Looking for a temporary way to get broadband at home?
In this article, we’ve explained 5 of the best ways to get online temporarily, while still getting good download speeds.
TCL MiFi Device
No Contract Broadband
Best temporary Wi-Fi solutions
In this section, we’ve explained 5 of the best ways to get temporary internet in the UK, at home or at temporary accommodation, or when travelling.
1. Three 5G Hub
Three’s 5G Hub is just like a regular Wi-Fi router, except it takes a SIM card, and connects to the mobile network, rather than using your phone line.
This mobile broadband router can be used anywhere in the UK, as long as you have 4G or 5G signal, and somewhere to plug it in.
Plus, Three offers the 5G Hub on a 1-month pay as you go contract, and it comes with unlimited data. However, with this short term deal, the upfront cost is higher than on the default 24 month plan.
If you can get Three 5G signal where you live (check this here) you can get download speeds of around 500 Mbps with the Three 5G Hub. We were able to get speeds of more than 700 Mbps with this device.
Overall, as long as you have somewhere to plug it in, the Three 5G Hub is a great way to get temporary internet access at home.
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If you need a more portable way of getting online, the Three 4G MiFi device, made by TCL, might be a better choice.
Although it only comes with 4G download speeds, rather than 5G, this MiFi device has a battery, meaning it doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time.
It works similar to a dongle, but creates its own Wi-Fi network that multiple devices can connect to, rather than plugging into a single computer.
This might make it a more convenient choice in certain types of accommodation, such as caravans or motorhomes, or if you’re looking to get online when travelling.
You can buy this mobile Wi-Fi router with a range of different data plans. It doesn’t come with unlimited data by default, but this means you can save money if you don’t mind having a smaller monthly data limit.
There are high upfront costs on this router if you choose a pay as you go plan, however it still offers very good value for money.
The main downside to using a MiFi device is its Wi-Fi signal isn’t as good. For two or three people in a small house it’s fine, but it’s not the best solution for large families who are online all the time.
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For those who work from home, or families that value having consistent download speeds and low latency, having a fixed-line broadband connection might be preferable to using 4G or 5G.
While most British broadband providers require you to sign a 12, 18, or 24 month contract, NOW Broadband gives you the option of buying a pay as you go broadband plan.
You’ll pay a high upfront cost, but NOW will still send you their router, and you’ll be able to get average download speeds of 67 Mbps with their Super Fibre broadband deal.
Since NOW Broadband uses the Openreach broadband network, their service is available almost everywhere in the UK, although you might have to choose their slower 36 Mbps Fab Fibre plan in some areas.
Also, NOW offers great value for money, at least when it comes to their monthly costs. Their broadband deals are very reasonably priced.
It’s worth pointing out, NOW Broadband’s no contract packages are quite well-hidden on their website. You’ll need to choose a fibre broadband plan and proceed through the checkout process before they give you the option of buying the package on a month-to-month basis.
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To get online for a short period, you could also consider buying a data SIM card, and setting up a hotspot on your phone when you want to get online.
We’ve recommended Three data SIM cards here because they offer better value for money than any of the other major mobile networks in the UK. Plus, they give you unrestricted access to their 5G network, unlike some other carriers, and their network has great coverage throughout the country.
The downside to using a mobile hotspot is you’ll need to set it up on your phone every time you want to get online, and you’ll need to keep your handset plugged in, to keep it charged up.
This could be a bit of a hassle if you’re online all the time – your phone might get quite hot, and the battery might degrade if you do this on a regular basis.
However, if you’re just looking to get online in the short term with a few devices, using your phone’s hotspot, a data SIM could be a good option.
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5. Three 4G Hub
If you can’t get 5G signal at the address you type into the Three website, they will redirect you towards their 4G Hub router instead.
This device costs a similar amount to the 5G Hub, comes with unlimited data, and is also available on a pay as you go contract. The difference is, it only offers 4G download and upload speeds.
In general, you can expect to receive a download speed of 30-50 Mbps with this Wi-Fi router, which is enough for most households on a short-term basis.
The exact speeds you’ll get depend on how good the mobile signal is at your address. Fortunately, Three offers a 30-day money back guarantee on this router, in case the speeds aren’t good enough for your needs.
Just keep in mind, this mobile broadband router comes with a high upfront cost if you buy it on a month-to-month basis. Also, it’s not always available on a 1-month contract on the Three website – it depends on the offer they’re currently running.
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What you need to know
In this part of the article, we’ll explain what you need to know when choosing a temporary WiFi hotspot solution for you and your family.
What are the best ways to get a temporary internet connection?
Here are some of the best ways to get online temporarily, whether at home, in a caravan, or when travelling.
4G and 5G routers
If you’re staying somewhere with a mains power supply, you can use a 4G or 5G router, which functions in a very similar way to a traditional Wi-Fi router, as an alternative way to get online for a short period.
Instead of plugging into your phone port, mobile broadband routers take a SIM card, and use the mobile network to connect to the internet.
You’ll be able to get online anywhere that you have at least a 4G signal.
Mobile Wi-Fi (MiFi) devices
MiFi devices work in a similar way to 4G and 5G routers, except they have a battery, rather than plugging into a mains power source.
