Stay Connected Wherever You Go With a Travel Router

No power source? No problem

Travel router on a table

Getty Images

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

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

  • Compact size: Many travel routers are 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 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 through 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 with their own built-in access points.
Belkin Wireless G Travel Router F5D7233
belkin.com

Common Uses for Travel Routers

Mobile routers can be used to:

  • Reach the internet in areas where there is only cellular service.
  • 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 make mobile hotspots. These include Novatel, Huawei, Netgear, and Linksys. Cellular providers often sell travel routers under their brand names.