wi-fi hotspot
A mobile Wi-Fi hotspot can give you and your friends internet access, no matter where you are, with fast speeds and secure networks. Image Credit: Shutterstock

When you’re on vacation, or working on the road, there’s only so much you can rely on public Wi-Fi. Often, the connection is spotty, or non-existent. The best way to ensure you’re able to connect quickly, reliably, and for a long period of time, is through a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot device.

What are mobile Wi-Fi hotspots?

We asked our expert, Muhammad Usman Ilyas, assistant professor at the University of Birmingham Dubai’s School of Computer Science, to explain. He said: “Also known as a portable Wi-Fi router or Mi-Fi device, it allows you to create a wireless network connection by using cellular data. It acts as a personal, portable Wi-Fi router that can connect multiple devices to the internet simultaneously, such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, or any other Wi-Fi-enabled device.”

Have you ever turned on the hotspot mode on your phone, so that you could share internet access with a friend? Or used it to connect your laptop to the internet? Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots work in the same way, but they have built-in cellular modems and create a unique network that you can connect to, with a password.

It’s a handy solution when you’re working on the go, travelling with a group, or just trying to preserve your phone’s battery.

Ilyas said: “Modern smartphones can also serve as mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, but doing so depletes their battery faster, which can leave you stranded in the middle of the day. Travelling with a mobile hotspot can be more cost effective, because you only pay for one data connection that can then be shared by all the devices of all members of your party.”

What do I need to set it up?

According to Ilyas, to operate the device, you would need the device itself, a data plan from a mobile network provider, a Sim card (in some cases) and the ability to charge the hotspot when it runs out of battery. He said: “Data plans vary in terms of data allowances, network speeds, and costs, so you can choose a plan that suits your needs.”

If you’re buying one for international travel, there are other considerations to note. Ilyas advised: “If you plan to use your mobile Wi-Fi hotspot while traveling internationally, make sure you have the kind that is not locked to a specific cellular service provider's network and can accept a Sim card.”

In general, he recommends buying a device that supports your preferred mobile network carrier, and can work with the latest network technologies, such as 4G LTE or 5G “to benefit from faster download and upload speeds”. This is especially useful if you’re looking to stream videos or game via the hotspot.

Other aspects to consider are battery life, the Wi-Fi’s range, how many devices it can connect with, and how light and portable it is. Ilyas added: “Some mobile hotspots offer extra features, such as external antenna ports for improved signal reception, microSD memory card slots for file sharing, or Ethernet ports for wired connections. Consider any additional features that may be useful for your specific needs.”

We curated a list of excellent options for you, thanks to our expert’s recommendations, and top-rated user reviews. Pick your favourite with Amazon Prime and get it before you head out on vacation!

1. Best Overall: TP-Link M7350 Hotspot 


  • Supports up to 10 devices
  • Operates for eight hours at a time
  • Includes microSD card slot


  • No 5G support

With nearly 6,000 4.5-star ratings on Amazon, TP-Link’s M7350 Hotspot is a favourite among reviewers for the value it provides, at a great price. The device supports a 4G LTE network, which means it can reach speeds of up to 150Mbps. If you insert a 4G Sim card, you can use this dual-band hotspot as the hub for 10 device connections. Its battery life is impressive – the hotspot can operate at full capacity for eight hours, and on standby, it can go up to 480 hours without recharging. You can also leave it connected with its adapter for endless hours of 4G sharing. Reviewers have used the microSD card feature to share movies and music with friends successfully – another key feature that makes it a stellar purchase.

Bonus: Redeem a 15% discount with the promo code ‘PRIMEX15’ if you are a Prime member.

2. Best 5G Hotspot: Linksys 5G Mobile Hotspot 


  • Thin, lightweight
  • Connects over 15 devices
  • Excellent battery life with quick charging
  • Includes Sim card slot


  • Expensive
  • No visual interface

A powerhouse in a slim frame, Linksys’ mobile hotspot uses the powerful Qualcomm 5G Snapdragon chipset to provide you with fast mobile internet. It’s just 15.5mm thick and weighs 185g, but features a 4,000mAh battery that reviewers say has seen them through all-day usage. The device doubles as a Wi-Fi 6 router and can rack up speeds of up to 1.8Gbps, which means you can game, stream 4K videos and work without any issues. It’s easy to set up and control, but there’s no visual interface on the device – settings need to be adjusted through a browser.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh132.42 for 12 months with select banks.

3. Best Value: TP-Link 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot 


  • Compact, portable
  • Easy management through the linked app
  • Good battery life
  • Supports up to 10 devices simultaneously


  • No 5G support

Another winner by TP-Link, this no-nonsense mobile hotspot checks all the boxes for the average Internet user. It’s compact and portable, can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously, and has a solid Wi-Fi range, thanks to its 4G LTE network connection. You can set up the device through a smartphone app, where you can also configure data limits and control which users have access to it. The mobile hotspot features a powerful 2,000mAh battery, which means it provides up to eight hours of wireless connectivity. Parents in the reviews use this device in their cars, so that their kids’ tablets can stay connected to the internet seamlessly – a useful hack for road trips!

Bonus: Redeem a 15% discount with the promo code ‘PRIMEX15’ if you are a Prime member.

4. Best Premium: NETGEAR Nighthawk M6 Pro 


  • Incredibly fast speeds
  • Includes Wi-Fi 6 and 5G Plus support
  • Can be used as Wi-Fi booster at home
  • Includes a Sim slot
  • Unlocked for international use


  • Expensive

If you need ultra-fast speeds for gaming, or if you travel for work and often need to transfer large files, NETGEAR’s Nighthawk M6 Pro is the hotspot for you. The device supports any mobile data plan up to a whopping 6Gbps – all it requires is a nano Sim card and data plan from the mobile provider. It has the capability of connecting up to 32 devices, and its intuitive touch screen display makes it easy to set up and operate. Reviewers say they’ve connected to 5G Plus – a type of network that delivers a better combination of speed, capacity and coverage – in a number of countries with this device, and it has resulted in extremely fast transfer rates. While the Nighthawk M6 Pro does have a steep price tag, it will pay off for those who need to connect to Wi-Fi frequently and to regularly upload or download large volumes of data.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh415.75 for 12 months with select banks.

5. Best for Travel: GlocalMe G4 Pro Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot


  • Innovative network switching facility
  • Uses cloud Sim technology
  • Connects up to 10 devices simultaneously
  • Easy to set up and use


  • Some reviewers say its speed fluctuates

Built with flexibility in mind, GlocalMe’s new-age mobile hotspot works without the need of a Sim card. This is ideal when travelling abroad, since you’ll be able to avoid the hassle of researching about data plans and network providers in the region where you’re holidaying. All you have to do is pay online and the device’s cloud Sim technology selects the network with the best signal available. It’s fast, stable and supports network switching in over 140 countries. Reviewers say the pay-as-you-go facility offered by this hotspot has led to hundreds of Dirhams in savings for them, on international trips. You can share your Wi-Fi connection with up to 10 devices at once, and check the data flow and signal status right on the device’s visual interface.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh46.48 for 12 months with select banks.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.