4G Hotspot and USB Modem Roundup: Notebook & Laptop 4G Connections

If you want to connect your notebook to the 4G networks of Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile you have a collection of new options to get your laptop, notebook or MacBook connected on the go. Many of these solutions will also allow you to connect your WiFi devices like the iPad 2 or a Nintendo DS to the superfast 4G networks.

4G Showdown

What is 4G?

While we may go back and forth about the definition of 4G, and the speeds vary from carrier to carrier, there is one thing e can agree on — 4G is fast. We ran a speedtest on the HTC Thunderbolt which uses Verizon’s 4G network and were able to clock the following speeds. Yes, these speeds may slow some when the more users get on the network, but you should still expect around 12MB per second downloading and 5MB per second uploading. Keep reading to see how the 4G speeds compare across networks.

Types of 4G Notebook Connections

There are three main ways of connecting your notebook or WiFi gadgets to the high speed 4G network – USB Modem, Mobile Hotspot and Tethering with a 4G smartphone. All of these solutions have strengths and weaknesses, but whichever way you decide to connect you’ll be able to get connected faster than you thought possible.

4G USB Modem – Small and plugs into your notebook. Pro: No battery Con: Won’t work with more than 1 device or the iPad 2

4G Mobile Hotspot – Small, portable with ability to connect multiple devices over WiFi. Pro: WiFi anywhere you are. Con: Bring a cord because the battery may run out fast.

4G Smartphone Tethering/Personal Hotspot – No need for another device, tap to start your hotspot. Pro: Built into many phones, cheaper than standalone plans. Con: Burns through battery life fast.

4G USB Modems (By Carrier)

Sprint 4G USB Modems:

Sprint 3G 4G USB Modem

Sprint 4G USB Modem

Verizon 4G USB Modems:

LG 4G LTE USB Modem VL600

Verizon 4G LTE USB Modem

T-Mobile 4G USB Modem:

T-Mobile 4G USB Modem

T-Mobile 4G USB Modem

4G Mobile Hotspots (By Carrier)

Sprint 4G Mobile Hotspots:

Sprint 4G MiFi

Sprint 4G MiFi

Verizon 4G Mobile Hotspots:

Verizon 4G LTE MiFI

Verizon 4G LTE MiFI

T-Mobile 4G Hotspots:

tMobile 4G Hotspot

T-Mobile 4G Hotspot

4G Smartphones with Hotspot

Sprint 4G Smartphones with Mobile Hotspot:

Sprint personal hotspot 4G

HTC EVO 4G with Personal Hotspot

Verizon 4G Smartphones with Mobile Hotspot:

thunderbolt-htc 4G personal hotspot

HTC Thunderbolt with 4G Personal Hotspot

T-Mobile 4G Smartphones with Mobile Hotspot:

T-mobile personal hotspot 4g

T-Mobile G2x with 4G Personal Hotspot

4G Hotspot, Modem and Smartphone Tethering prices

Sprint 4G Data Plan Pricing:

  • MiFi and USB Modem – $59.99 for 4G Unlimited and 3G 5GB/month
  • Personal Hotspot (in addition to data plan) – $29.99

Verizon 4G Data Plan Pricing:

  • MiFi and USB Modem – 5GB for $50/month, 10GB for $80/month
  • Personal Hotspot (in addition to data plan) – $14.99

T-Mobile 4G Data Plan Pricing:

  • MiFi and USB Modem – 5GB for $50/month, 10GB for $85/month
  • Personal Hotspot (in addition to data plan) – $14.99

4G Speeds (By Carrier)

The 4G network speeds vary from carrier to carrier and often from place to place within the city, but we have collected the claimed speeds from Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile below. In some cases we have been able to achieve faster speeds depending on the location.

If you want to know how coverage and speeds are in your area, the best bet may be to ask around amongst your friends and coworkers to see how their 4G speeds are.

Claimed 4G Speeds: Actual Speeds may be higher or lower in practice.

Sprint 4G Speed – 3-6MBps download/1MBps upload

Verizon 4G Speed – 5-12MBps download/2-5MBps upload

T-Mobile 4G – Speed – 5-8MBs download/ not stated

4G Coverage Areas

4G coverage is limited to major cities and airports right now, but most major carriers are working on a fast and massive 4G rollout. Verizon, for example, is on an ambitious push to cover a large number of metropolitan areas by the end of 2011. We have heard from several sources who have told us that the 4G rollout should happen much faster than the initial 3G rollout.

Sprint 4G Coverage:

Sprint - 4G Nationwide Coverage

Sprint 4G Coverage

Check Sprint 4G coverage in more detail.

Verizon 4G Coverage:

Verizon 4G coverage

Verizon 4G Coverage

Check Verizon 4G coverage in more detail.

T-Mobile 4G Coverage:

Tmobile 4G wireless coverage

T-Mobile 4G Coverage

Check T-Mobile 4G coverage in more detail.

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