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Anyone ditched home broadband for mobile hotspot?

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 elliot.baker 15 Sep 2020

Home broadband contract has ended so the price has gone up a bit. Think we're looking at about £25pm now for very average / poor internet speed. We can't get the super fast fancy speed where we live. We don't have 4K anyway so don't think it matters too much.

Also just about to have to buy a mobile for the first time in a couple of years (work phone going back), so I'm mulling over ditching home broad band completely and just living off mobile hotspot all the time. I know you can get big / unlimited data packages on phones.

I think in a few years this will be the norm, esp. as 5G rolls-out because it's so much faster than 4G (and my home broadband!).

Just wondered if anyone's done this and how they've found it?

I get about 6-7Mbps on my mobile and 23 from my home broadband.

In reply to elliot.baker:

Not me but I've considered it. I'll watch the thread with interest. 

 johnhowell 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

We were getting 2-3 mbs from the land line and no upgrade on the horizon. We are pretty rural and the 4G mobile signal is also a bit patchy. With working from home I was hot spotting off my phone although it wasn't super reliable and I also found that many companies limit data on phone to 10 mbs. Last month I installed wireless broadband with an external antenna from vodafone and its awesome - between 10-40 mbs, very stable. I teach at the University and I just completed an 11 day virtual fieldtrip which involved livestreaming of about 220 gb of data over 11 days - no problems at all. The package is a bit more expensive (£40/month) but I am happy to pay this because it has changed my ability to work remotely. Wife and kids also much happier!

    

In reply to johnhowell:

That's very interesting, living near near Tain (close to portmahomak) for a couple of years and home broadband is poor, was considering Vodafone or ee 4g but will look into that! 

 ALF_BELF 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

I did this for 6 months when I first moved in to my new house and it was a building site.
My contract allows up to 50gb a month and I always went over it, so ended up paying an extra £20 a month in add ons. I was working from home all day and watching a bit of tele at night but it soon adds up.

Also I just found it annoying to keep having to keep connecting every device to my phone. If you're living solo it might be ok but I find im better off with my broadband contract now. 

In reply to elliot.baker:

> Home broadband contract has ended so the price has gone up a bit. Think we're looking at about £25pm now for very average / poor internet speed. We can't get the super fast fancy speed where we live. We don't have 4K anyway so don't think it matters too much.

> Also just about to have to buy a mobile for the first time in a couple of years (work phone going back), so I'm mulling over ditching home broad band completely and just living off mobile hotspot all the time. I know you can get big / unlimited data packages on phones.

> I think in a few years this will be the norm, esp. as 5G rolls-out because it's so much faster than 4G (and my home broadband!).

> Just wondered if anyone's done this and how they've found it?

> I get about 6-7Mbps on my mobile and 23 from my home broadband.

I've done a bit of hot spotting for my home computer and it's very fast and easy.  

Although this afternoon I've upgraded to fibre optic for 5 quid cheaper and month and 10 times my present speed. 

27 quid for fibre from EE with 33 Mbps  my area. 

I was on 3.3 Mbps at best 

 Luke90 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

> I get about 6-7Mbps on my mobile and 23 from my home broadband.

> Home broadband contract has ended so the price has gone up a bit. Think we're looking at about £25pm now for very average / poor internet speed.

I'd describe your quoted speed of 23mbps as average rather than poor. Certainly you could be a lot worse off in a lot of areas of the UK.

> We don't have 4K anyway so don't think it matters too much.

If there's more than one person living in your house and using the internet for anything other than pretty light browsing, I think you'll notice a very significant contrast between 23mbps and 7mbps, without needing to attempt 4k streaming.

> I know you can get big / unlimited data packages on phones.

I'm not sure of the up to date situation but don't assume that "unlimited" necessarily means truly unlimited. Do some research to make sure you won't get caught out by fair usage policies.

> I think in a few years this will be the norm, esp. as 5G rolls-out because it's so much faster than 4G (and my home broadband!).

5G isn't necessarily a huge leap forward. It depends a great deal on what spectrum is used and how it's deployed. In some cases, it's more of a marketing gimmick than a genuine advance.

Other considerations:

- Depending on your phone/network/signal, the hotspot might get disconnected when you're making phonecalls.

- What's the range on the network from your phone, will it cover the whole house well?

- If you live with others, what happens when you're out with your phone and they want to use the WiFi? Not sure whether this applies or not.

- How well will your phone's battery cope with the heavy use?

All in all, I reckon for some people this plan might make sense but I'm not sure you have bad enough wired internet or good enough phone signal for it to seem like a good option for your situation from my perspective. And even if I had awful wired internet and great signal, I'd probably favour a dedicated hotspot over just using my phone based on my last four points.

In reply to elliot.baker:

Quite a number of people near to us have done this. We have 'super fast' fibre to premesis but if you are not on that loop, and lots aren't, broadband is appalling but a year or so ago we got 4G so this is a great option for many.

 eaf4 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

We're a bit out in the sticks on a farm in the borders. Landline internet was appalling, some days YouTube videos just wouldn't work. We have a 4G router with its own sim, the 4G signal is ok. I have been working from home as an electronic engineer without many issues. At one point my girlfriends sister was also here working from home. A quick test just now came in at 12MBPS. Seems to be enough to stream Netflix etc. But we do have a proper unlimited plan from EE...not sure if truly unlimited is still a thing with them. So much better than the broadband though!

In reply to elliot.baker:

I might consider it when 5G is widely rolled out, but for 4G it's too slow and bandwidth limits too low.  Fibre to the home is amazing.

