How Mobile Broadband Works?

Mobile Broadband is one of the most preferred and easy way for online computing. This type of service is offered by almost all the mobile operators across UK. Users are provided with a USB dongle which can access the provider’s mobile network and connect to the internet. It uses the 3G standards to transfer data at a maximum speed of 14.4Mbps. These devices are more compact and provide a complete wireless solution. Also some USB dongles provide access to multiple users at the same time.

Mobile Broadband Explained

The transfer of data in a wider bandwidth at faster rate is known as broadband. A similar service is provided wirelessly using the mobile networks is called Mobile Broadband. A USB modem or dongle or data card is used to transfer data from the computer to the mobile base station. These devices are capable of accessing the mobile signals with the help of SIM card which is either embedded or inserted in the device.

The working of a mobile broadband is similar to a mobile phone; however it’s capable of transferring both voice and data simultaneously. The SIM card used for accessing the broadband network works using the 3G standards like EDGE, CDMA-2000, EV-DO, UMTS, etc. That’s why it is referred as 3G Broadband.

Data Transfer

Mobile Broadband is one of the secured ways of data transmission. The USB modem is controlled by the connection manager software. It helps to establish a connection between the modem and the mobile bases station. The SIM card is powered by the modem and searches for the mobile signal. The sync is established if the authentication process is successful. Now the computer is ready to transmit data.

The data travels through the mobile signals in an encrypted format and reaches the mobile base station. From the mobile base station it reaches the internet cloud and retrieves data. The security of mobile broadband is high especially due to the reason that it works using a unique IP address. To be clear, all the USB modems provided with a local IP address which is for identification within the firewall of the mobile broadband network. Whereas communication beyond the firewall happens with a unique IP address. This feature makes the work for the hackers tougher.

The speed of the data varies based on the type of signals available in the area. At present the two standards used in the mobile signals are 2G and 3G. The 2G standards offer a speed limit of less than 1Mbps. But the 3G signals can transmit data up to a speed of 14.4Mbps. However, the current mobile broadband speed of UK is in the process of upgradation from 7Mbps to 14.4Mbps. Also the next generation mobile broadband standards like 4G can offer download speeds of 100Mbps.

Another factor which can affect the speed of data transfer is the mobile coverage and signal strength. All the wireless and mobile signals are vulnerable to physical disturbances. The stronger the signal, so is the speed of the data travel.

USB Modems and Devices

Modem is an interface which can send and receive data packets from the internet to the computer. It can be either integrated or connected externally to the computer. There are many types of such interfaces to access the mobile broadband. USB modems and dongles are devices which connect externally from the USB port of the computer. These devices have a slot to insert a 3G SIM card. These devices gain power from the computer and initialize the SIM card to gain access to the nearest mobile signals. Some laptops have built in modems with a slot to insert the SIM card. But data cards differ from these modems. To make it simple they are external modems with integrated SIM cards and are connected to the computer using data card slots.

Know more about Mobile Broadband modem


Mi-Fi is otherwise known as Mobile Wi-Fi. This is a mobile broadband router which allows multiple users to access a mobile broadband network through Wi-Fi. This device is not connected to any computer; instead it is powered by using lithium battery. Any computer enabled with a wireless facility can gain access to the mobile broadband using the Mi-Fi router. However, the customer can setup the device to provide or restrict access to certain devices. But these devices cannot be used for file sharing between the connected computers since it does not support the wireless 802.11n standard.

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One of the important features of these USB modem is to install the driver and the setup software without the requirement of any external media like CD or DVD. Also it is an auto installation process which does not need any information to be fed during the installation. All these SIM cards are identified using a unique 10 digit number which is one of the login credential.

These modems start the software installation automatically to any device to which it is inserted for the first time. By default the device automatically connects to the internet as soon as it is plugged in to the computer. However, users can change these options from the settings menu. This software is known as ‘connection manager’ which allows variety of functions like connect/disconnect, change login credentials, Monitor data usage, check the signal strength and speed of data transfer, access account services of the respective mobile operator.

Know more about Mobile Broadband Usage