Whoever travels today hardly wants to do without a secure and powerful Internet connection. This is true not only for trips in one’s own country, but above all for trips abroad. And while cybercafés or Internet cafés seemed to be the only solution to the problem, especially in the 1990s, this approach is absolutely outdated today. Instead of looking for a stationary computer with questionable quality and connection speed, what counts today is flexibility and convenience. Internet everywhere and at any time is in demand. How you can also use WLAN everywhere in the world in 2021 and get secure as well as cheap and wireless access to the Internet, we show you in this post.
WLAN abroad – the status quo
With a few exceptions, connectivity to the Internet is now available everywhere in the world. Accordingly, prices are steadily falling and the range of connectivity options is increasing. At the same time, it is often worth using one’s own smartphone or laptop to go mobile online. Whether comfortably in the hammock, under palm trees or while sightseeing, good WLAN can also be fast, flexible and cheap abroad.
Depending on the country of travel, it offers itself to use public networks in cafes, restaurants or accommodations for free mobile Internet. But the good old SIM card also continues to be a reasonable solution in the search for WLAN abroad. Those traveling to Southeast Asia, for example, can buy a Vietnam SIM card on the spot within minutes and surf the Internet for low local fees. But even in South America, the network is surprisingly good. For example, we were traveling in the Amazon and our guides were watching a soccer game on their tablets via LTE.
In addition, since the beginning of 2020, projects such as Google Fi Germany also offers interesting possibilities. While this offer was limited only to the American market until 2019, Android and iPhone users can now use the service worldwide for optimal mobile and data coverage. Your smartphone automatically and intelligently switches between existing 4G LTE networks from T-Mobile, Sprint or US Cellular, as well as various Wifi hotspots, while using Google Fi. Without any hidden fees and at low monthly costs, users have access to free Wi-Fi everywhere in more than 200 countries. However, there are some restrictions that need to be taken into account. Therefore one should inform here before exactly when Google Fi makes sense.
Free WLAN everywhere – all options at a glance
A solid connection while traveling and internet abroad are hardly a problem today. Most hotels, hostels, restaurants or cafes like Starbucks, Coffee Company and the like, as well as museums or cultural institutions offer good WLAN for free. In addition, numerous apps offer you the opportunity to easily track down all available hotspots in your area. From my own experience, the following are particularly worthwhile:
- Avast WLAN Finder: The well-known provider shows you secure and powerful WLAN networks even abroad. The Avast WLAN speed may vary depending on the country of travel.
- Wiffinity: This provider allows automatic connection to public WLAN networks worldwide.
- Wi-Fi Finder and Speedcheck: An excellent WLAN finder with information on upload and download speeds.
- Ookla Speedtest App: Ideal if you want to test the current WLAN connection via mobile app.
Despite numerous possibilities even on trips free mobile Internet to use, the Internet speed is not always optimal worldwide. So depending on whether you just want to check your emails on the road or work as a digital nomadt, you should find out about suitable solutions in good time.
Broadband Internet Download Speed in 2021 (in Mbit/s)
For years, Asian metropolises such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur in particular have been leading the way in terms of fast broadband Internet, with over 220 Mbit/s. In comparison, Germany, with just under 118 Mbit/s, ranks just 32nd among countries offering reliable broadband Internet
This still puts Germany well above the average global upload speed of 49.44 Mbps, but it still falls behind many dream destinations. And even with average global download speeds of just under 92 Mbit/s, according to the Ookla Speedtest Global Index it is Southeast Asian major cities that offer the best connections.
Mobile Internet via SIM card
For those who don’t want to rely onthe existing public WLAN networks despite free Internet, the good old SIM card is still a useful solution at hand. In particular, local prepaid SIM cards with limited data volume help to avoid additional costs for roaming abroad.
While within the EU already since 2017 no roaming charges may be charged by law, the use of the home network outside the European Union usually does not work or is associated with horrendous costs. Who would like to accept therefore after the vacation no additional costs for mobile radio and mobile Internet, should inform early with its offerer about possible travel tariffs or use for example a Prepaid WLAN Router.
The latter is a mobile WLAN router for abroad in which you can easily insert different SIM cards. The prepaid WLAN router also allows you to use cheaper contract or prepaid data cards and simply swap them if necessary. With this solution, you can also use WLAN and mobile data simultaneously.This makes a mobile WLAN router for abroad an attractive solution for worldwide Internet connections.
Meanwhile, in general, if you want to surf abroad via SIM card, you can find out in detail about local connection prices and possible data packages for each desired destination on Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki. If you prefer a general solution, you can use the more expensive internationally valid SIM cards
Mobile Internet Download Speed in 2020 (in Mbit/s)
In terms of mobile Internet, the Ookla Speedtest Global Index confirms above all the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Taiwan and China excellent download speeds of 148 Mbit/s and more. Absolute laggards are, in addition to Italy, Poland and Morocco, countries in Central and South America. Here, download speeds of less than 40 Mbit/s are common.
