How to Connect to the Internet From Anywhere

By B. Steele

As the Internet has moved from being a novel source of entertainment to a major component of daily life, you might feel like your right arm is missing if you can’t get online to check email, pay bills or do shopping. However, you can usually get connected -- whether you live in a major city or in one of the most remote places on the planet -- as long as you have the right device and Internet service.

Step 1

Tether your smartphone to your computer. If you have a data plan, sign up for tethering service so that you can use your phone as a modem or wireless access point. You can then connect your laptop or desktop -- if you have a wireless network card installed -- to the device and go online from virtually anywhere, as long as your phone can pick up a cell tower signal.

Step 2

Sign up for 3G or 4G wireless Internet service from providers such as Verizon, T-Mobile or Clearwire (see Resources). When you sign up for service, you get a standalone wireless access point, also called a MiFi device, that enables you to connect several computers at once. Many of these super-portable devices fit in the palm of your hand and offer battery-only operation.

Step 3

Consider satellite Internet service if you live in a remote location. Popular providers include HughesNet, WildBlue and MyBlueDish (see Resources). Offering speeds faster than dial-up, satellite Internet is ideal for people living in extremely rural areas or third-world countries where cable and DSL services are not available. You can get online from virtually any place, as long as you can get electricity. However, due to speed and bandwidth limitations, satellite Internet service is not a good value for your money if 3G or 4G service is available in your area.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your laptop does not offer bluetooth connectivity, you can purchase a bluetooth adapter that will connect to a USB port
  • Some people "root" their smartphones, install a tethering app, and then use the phones as modems or wireless hotspots without signing up for tethering service through their carriers. However, keep in mind that doing so may violate your terms of service.