As a pop culture journalist, dealing with deadlines, setting up meetings and making last-minute travel plans on my laptop means going online at a moment’s notice. That’s why I never leave home without a USB modem.
Here are just a few scenarios in which my USB modem makes a difference for me on the road:
It’s easily accessible
While it might seem that there's an accessible Wi-Fi hotspot around every corner these days, there are actually a lot of places where this just isn't the case. Many times, I've been working on an assignment in a hotel room or on-site at a convention or event, only to find that there was no available Wi-Fi-or there is Wi-Fi, but it costs an exorbitant amount to use.
Even using my smartphone as a mobile hotspot can be a hassle if I’m on the phone when I need to look something up. With my USB modem, I just plug into the laptop, and I’m good to go.
Another issue with Wi-Fi is you're anchored to a specific place. When I'm downloading files for a piece but need to be moving on to the next appointment, a USB modem can't be beat. Sometimes I'm in a cab on the way to a venue and realize I need to make a last-minute edit. With a USB modem, my connection goes with me, so I'm not out of range and forced to leave work half-finished.
One big concern of mine is security. Many places where Wi-Fi is available may not have adequate safeguards. Even worse? You might not even be connected to a location's actual network, but rather a hotspot cooked up by somebody looking to skim your personal data. With my USB modem, I've got direct access online, bypassing these threats and making sure any exclusives I'm working on stay exclusive.
Whether I'm in the city or on the road, I've had no issues with my USB modem staying connected on Verizon's network. That means not missing deadlines because of a dropped or slow connection.
David Chapman is an entertainment writer who has been covering pop culture interests for more than ten years.