Is wireless worth it?

Q. I wonder if Drew could answer the following question – it probably applies to a lot of seniors!

“I currently have a mobile and Broadband and phone via landline. I am in very close proximity to a tower, which has Next G etc so I was wondering if there are any disadvantages in changing over to wireless internet and giving up my landline phone. I would save at least $30/mth and probably have a better internet service. I don’t use my landline phone very much at all so the extra charge for mobile calls is not significant.”


A. Hi Martin,

Thanks for the great question.

When using wireless internet from a source outside of my own home, I have always found the download and upload speeds rather slow and experienced a number of drop-outs from the network because of interference, especially when there is rain or lightning. I must admit I have not used this service on the Next G network so my opinion may not be up to date. I would suggest you purchase a pre-paid “USB Dongle”, which is a wireless device that you stick into your USB slot of your computer, which will pickup the wireless signals, this should cost in the region of $30. This will allow you to test out how well you pickup this wireless feed from the tower before you “make the change”.

Have you heard of, or considered purchasing a VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone, instead of having a landline phone installed, it is A LOT cheaper and the quality of call is close to that of a mobile phone call. I find that broadband provides a faster and more consistent speed and will always be faster than a wireless network from a tower. You must also realise that you are broadcasting your signals a long distance to this tower. While the network it sends over may be secure, you can never be certain that someone is not interacting with your signals and monitoring the information you are sending, especially if you make purchases online with your credit card.

As you can see, there is no clear yes/no to this question; it all depends on the situation, how close to a tower you are and if you are open to using a VOIP phone.

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