Tablet Buying Decisions: Wireless or 3G Internet? - dummies

Tablet Buying Decisions: Wireless or 3G Internet?

By Nancy C. Muir

Tablets offer two ways to go online: wirelessly or through a 3G (cellular) connection. Your Internet connection choice affects not only your overall cost but also the convenience and reliability of the Internet connection.

Wireless Internet connections for tablets

Wireless only tablets require a wireless network to connect to the Internet. That wireless network, called a Wi-Fi hotspot, might be your home network if you have one, or a public network such as you might find in a hotel, coffee shop, library, or airport.

Not every public hotspot is free; many hotels charge a fee for Internet access, and if you travel by train or ferry to work, they may charge a fee as well. Still, there are many public hotspots you can take advantage of — including some towns that provide free Wi-Fi throughout the area.

3G Internet connections for tablets

The second option for going online with a tablet is a wireless-plus-3G model. These devices can use a Wi-Fi network to connect to the Internet, but they can also connect through a cellphone provider’s 3G network. You will have to pay a monthly fee to your phone provider for using its 3G service, however using 3G allows you to go online wherever your phone provider’s network is available.