How Do Mobile Routers Work? [In Layman’s Terms]

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We have grown accustomed to having internet on tap 24 hours a day, anytime we need it, so we quickly get frustrated and annoyed when we travel and face expensive data roaming. A mobile router is an ideal solution. While these small devices may seem high-tech, they are easy to use and can connect you to the internet anywhere in the world at the most cost-effective pricing plans.

What is a Mobile Router?

A mobile router, also known as a pocket WiFi, mobile hotspot, MiFi or internet dongle, is a small wireless modem that connects any WiFi-enabled device to the internet over a 3G/4G telephone network.

It’s a portable WiFi hotspot that does the same thing as one you probably have at home, creating a network of around 10-15 meters all around you. No installation, wires, or software is necessary; all you need is a SIM card to switch on the mobile router and input the password.

An unlocked mobile WiFi device lets you insert any SIM card into them, regardless of where it is issued or what country you are visiting. The advantage is that you can always receive the cheapest rates because you may use a worldwide data SIM or a local data SIM. With the help of a portable WiFi device, you will be able to set up your private internet connection, anywhere in the globe, on at least ten devices simultaneously.

A mobile router is typically wireless and connects to the Internet via a SIM card, LAN connection, or public Wi-Fi.

How Do Mobile Routers Work?

These small mobile WiFi routers convert your 3G/4G and 5G connections into secure WiFi signals that your devices can access. The mobile router’s signal can reach approximately 10-15 meters without the need for any wires or cables. A mobile router is similar to your smartphone in that it uses a SIM card (Subscriber Identity Module) to connect to a mobile network.

Using a mobile router couldn’t be simpler,  just turn it on and follow the on-screen instructions for setting up a password-protected connection, just as you would at home with your standard internet connection to a modem. 

The mobile router is password-protected, so there is no need to be concerned about security issues. Depending on the device you buy, up to ten additional devices can be linked simultaneously to the mobile router, making these small mobile routers indispensable for family holidays.

Whether travelling for business or on holiday, at home, at a small office or even driving your car, you can connect to the Internet using a mobile WiFi router (yes, there are specific car mobile routers). 

Most mobile routers are compact and lightweight, so you can carry one wherever you travel. Ensure the SIM card you’re using gives you the most attractive rates for your destination. 

Using your UK SIM and paying roaming charges might not be as cost-effective as buying a new SIM card in the countries you travel through. Opting for a data-only SIM with unlimited data would be best because streaming movies and several people simultaneously accessing the internet can quickly drain your data.


Portable Router Pros + Cons


  • You can use a free Wi-Fi hotspot and build a personal Wi-Fi hotspot (which will not use your data plan).
  • You can use a wired connection and an Ethernet cable to create a personal Wi-Fi Hotspot. Ideal for saving your data and tapping into WiFi in hotels, etc. (if your mobile router has this option.
  • Unlocked SIMs provide the best coverage and local network.
  • Works with up to ten devices at the same time.
  • You can use it in conjunction with a pay-as-you-go contract.
  • Using a mobile router allows you to use your phone for other purposes, such as taking calls.


  • You have to carry an extra device.
  • Typically need recharging.
  • Devices will not work outside the WiFi range.

Are Portable Routers Worth It?

If you’re a frequent traveller who carries a slew of electronic devices, you might consider packing a mobile router. It’s easy to connect several devices to a wireless network using a mobile router. Hotel rooms that only have wired internet are a perfect fit for them. It’s not always convenient to connect to Netflix or other streaming services while away from home, so you can store your favourite shows and movies on a memory stick and stream them to your devices, provided you choose the right mobile router.

Your mobile router can also be handy at home. We’ve all got those pesky dead spots somewhere in the house, so to help eliminate those, you can use your mobile router as a WiFi extender. You can even extend the range of your WiFi network to include your back garden if you enjoy working outside on pleasant summer evenings.  

Undoubtedly, a mobile router is worth it and gives you a great choice of options.

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