Mobile Broadband: What Is It and How Does It Work?

In the last few decades, the way we use the internet has evolved in so many ways. In the 90s, we spent minutes just connecting to the internet, connection points were easily congested, and everything had to be hard-wired. Nowadays even our watches can get high-speed internet access without any notable lag time.

Perhaps the most notable change that pushed the internet forward the most was the creation of broadband internet. After years of utilizing dial-up connections that took a long time to work and could easily fail on you, broadband gave us more accessibility with connection speeds that took a fraction of the time.

Today, in addition to traditional broadband internet, we also have mobile broadband; the next innovation in mobile networks. With mobile broadband, we have access to incredibly powerful networks no matter where we are, without being tethered to our homes.

But what exactly is mobile broadband, and how does it work? Navi provides the details.

How Does Fixed-line Broadband Work?

Contrary to popular belief, broadband actually uses the same phone lines that dial-up would, albeit much more efficiently.

To understand mobile broadband, we need to first understand what traditional broadband is. Before broadband, the primary method of connecting to the internet was through a dial-up connection.

What you were basically doing in this situation is calling your service provider and dialing into the network. Your computer would dial into a modem located at your internet service provider, and once you were connected you could interface with the worldwide web.

A dial-up connection uses your phone line as a single pathway, used for any downloading, uploading, or calling. This is why you couldn’t talk on the phone while being online with a dial-up connection.

In contrast, a broadband connection splits your data into multiple channels. Downloads and phone calls can occur at the same time because they are segmented into separate channels that do not interfere with one another.

Broadband can be 100 or even 1000 times faster than dial-up internet due to this improved level of efficiency.

What Is Mobile Broadband?

Mobile broadband builds off of fixed-line broadband by expanding the freedom you have when connecting to the internet. Instead of being fixed to a phone line, mobile broadband works by connecting a device directly to cell phone towers. These compatible devices send data packets back and forth with the cell towers without having to connect to a wire.

Many different types of devices are compatible with mobile broadband networks. The most popular modern cell phones have SIM cards that can access 3G, 4G, and now 5G networks without being connected to WiFi. You can also purchase mobile hotspots or dongles that connect you to your devices and act as a mobile access point for the internet.

hones can also act as hotspots for your other devices. Mobile broadband networks are centralized on how much data you allot to that device per pay period.

Instead of paying for access by the minute, you pay by the gigabyte of data. Some carriers offer deals that let you get unlimited data, allowing you to utilize the internet on your phone no matter where in the country you are.

Benefits of Mobile Broadband

The clearest benefit of mobile broadband is that you can go wherever you want without having to look for a connection point.

While both wireless and wired home connections require you to either plugin or stay near the access point, mobile broadband internet connects you directly to local cell towers. This means that you can travel without worrying about how to connect to the internet, so long as you have purchased a data plan for your device.

It is also very convenient given that a huge percentage of people already own devices that can act as mobile hotspots. Now that home internet and cell phone networks have been made separate, not everyone is willing to take on the extra expense of in-home internet.

In fact, some homes don’t even have a fixed-line as an option anymore due to changes in our infrastructure. Mobile broadband is fast, reliable, and easy to use wherever you are.

Cons of Mobile Broadband

The biggest issue with mobile broadband is the cost. You could potentially be paying per gigabyte of data, which will usually come out to more than you would be paying for home internet given how much data we go through in the modern era.

Many fixed-line plans are considerably cheaper than what you can get a limited data mobile broadband plan for.

Another issue is that you need to be in an area where cell service is excellent. Since you are not getting your internet through a wired connection, you need to make sure that you have strong access to local cell towers.

If you don’t, you could end up with slow speeds and poor connection rates. Mobile broadband definitely has a time and place, but for most people, it will not act as a suitable substitute for in-home internet with our current technological climate.


The emergence of broadband into the public eye changed the way we use the internet, and mobile broadband is poised to do the same in the coming years.

While we are not yet at the point where mobile networks can replace fixed-line networks, both from a financial and structural standpoint, they are still a major part of how we interface with the internet.

Because so many people have a smartphone, many people already have access to the internet using mobile broadband whenever they are not close to a trusted WiFi connection point.

With 5G on the scene, these networks are better than ever, and it is important to have devices that are compatible with these networks given how much society is trending towards requiring mobile access to the internet.

Visit Navi for more information on mobile broadband or to shop for the latest mobile plans.


Best Dial-up Internet Providers in the USA (2022) | Broadbandnow

What is broadband internet? | CenturyLink

How Mobile Broadband Services Work | HowStuffWorks

Could 5G Home Internet Be the Solution to Your Broadband Needs? | CNET

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