocked routers, that is,  mobile routers that work with any make of SIM and are not tied to one  service provider.
2:  SD Card routers:  with a slot to insert a Micro SD card,  so that you can store any files you download,  on the router rather than on your phone.
3: Powerbank routers: that  come with   a built-in power bank, neatly bundling two useful  accessories into one.

A simple Web search will throw up dozens of Mi-Fi routers costing anything from Rs 800 to Rs 6000.  The cheaper ones  work across limited frequency bands and  may not match  your specific data SIM.  Only the most recent models work with 4G SIMs -- and it makes  sense to pay a little extra  for the router and then go in for a  4G LTE  data SIM which will  give you the fastest  transfer speeds currently attainable in India. Huawei, D-Link,  Digisol, TP-Link,  are  popular brands of  unlocked routers.  I have been trying out  the  Digisol 4G router and share my experience here.
While they are not formally marketed or supported  in India, you can buy some international travel router brands for Rs 5000 -- Rs 7000, at sites like Amazon.   The HooToo HT-TM05  Wireless Hard drive companion, comes with a built-in 10,400 mAh power bank that can  you can use to charge  phone or even laptop. The RAVpower  FileHub,  has a 6000 mAh powerbank and also doubles as a multi format card reader.
If you like to stick with one mobile provider for billing convenience, it makes sense to buy the data SIM from the  same brand that fuels you phone - Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Tata etc. Most of them also offer pocket routers.  I use a   Reliance JioFi   pocket router with a 4G VoLTE Jio SIM. The advantage is that the router lets  you to experience 4G  data speeds  and HD voice and video calling, even  with 3rd party  2G or 3G phones. For this you have to install a Jio4G Voice  app. - Anand Parthasarathy