3G means it is possible to connect to the web using a smartphone, tablet or dongle, but what if you want to connect multiple devices. Our Helproom Editor explains how to network a 3G connection so you can connect your TV, games console and so on.
The Mobile Wi-Fi R205 portable hotspot is one way of sharing a 3G connection
QUESTION I'm unable to have a landline where I live, so I get my PC and laptop online using a Vodafone 3G dongle and a Belkin network adaptor. How can I add a Nintendo Wii and a Samsung Smart TV to this network, and will I be able to access the internet on these devices? Murghalador
HELPROOM ANSWER Your 3G dongle is designed to attach a single computer to the internet. Although you can – and already do – share its web connection, it can become cumbersome as more and more devices need to get online.
The simplest solution is to connect all your devices wirelessly, with adaptors available for those that don't have the connectivity built-in. The term wireless is commonly associated with home broadband, but 3G broadband can also be wireless.
Vodafone sells a Mobile Wi-Fi R205 portable hotspot, which acts as a wireless router to share your 3G connection with up to five devices. If you're subscribing to the Vodafone connection on a contract basis, it may be worth investigating whether you can upgrade your contract to get the R205.
Alternatively, Vodafone sells a £49 Sharing Hub. This works on the same basis as the R205, but it isn't as neat a solution. Rather than inserting your SIM under the battery cover, as you would with the R205, you plug your dongle into its USB port. The Sharing Hub lets you connect up to four wireless devices.
Alternatively, a wired connection is possible through a broadband router with a built-in ethernet switch and support for a 3G failover. We can't comment on the compatibility of specific models without knowing the details of your 3G dongle, but you may like to look at a product such as the FritzBox 3270 (reviewed on page xx), which has four ethernet ports.
This would be more expensive to buy, but you'd save money by not needing to purchase wireless adaptors for your wired equipment. Once the Wii and TV are connected to your network, they will both be able to get online.