Do College Students Need 3G Internet Access?

College-bound Crazy4laptops worries that the campus WiFi won't be sufficient. He asked the Cell Phones, Mobile Devices forum if he should buy cell Internet access for his laptop.

The WiFi provided by colleges isn't always reliable. Where you are physically on the campus can make a difference, as can the time of the semester. One freshman told me that "during registration, WiFi was horribly slow." A recent graduate said that " I did most of my work at cafes toward the end of school."

A lot depends on a particular campus' WiFi, of course. If yours is problematic, you have three options: Spend money on caffeine and carbs so you can stay in cafes, deal with the slow service, or invest in a USB 3G modem and service from a cell phone carrier.

But remember that the WiFi will have to be very slow indeed for 3G to be an improvement.

If you go the 3G route, don't settle on a carrier until you've moved onto the campus and know which ones offer good local service. And consider using a prepaid plan so that you only have to pay for it during the busy months.

Read the original forum discussion.

Add your comments to this article below. If you have other tech questions, email them to me at, or post them to a community of helpful folks on the PCW Answer Line forum.

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