Whilst both wireless dongles and broadband dongles allow a user to connect their device to an Internet access point, fundamentally the two devices are completely unrelated to one another. On the one hand, a wireless dongle assumes that an Internet connection is always active in the immediate vicinity; connecting to a wireless-enabled router via the dongle will generally provide the user with a faster connection than a broadband dongle.
However, consider the following scenario: a businessperson who regularly travels from location to location is never sedentary for long enough to make use of a static Internet connection through their laptop. As a result, they are only ever able to use their wireless adapter in locations where a) they are registered to log into an access port and b) they have been provided with the wireless key code. Speed, in this instance, is irrelevant if there is no active connection.
Broadband dongles, on the other hand, provide the user with a more readily available mobile solution that allows them to connect to the Internet whenever sufficient mobile coverage is available. The running costs of using a broadband dongle is also likely to be comparatively cheaper than setting up a home Internet system, particularly when considering that a phone line costs on average of at least £100 to install, with on-going monthly Internet and phone charges totalling at least £15 per month.
The Different Types of Broadband Dongle
Broadband dongles offer the user several options when it comes to how they manage and pay for their Internet connection. Pay As You Go broadband dongles allow the user to spend only as much money as they wish to add into their account; when the account balance is depleted, data can no longer be downloaded via the Internet and the account must be topped-up. This option is ideal for students or those on a budget who need to watch their finances more carefully. For those who require a constant Internet connection, monthly contracts are available; this option is popular amongst business professionals and those who regularly travel and require frequent access to the Internet.
The cost of broadband dongles varies depending on the package. For example, a monthly contract dongle that offers a limited amount of downloads per month may be as inexpensive as £10 per month, while the more frequent Internet user may wish to opt for a package in the region of £30 per month. Pay As You Go dongles also vary in price; an average of 5p per MB is a good way of measuring the cost and, whilst this is option works out more expensive than a contract dongle option, the user has the benefit of not being tied to a contract; they only pay for the service when the Internet is accessed and used.
All major mobile providers in the UK offer broadband dongles, both on a Pay As You Go basis and a monthly contract.