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Should I get a mobile Internet stick for my laptop?

by Blogger on ‎05-29-2009 01:08 PM - last edited on ‎04-27-2012 05:41 PM by Moderator

Internet everywhere comes at a price


I'm sure you have seen the commercials from Rogers of late with a couple surfing the web with a bright red stick sticking out of their laptop. While using a laptop in a canoe is asking for it, IMHO, the idea is great, but is it the right one for you? Let me give you my experiences with mobile Internet as some food for thought.


I'm going to tell you right off that I have a similar product from Telus as the Rogers RocketStick. I've had it for well over a year and love the access and mobility that it gives me, however this mobility comes at a price (what it costs is irrelevant because the plan I have now isn't offered...not even close). It's exactly this price that you have to think about when deciding to get one.


Looking at any of the plans for mobile Internet you'll see that you will pay $x for yGB/MB of transfer, and while the cost of say $30 a month isn't too bad, if you exceed the amount of data allocated, the cost of additional data can be extreme.


 Who is it best for?


 These days WiFi is almost everywhere. Granted, it's not free everywhere, but there are lots of free places out there. How often have you needed to get online and just couldn't find a WiFi node? For most non-geeks, this isn't going to be often. If you have a smart phone like a Blackberry of iPhone, you have a lot of connectivity power there. I'd venture that while it might be cool, do you really need it?


That said, I use my stick when I need to be online and I need to know it will be there. When I just want to get online, I don't want to mess with finding an open WiFi node or messing with connecting to it. At conferences I hop on the available WiFi. If I know a café has good WiFi, I'll use it. If I'm at a client site, if I just need to get online, or am in an odd location (like in the car--not while driving!), my stick rules. When I was at the Yorkton (SK) Film Festival last week, I checked into my flight using my stick while riding in the van. Convenient to say the least.


Bottom Line


These Internet everywhere sticks are cool, fun, and awesome when you need them. I love mine and can't imagine not having it to rely on. Before you sign up for a three year contract, maybe try one. Is it going to be fast enough? Is it compatible with your machine? How fast would you go through data? The last question is tough because "it just depends" is the only real answer. Yeah if you try downloading a few 300 meg files, you'll burn through 1 GB fast. If you only check email and make sure that when you use it you stay lean on using apps, you can stretch it out. The real issue is that it is hard to "just try it" and see how you like it for a week. If you could do a week trial, I'd say go for it, but because you can't I'm going to suggest thinking about how you plan on using it before you make the leap.


And to also be absolutely clear, these internet sticks are NOT intended to be a replacement for your home Internet service. They aren't fast enough and the cost of data is much higher than you can get from either your cable co, phone co, or other providers.


Have questions? 

Message Edited by Laura on 07-13-2009 03:06 PM
Message Edited by JS on 07-24-2009 11:49 PM
Message Edited by ElizabethS on 07-26-2009 12:21 AM
Message Edited by Laura on 08-21-2009 09:44 AM
Message Edited by Laura on 08-21-2009 04:49 PM

by mmoprez on ‎09-02-2009 03:53 PM

I know this original is dated but quickly . would you say my connection on my blackberry is faster or slower than the rocket stick or equivelent ?





by direct00 on ‎09-14-2009 03:37 PM

"While using a laptop in a canoe is asking for it, IMHO, the idea is great,"


Have you seen the movie deliverance? - think about that in regards to mobile data rates before you sign up. In all seriousness  though, having mobile data is really a wonderful thing, it just won't be practical for normal non-business users until the rates come down and they have some kind of protection in place to stop users from running up an $80,000 dollar bill for the month for watching some youtube videos. Rogers, Bell, Telus are you listening? How about an account pannel, or SMS message that stops mobile internet before the bill goes over a pre-set and agreed to dollar amount.

by ricky on ‎12-27-2009 12:59 PM
what if someone in India gets a local stick, say from Relaiance, and sends a message to Canada....why would the IP address show up as from California? Are the messages re-routed????
by Lydia on ‎01-28-2010 11:53 AM



I'm looking for an internet stick so I can get access to the web, as for I'm traveling overseas and they don't have good connection or any connection at all. I want to know if there is any way I can find one that is a resonable price and I don't need any plan to be on..Or is there any way I can go on a plan with what my parents have and just take it with me?



by DRABRAHAM on ‎06-17-2010 10:26 AM




by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎06-17-2010 09:43 PM

Pay attention to download speeds, even if its' from the same carrier.  Even with the same carrier, the slower keys uses older networks.


For myself, I prefer to stick a data package on my Blackberry.  When I need mobile internet, I just plug my Blackberry 9700 and it can use the data on that plan.  No need to pay for two plans.  The 9700 uses the newer HSPA network for better performance compared to the EDGE/EVDO.

by Croft on ‎07-19-2010 10:25 AM

We used a Telcel 3G stick in Mexico last winter while we RV'd for six months. It gave me 3GB of data per month and it really worked well. I never came close to using all the data and I was emailing, Blogging and surfing every day.


The Mexican system allows you to pay by the month without a contract but I cannot find anything close to this in the USA.

by Chasdoe on ‎08-08-2010 06:57 AM

If I use an Internet Stick in combination with MagicJack ..... does it use up a lot of gigabytes during a call.

by andrid on ‎08-15-2010 10:27 PM

Are the messages re-routed????

by donald mickey on ‎10-20-2010 04:54 AM

any cable that can share 2 computers with l internet stick?

by elisa palma on ‎11-26-2010 11:07 AM

I want to go to Cuba for a month and I want to use internet there with my laptop, what would be the best way?

by ghitme on ‎05-17-2011 10:34 AM

I am considering getting a mobile stick for my laptop.  It has $29 unlimited service per month. Less than half of what I am currently paying .


Your blog on this topic was some time ago (2009).  Does it still hold true that the mobile sticks are slower and not as efficient 


This deal is really so much better than Rogers or Bell or many of the other companies offer.  The difference is "unlimited" service.  Lately  I always seem to go over the signifcantly curtailed limits Rogers recently imposed on its Internet service package.   I am willing to put up with some reduction in service if it means saving a significant amount of money every month.   BUT I DON'T WANT  REALLY SLUGGISH INTERNET SERVICE. 


What are your thoughts on mobile sticks now?





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