Stay Connected Wherever You Go With a Travel Router

No power source? No problem

Travel router on a table

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A travel router is a category of broadband routers designed for people who are on the go and need to connect to the internet when they are away from a power source.

Characteristics of Travel Routers

Belkin Wireless G Travel Router F5D7233
Belkin Wireless G Travel Router F5D7233.

Travel routers (often called mobile hotspots) typically possess several characteristics that distinguish them from other broadband routers:

  • Compact size. Many travel routers are only a few inches wide and can slip into a pocket. Their small size makes them convenient to carry from place to place.
  • Battery-powered. A quality travel router features a built-in rechargeable battery that allows the router to be used for at least a few hours without being connected to an electrical outlet.
  • Tethering capability. To supply online connectivity when wireless hotspot services aren't available, a travel router accesses the internet via a tethered cell phone. High-end mobile routers incorporate a built-in cellular modem that eliminates the need for tethering.
  • Wi-Fi client support. Advanced travel routers can join hotspots as Wi-Fi clients and share connections out to other clients via their own built-in access points.

Common Uses for Travel Routers

You can use a mobile router to:

  • Reach the internet in areas where there is only cellular service.
  • Help a family share one paid internet connection at a hotel.
  • Allow business travelers to share files easily with one another.
  • Stay connected while hiking or boating.

Many manufacturers of full-size traditional routers also make mobile hotspots. These include Novatel, Huawei, Netgear, and Linksys. Cellular providers often sell travel routers under their own brand names.