This puts these countries below the global average for mobile Internet download speeds of 45.69 Mbps. And upload speeds here also barely reach the global average of 12.60 Mbit/s.
Travelers who want to find out about realistic data speeds for mobile and stationary Internet in advance have a wonderful tool at hand with the Ookla Speedtest. It not only shows current values, but also developments over the past months and years. Regardless of where you want to travel, you know in advance what to expect.
Mobile WLAN via Internet Stick for abroad
While a SIM card can be the solution for simple connections via your smartphone, digital nomads in particular usually need access to the Internet via a laptop for work. To achieve this, you can use your cell phone as a router or hotspot. Or you can get a WLAN stick for your cell phone and laptop. Hereby you can connect your smartphone either via USB or wirelessly with your PC.
A WLAN stick or surfstick allows you to insert any SIM card in your stick and then connect your desired device to the Internet. Depending on the provider and contract, an Internet stick guarantees you unlimited data volume at attractive conditions. However, it is important to make sure that the data processing of your SIM card matches that of the stick.
Mobile WLAN via WLAN Cube
As an alternative to the WLAN stick for cell phones and laptops, the so-called WLAN cube is worthwhile today. With a generally high connection speed, easy connectivity, integrated battery and its own firewall, the WLAN Cube offers you a secure and powerful connection to the Internet worldwide.
While a WLAN box to go like the Telekom Speedbox allows you to surf with up to 16 devices at the same time. The high-speed hotspot for on the go offers download speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s and speeds of up to 50 Mbit/s for uploads. In addition to well-known providers such as Telekom, you WLAN cubes are also offered by Huawei and other companies at reasonable prices.
Smartphone Hotspot – Wi-Fi to go
If you don’t want to take any extra ballast with you on your travels, you can also use your own cell phone as a router instead of a WLAN Cube. All you have to do is set up a Wifispot and connect your smartphone to your desired device via USB, Bluetooth or WLAN. Exactly how this works varies from manufacturer to manufacturer (you can find specific instructions on how to make the connection here).
Nevertheless, the smartphone as a hotspot is not a permanent solution.For while not only the battery of your phone is heavily used, the connection with laptop and other devices requires far greater amounts of data than usual. So it’s only worth taking the hotspot variant if enough battery and data volume is available. There are also some providers that offer Unlimited data – we had this in Taiwan, for example.
Interesting here can be the use of a Gigacube router a. The Gigacube is thereby a common WLAN router, which allows the connection to the Internet via the mobile network. It is therefore a good alternative to existing broadband connections. As a Gigacube abroad, the device can be used, for example, with a foreign or internationally valid data SIM card as a WLAN router prepaid.
Internet security via VPN
Independently of where the journey goes or for which of the presented alternatives you decide to be mobile on the road, you should capitalize security nowadays. Especially the many offered public WLAN networks do not meet basic security standards most of the time. Many travelers are not even aware of how much information they actually disclose when using such a network. Account data, search queries and locations are just some of the data that is often made available to third parties completely unknowingly.
To protect yourself from attacks by cyber pirates and hackers while traveling, it is therefore worthwhile to use a reputable VPN provider. With the help of a VPN network, your location as well as your data and information will only be transmitted in encrypted form. Whether passwords, credit card data, vacation photos or e-mails, you are protected from unwanted intrusions. In addition, depending on the VPN service you choose, you can not only surf anonymously to the greatest possible extent, but also access websites and offers independent of IP. And that means no more geo-blocking, for example. With a VPN service, you can therefore also access domestic sites abroad, stream series or view information that is censored in certain countries around the world.
While some providers such as Opera or Windows 10 offer dedicated VPN services today, one of the paid services is generally worthwhile. Here, increased security and a good data volume lure at mostly low monthly costs. My personal recommendation is Ivacy For free or as a premium version, you can use Betternet to establish reliable VPN connections for various devices and platforms.
Whether as a digital nomad, backpacker or as part of a spontaneous vacation trip, it is impossible to imagine our everyday lives today without the Internet. So it’s no wonder that you don’t want to do without this service when you’re on the road.
Because you have numerous options to use WLAN abroad even far from home, you should consider in advance what you need the Internet connection for. Do you just want to check your e-mails and stay in touch with friends and acquaintances via WhatsApp? Or do you plan to work on the go while on vacation?
Depending on your needs, destination and duration of your trip, different solutions such as a local SIM card, a prepaid WLAN router or WLAN cube or even just the smartphone used as a hotspot are available. Regardless of which option you choose, however, you should not skimp on a VPN service. This is because mobile networks in particular often have major security gaps.
And if a stable secure connection is guaranteed, you should not miss the opportunity to turn off the Internet once in a while, despite all the connectivity on your travels. Enjoy your travels, make new experiences outside the virtual world and simply let your soul dangle!
Do you have any other tips for us? Do you work or leave your smartphone right in your hotel when you travel? How do you stay connected on the road? We’d love to hear your comments and experiences!