A pocket Wi-Fi router is a small device that can be connected to multiple devices via Wi-Fi. It is essentially a Wi-Fi hotspot you can carry everywhere in your pocket. It is similar to the Wi-Fi router at your home, but it is small, lightweight, and battery-powered. On the other hand, a SIM card is a tiny microchip that plugs directly into your tablet, smartphone, laptop, etc. That brings us to the SIM card vs pocket Wi-Fi debate.
When you insert the SIM card, whatever data plan and bundles you have purchased get activated automatically. This is very useful when you are traveling abroad and buying a local SIM card, as it saves you tons of money on hefty international roaming charges. Both pocket Wi-Fi and SIM card have their pros and cons. In this article, you will learn about them in great detail.
Pocket Wi-Fi or SIM card; Which one to buy?
Public Wi-Fi is easily available everywhere these days, especially in urban areas of the developed world. This includes coffee houses, restaurants, malls, libraries, and lots of places people frequent. Public Wi-Fi is ubiquitous in many cities. But there are some big issues with these public Wi-Fi connections, the biggest being the privacy theft. Moreover, slow speeds, unreliable connection, and limited range are more common problems. It is always recommended to pay the extra money and buy a pocket Wi-Fi or a SIM card. But the confusion arises about which one is better than the other. In the coming section, we will learn about their advantages and disadvantages to compare a pocket Wi-Fi vs a SIM card.
Pros of pocket Wi-Fi routers
These are some benefits of a Wi-fi router:
- The greatest advantage of using it is that it is easy to use. Just turn the router on and the device/s will connect to it immediately.
- Pocket Wi-Fi has stronger signals even outside the city than SIM cards. It works well in both rural and urban areas.
- It supports/connects all the Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
- More devices and people can use data from a single pocket Wi-Fi as the data bundles are cheap in it and that too in a much bigger amount than a SIM data bundle.
- The fast speed of the internet is a big plus point of pocket Wi-Fi routers over SIM cards.
Cons of a pocket Wi-Fi router
Now for some downsides of pocket Wi-Fi routers:
- You need to watch the battery life and keep it charged. You may require to keep a power bank to charge it on the go.
- If the device is damaged, it will stop working and all the people depending on it may not be able to use the data.
- It needs protection from damage and requires a form of maintenance, unlike SIM cards.
- It is not as easy to discard.
Advantages of SIM cards
We need to cover the upsides of a SIM card now:
- No charging is required as it is just a piece of the microchip. However, the device where users insert it needs to be charged frequently or infrequently, depending upon its battery life.
- Needs less maintenance and carries a low risk of damage.
- If the device doesn’t work, you can use the SIM card in another SIM-compatible device easily. Hence, it is more portable than a pocket Wi-Fi router.
- You can use multiple local SIM cards, traveling to different countries. You can buy as many SIM cards as you want and thus can utilize as many payment plans as you need.
- Calling and SMS facilities are available in regular SIM cards, unlike pocket Wi-Fi routers.
- It’s easy to discard.
Disadvantages of a SIM card
Finally, several downsides of SIM cards:
- It supports only smartphones and a limited number of SIM-compatible tablets and laptops.
- Works well primarily in urban areas. The signal strength and good connectivity in rural areas are not as good as in cities.
- It is mainly used by a single person. The SIM data bundles are often not enough to be shared by others for a long time via mobile hotspot.
- Data speed is often less than the pocket Wi-Fi routers.
- Data bundles are more expensive.
Whether buying a SIM card or a pocket Wi-Fi router depends on your budget, data needs, and mobility. Certainly, a pocket Wi-Fi router in your home country would get much more expensive to use in another country. The same applies to your home network SIM as well. But at least you can buy a local SIM card at a cheap rate in a foreign country. Doing the same with a pocket Wi-Fi router will be a costly affair. If you are a frequent traveler, you can’t accumulate a lot of pocket Wi-Fi routers from different countries. This is something you can do with lots of local SIM cards.