Anyone who must surf the internet from a Private internet enabled device like the PC, Laptops and Tablets must have at a point thought of getting a USB Modem device.

A Modem according to Encarta dictionaries is an electronic device that connects computers via a telephone line, allowing the exchange of information.

It consists of a modulator to convert computer information into a telephone signal and a demodulator to convert it back again.”

I have always used a Modem since I started browsing on my Laptop. My most notable Modem I have ever bought is a Huawei Modem that has served me since 2008 and I still use it today if am not making use of my other Modem that has Voice call over the PC support.

Portable WIFI hotspot
Portable WIFI hotspot

On the other hand, WIFI isn’t new to many of us, but what is certainly new to not a few people is the Portable WIFI hotspot device like MTN’s MIFI and especially the now famous Android device in-built portable WIFI Hotspot! I wrote an early article on this later Hotspot from your Mobile phone and it still amazes me that a lot of Android phone/Tablet owners do not know how their Android device can connect more than one PCs and Mobile devices to the internet via the wireless device WIFI!

USB Modem VS. Portable/Mobile WIFI Hotspot

As a regular user of the Modem and WIFI Hotspot, I can compare and contrast these internet connection options.

Today, the Modem is so common and traditional that many thinks it’s the only available option for connecting one’s private PC to the internet, of course not!

Both the Modem and WIFI Hotspot can serve you very well. But when there is an alternative, one must have a favourite and this isn’t unpeculiar to our subject because the difference between Modem and WIFI Hotspot is a plain line.


The Modem is the most common method of connecting to the internet. Most USB Modems can connect a 3.5G (HSDPA) network with a peak surfing rate of 7.2Mbps in Nigeria and less in some other West African countries and same in many parts of Asia including India. The 4G network isn’t common here so almost all the USB Modems here connects at that rate in an ideal condition.

Yes, the USB Modem mode of connection has served us well over these years but we can’t help but to remind Mymobnet! readers what we do not like about them. Doing this, i.e. finding the USB Modem de-merits will help us seek for a better one or stick to it if there is nothing like it!

Cons of the Modem:

I repeat it here that USB Modem has served us well and it will continue to do so in many more years to come but these are what I consider, from my experience in this Tech world, to be the negative importance of connecting to the net over a USB Modem:

  1. Not Portable: Unfortunately, one must plug/fix the USB Modem to the System USB port before it can access and connect the PC to the internet. This means that the Modem becomes a part of your System’s hardware and it must be where your PC is before it can work. This is not good!
  2. Connects only one PC:     Its bad that the typical USB Modem cannot connect more than one PC at a time. This means that 5 PC owners in a single hall must buy 5 additional Modems, 5 SIMS and 5 different Internet bundle plans if they must be connected to the internet 🙁 Why can’t one Modem carry out this job a great satisfying length?
  3. Takes time to Install and start up:      Modems don’t just start immediately after plug in. They first of all link to the already installed software and dial from it. This whole start up process takes several seconds and sometimes minutes before they are due for connection. The worst is that it will fail to start up properly sometimes and this isn’t a nice experience when you have something urgent to do with the WWW.
  4. Poor Voice calling:            I must commend the way MODEMs organise your saved SMS and incoming messages. But it normally does not efficiently handle voice calls. My former Modem cannot handle it at all and my new Modem picks up voice call but produces a shaky highly alternating sound frequency from the caller. In other words, once your SIM is inserted into your Modem, you will do well to forget about Voice calling.
  5. Others: Other things you may not like about Modems are the additional cost of the device, crashing of the Modem software which can be frequent sometimes, etc.

So far said, we shall proceed to compare these demerits with WIFI hotspot especially as found in most Android devices.

Comparison with WIFI Hotspot (Freely built in many Android devices)

First of all, I must assert now that I use both the Modem and WIFI Hotspot. You will find me using the Modem mainly when my WIFI Hotspot heats up my Android device or when the 3G network isn’t steady and I want to try a 2G network. It’s unfortunate that almost all Android phones will not allow you to alternate between EDGE and HSDPA networks, so the Modem has an advantage over the WIFI Hotspot in these respects.

However, WIFI Hotspot almost fills all the space that Modem could not. With a WIFI Hotspot,

  1. Highly Portable and Wireless:  You don’t need to tie your Hotspot to your PC or USB port. Just turn it on and it covers a wide area, your entire building and surrounding!
  2. Connects up to 5 devices:          It can even connect more but it’s advisable to stop at 5. Once my hotspot is on, I invite my authorised users to connect their PCs and WIFI supported phones and all of us browse the net on the go! This is fun, isn’t it?
  3. Starts immediately:         No installation is required, just switch it on and that’s it, Your PC should pick it from there.
  4. Still stay online!    If you are using the Hotspot from your Android phone, then you can virtually do all with your phone whilst you connect other PCs. Voice call is enabled and there are no hitches.

Now you too can decide which mode of connection you prefer. As for me, don’t be surprised to see me with the two at different times!