Internet Access Alternatives
There are a wide range of ways you can access the Internet: wired and wireless, mobile and fixed, low and high usage. The page aims to briefly summarise the likely alternatives for PCUG members, with links to other sites with more information and comparisons of these alternatives.
Lower Usage Access
To support basic email sending and receiving and modest web usage.
This service is provided using mobile phone technologies. In all cases a suitable mobile subscription (and SIM card) will be needed, with some amount of data included. This subscription may be either pre or post-paid, with data either included in the base subscription, or purchased using some form of "add-on" data pack. The basic choice here is which major network (Telstra, Optus or Vodaphone) you choose to connect to, and whether to purchase your subscription from them or from one of their resellers. There are a very large number of alternatives available. You need to consider the mobile phone coverage area of the chosen network for the locations you want to access the service from.
There a several possibilities for accessing this service:
- using a mobile broadband hotspot - this is a small device that creates a small local wireless that several devices can connect to (including laptops, mobiles, tablets, wifi e-readers, etc) to share the mobile broadband link it manages. This is a flexible option that allows one link to be shared by several devices. The mobile SIM for this link is installed in the hotspot, and you would typically use a data-only mobile broadband subscription (either pre or post-paid).
- use of a tablet or smartphone with a data plan to directly access net services - where you tablet has a SIM with mobile (rather than just WiFi) data capability, or you have a smartphone with mobile SIM. You can use the applications provided on these to access Internet services using the respective data-only mobile broadband, or general mobile with data added, subscriptions on the device.
- share your smartphone's data connection by configuring it as a WiFi hotspot to connect devices to
+ wireless broadband (such as NetSpeed's Longreach Broadband service)
for those in suitable service areas
A continually decreasing number of ISPs also still offer dialup access. And there are the obvious ADSL/Cable/NBN
Higher Usage Access
To support those with heavy web usage and/or significant multimedia downloading or streaming.