 Axel Smeets 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

I did exactly this back in October. Signed up for Vodafone's home-fi offering. Basically a router which works off a 4G sim card. 

Started off great and was an improvement on the poor broadband we get in our area. However the speeds have become progressively slower - right now I'm getting about 4mbps. 

Since I signed up to Vodafone's home-fi, Virgin Media have laid cables in my town. I've just signed up to their M500 package and it's being installed this Friday. Quite excited about getting 'guaranteed' speeds of at least 480mbps. 

If you have reasonable 4G in your area it's worth considering. 

 Hardonicus 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

Just got fibre to the home. The engineer reckons the whole country will be covered by 2025. No more copper.

 cander 15 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

We get 1 - 2 mbs via landline, I noticed when I was out and about I got 30 mbs on 4G phone, but I can’t get a mobile signal in the house. The field is about 30 ft higher than the living room, and guess what the top of the attic is about 20 ft higher than the living room. So I went up to the attic and sure enough I could get 25 - 30 mbs 4G. So we got an unlimited 4G sim from BT with a little wireless router (£20 a month but the broadband contract has been discounted by £20 a month so it’s no additional cost - the little bit mini router didn’t work so well so I bought a proper 4G router plugged the sim and now we’ve got 25 mbs throughout the house using wireless hotspots to boost the signal because we have thick walls. Transformational for us, we’re getting rid of sky (terrestrial telly signal is dreadful so satellite is our default) and switching to internet tv options. 
 

So get up into the top of the attic and see what 4G you can get there.

NB we are very rural, with no prospect of fibre broadband anytime soon.

Post edited at 20:50
 David Myatt 15 Sep 2020
In reply to Hardonicus:

I’m not banking on it...we don’t have gas, sewerage or mains water, so not holdng out much hope for fibre.

In reply to elliot.baker:

I do it at work. Up until recently being able to get fiber the broadband was shocking. 4 or 5 people working on remote servers was dire so I started tethering to my phone. I never speed check it but it's fast enough to work. 

I also tether my chrome book out in the field a lot, again works fine. I prefer a proper connection though. 

 munkins 16 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

I've done it a few times, between houses or once because the dude I was living with didn't pay the bills and the internet got cut off. Find it decent for streaming and browsing but can take like 5 hours to download a game. It's ok-ish for online gaming but unstable, fibre is much better. Moved recently and took about three weeks to get connected, boy did we burn through data, 20 gig every two or three days. This is because we don't have a TV aerial and streaming TV hammers it. If I had a TV aerial and wasn't into gaming I'd just use 4g.

 elliot.baker 16 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone - I feel like I'm most likely to stick with normal broadband after reading this, also - I read that using mobile hotspot constantly can reduce the lifetime of your phone battery because there's more current running through it all the time - don't want to do that on a brand new expensive phone!

 tingle 16 Sep 2020
In reply to David Myatt:

Ditto, except the fibre. We have to dig a trench from the road for them to hook us up though.

In reply to elliot.baker:

During lockdown my NowTV internet cut out regularly and their call centre was closed. I had to work from home so I bought a cheap Huawei 4G router and an unlimited data sim with Voxi at £30/month. I was getting 45mbps download speed on average which was way higher than i'd ever got with NowTV. It was fine for video calls and Xbox Live, honestly i'd recommend it.

Just make sure you check your the coverage first. I'd initally tried an unlimited sim from Three at £20/month but the signal was garbage in my house

Added bonus was that the router is portable so I can even take it camping with me

Post edited at 16:49
In reply to the thread:

If you're working from home and sending lots of data as opposed to just receiving it, then it might be a good idea to check the Upload speed as well as Download.

In reply to elliot.baker:

Wow. No suggestions but it still is amazing the difference in decent coverage and the crap some suffer. I feel a bit smug. I rarely get less than 350mbps. 1gbps expected soon, to a bloody house not a power station.

In reply to thread:

All this talk about the phone. I assumed the OP meant a “Mi-Fi” unit 

 tom r 16 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

I used my phone as a mobile hotspot for about 2 years. I'm on 3 and had unlimited data for around £20 a month. When lockdown started I switched to standard broadband. I used it for work a couple days a week, it was mostly fine but with 3 the speed was very variable. The upload speeds were often quite poor, less than 1mb. By and large it works it's just slightly annoying having to turn the hot spot on all the time.

It is also annoying if you have dead spots in 4G coverage around the house. For example in my house if I was streaming to the tv, half the time I had no 4G coverage on the sofa so had to have my phone by the window, which gets annoying if you get a text etc. 

It is a faff setting up chromecasts using hotspots and obviously when you are out, wifi enabled stuff like smart door bells etc. won't work.

If there is more of one than one adult in the household it would be a pain, although if you call your hotspot the same name with the same password that would help having to keep swapping devices to different hotspots although then you have to remember to only have one active.

Post edited at 22:00
 tallsteve 17 Sep 2020
In reply to elliot.baker:

My son did exaclty this, a router in the attic with 4G.  The secret is in the aerials - two at 90degrees to each other (vertical and horizontal pointing the same way rather than rotated on the horizontal plane).

The big upside is he pops it into his van when he goes away.  We were all accessing his home wifi in Chamonix this summer (which will probably end when we leave the EU properly).  The downside was google location services got confused and kept placing us in Oxfordshire!  A brief connection on the phone to mobile data soon sorted that though.

Go with it and make sure the router is 5G ready.

In reply to tingle:

Openreach put 2 poles in for us for our fibre to premises. No charge at all.


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