In Praise of the Humble Hotspot (again)

Sierra AirCard 763s

One of the very first posts I wrote for the front page of these fine forums was about this hotspot, the Sierra Wireless (now NETGEAR?) AirCard 763S. I still have it and I’m glad that I do—when my DSL modem died last week the AirCard stepped up as my lifeline to the Internet for more than 48 hours.

I could have used the hotspot function on my phone, of course, but the 2600 MHz LTE connection on the AirCard is a hair faster than the LTE on my Koodo-powered phone. Perhaps more importantly, I find a dedicated hotspot to be a lot more convenient—for the two days I used it I just left it running and plugged into an outlet.

Rogers mobile Internet ain’t cheap, but my old flex rate data plan is at least better than their current data packages for smartphones. $40 CAD/month gets me up to 5 GB, and I managed to get through two days using less than 3.

On current mobile Internet plans from Rogers that same 5 GB will set you back $60/month. Even worse, you’ll have to pay $10/month just to keep the line active. I currently pay $5.

Hotspots are a dying breed, it seems. I asked someone from Huawei Canada about their sole hotspot offering—through WIND Mobile—and they confirmed that it’s a market in decline. That’s a shame. I’m definitely going to be hanging on to my AirCard; I don’t use it very often, but when I do it’s a lifesaver.

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