Since MiFi devices are smaller, they aren’t as powerful as using a proper mobile broadband router. Their Wi-Fi network isn’t as strong, and can’t support as many connected devices at once.
Apart from their portability, the big benefit of MiFi devices is they can be quite cheap, since you can buy them with a plan that has a data limit.
Short-term broadband plans
It’s also possible to buy a traditional broadband plan on a month-to-month basis, with certain providers.
For example, NOW Broadband allows you to buy broadband without a contract, in return for a higher upfront cost.
The issue is there aren’t many broadband providers that offer short-term deals, so your choice is quite limited if you’re looking for a plan without a long-term contract.
Data SIM cards
Finally, it’s also possible to use your phone’s data plan to get online on a short-term basis.
To do this, you might want to buy a new data SIM plan, especially if your phone supports dual SIM usage, otherwise you might run out of data quite quickly.
When it comes to data SIM plans, Three tends to offer the best value for money, and they include 5G speeds free of charge as well.
How to choose a short-term internet solution
These routers will give you strong Wi-Fi signal, come with 1-month contracts, and can be used to create a temporary WiFi hotspot anywhere you have mains power and at least a 4G signal.
If you buy a 5G router, it will default to using 4G when it can’t connect to the 5G network.
However, if you need a temporary internet solution with a low latency, you might also consider using a fixed-line broadband connection, although this will typically be more expensive than using mobile broadband.
And if you’re travelling around a lot, you might like the portability offered by MiFI devices.
Data SIMs can be useful if you want portability as well, but unless you have a spare phone to use them with, they can have their issues.
If you use the internet a lot through the hotspot, your phone might get quite hot, and you’ll have to keep it plugged in all the time, which will slowly degrade its battery.
How much data do I need?
Temporary Wi-Fi solutions don’t always come with unlimited data, especially when you choose a MiFi device or SIM card on a pay as you go plan.
If this will be your main way of getting online for at least two people, we tend to recommend paying a bit more to get an unlimited data plan, especially if you often stream TV shows, or use apps like YouTube.
However, if it’s just one or two of you, and you don’t watch videos all that much, a 50-100GB monthly data limit might be enough for your needs.
We wouldn’t recommend a data limit lower than 50GB unless you’ll only be browsing the web for a week or two, and won’t be using social media or watching videos very often.
How much does it cost to get online for a short period?
Most temporary broadband solutions will cost you about £20-£25 per month, including unlimited data if you choose to use mobile or fixed-line broadband.
If you choose a MiFi plan with a data limit, you might be able to pay less than £20 per month.
The main cost with most temporary internet deals is the upfront fee. Since you’re not locked into a contract, most providers will want to charge you at least £20 upfront, and possibly more than £50 if you buy a short-term fibre broadband plan.
What’s the shortest period you can get temporary broadband for?
The shortest amount of time you can get temporary internet for is normally a month.
This is the minimum commitment with most mobile broadband routers, MiFi plans, data SIM deals, and temporary broadband packages.
Will I get good speeds with temporary Wi-Fi?
With most of the temporary Wi-Fi solutions we’ve discussed in this guide, you can expect to get a download speed of about 30-50 Mbps, which should be enough for most households in the short term.
NOW Broadband’s Super Fibre plan has a 63 Mbps average download speed, which should be plenty, even when working from home.
The exception to this is if you’re able to use 5G. With the Three 5G Hub for example, you might be able to get speeds of 500 Mbps or more.
To see whether you can get 5G speeds at your address, use the Three network coverage map.
Why you might not actually need temporary internet
Before buying a temporary internet solution, it’s important to consider whether or not you actually need a new way to get online.
- If you like the speeds and value for money offered by the Three 5G Hub, you might like to buy it on a longer-term contract, and use it as your main way of getting online in the long term, since it can be used anywhere in the UK you can access the Three mobile network.
- You might be able to use your phone’s hotspot to get online, perhaps after upgrading to a plan with a higher data limit.
- If you’re nearing the end of your broadband contract and you’re about to move out, you should be able to stay with the provider on a month-to-month basis. Or, if the provider doesn’t service your new address, you should be able to leave them, even if you’re in contract, when you move out.
This is the end of our guide to temporary Wi-Fi solutions.
In our opinion, the Three 5G Hub is the best way to get online temporarily. It can be used almost anywhere in the UK, can be bought on a one-month contract, comes with unlimited data, and offers ultrafast download speeds.
If you have any questions about choosing a temporary way to get online, feel free to leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you.
About the author
Tyler is the co-founder of Broadband Savvy. He has been helping people improve their broadband connectivity since 2018 by writing about fibre broadband and mobile broadband providers, as well as creating tutorials to help people improve their broadband speeds and Wi-Fi signal.
Tyler is responsible for the majority of buyer’s guides and broadband reviews published on Broadband Savvy. He has a wealth of experience testing and reviewing different broadband tariffs, including fibre internet plans, as well as 4G and 5G broadband deals. He is responsible for testing and evaluating Wi-Fi routers, performing speed and latency tests, and comparing the value for money of different broadband providers on the market in the UK.
Before co-founding Broadband Savvy, Tyler had a long history of tinkering with computers. He built his first PC at the age of 12, and since then, he’s become obsessed with all things networking and internet-related. He’s a massive gamer, loves Rocket League, and also plays Sunday League football.