I’ve been traveling lately. Recently to the ocean. See below.

On the Pacific beach with power and Internet.

On the Pacific beach with power and Internet.

And then to Lincoln, Nebraska.

As I move around I take with me a couple portable internet devices. One is a Sprint Gateway (by Netgear) with ethernet ports on the back. This is in the picture above in the green circle. The other is a hotspot — about the size of a bar of soap.

Even though both are capable of LTE connections, I often find that forcing the devices into 3g modes is the better option. For example, in Lincoln, I found that the LTE speed was actually slower than the 3g speed in some locations. This was due, I’m sure, from a weak LTE signal the cell site.

In other situations, there is no LTE signal. This is why I paid the extra money for devices that have both capabilities — 3g and LTE. This was a good decision. I’m able to use the devices in many more places and therefore get more value for the money.

Sure, 3g is slower than LTE, but 3g is better than no connection at all. And sometimes the 3g speed is sufficient to stream video.

When choosing a hotspot, keep in mind that 4g and LTE are not everywhere. If you want maximum coverage, get a device that will include 3g.