Portable Router + Sim

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Portable Router + Sim

1. Posted by magpiebaby (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I'm travelling to Australia in February, touring up the East Coast in a campervan.

I'm thinking of buying a portable router here in the UK and buying a sim for data once I'm in Australia however I'm having difficulties finding a router that works in Australia. Advice please!

2. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 386 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

What would you use the router for? What devices are you trying to connect to the internet?

If you are talking about a SIM it suggests you are thinking/already have a mobile phone (with SIM for the region) so why not use a hotspot on the phone?

For devices often 2 aspects to consider: device to "router" and "router" to internet. Normally the devices to "router" would be over Wi-Fi. Then "router" to internet you seem to be talking about mobile data using a local SIM.

A phone running hotspot enabled behaves as a "router", allowing devices to connect via Wi-Fi to the phone and providing access to the internet. In effect the phone hotspot behaves as a Wi-Fi Access Point and internet connection (sharing it's mobile data internet connection).

For example, when cycle touring staying at campsites (e.g. in Netherlands), these days campsites have no or poor Wi-Fi (as everybody uses mobile data). I use my iPad for photography and internet uploads/backups/website. So often I'll enable the hotspot on my phone, which allows the iPad to connect over Wi-Fi to the phone and on to the internet (using the SIM mobile data connection). Same applies from my Mac when somewhere without Wi-Fi (enable phone hotspot and connect Mac Wi-Fi to phone Wi-Fi and you have internet through phone).

Additionally, as I'm Apple based if iPad wants to get to the internet but no Wi-Fi it detects my phone is nearby and that phone has a SIM and supports hotspot and iPad asks if I want phone to switch on hotspot - so I don't even need to start fiddling with phone.

Maybe I've misunderstood what you are looking to do?


3. Posted by magpiebaby (Budding Member 2 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hi Ian, I'm not overly technical so I may well be missing the point! I have an android phone and a laptop.

Rather than mess about with 2 sim cards in my phone, I just thought it might be easier to buy a small portable router, pop a local (Aus) sim card into it then plug it into my campervan where it can stay quite happily for the whole month.

Then when I'm back at the van I can hotspot to it from my phone and/or laptop. Is that not the best way?

I also thought that buying a local sim would be cheaper than getting bolt on data from my mobile phone provider.

[ Edit: Edited on 22 Jan 2023, 17:03 GMT by magpiebaby ]

4. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 386 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

More than one SIM card depends on the capability of your phone. But if you are taking your phone presumably you want it to make calls/use data without what are often very high international roaming charges. So you'll either be switching your phone off or putting a local SIM in (or likely paying high charges on your existing SIM contract).

When away from your campervan will you be disabling your phone. Does your phone support Wi-Fi Calling (so you can use it as a phone when connected over Wi-Fi - because if not then all a hotspot will give you is data and any calls will still be through the SIM contract and charged accordingly.

You say "from UK" so presumably your exsting SIM is a UK one. Does that give you free roaming in Aus? It's actually quite difficult (probably not possible) to get any UK SIM card without some data allowance though international roaming and charges depends massively on the provider and the contract you have with the provider.

If your phone supports 2 SIM cards (and "Android" encompasses a vast range of phone capabilities) then moving to 2 SIMs is easy - but you'll probably have to talk to your SIM provider about it (remembering they'll love to charge you loads of £££ for using your phone overseas).


5. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1892 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I can only say from my own experience travelling overseas I just use the second sim card slot in my phone for local sim cards. Most of the time I'm using data on my phone anyway and I only pull out my laptop at the end of day so I'll just hotspot my phone if WiFi isn't available where I am staying. You say you are travelling up the east coast and some towns there even have free WiFi in the centre and caravan parks are becoming increasingly connected. The problem with a separate routers is when you leave it behind you lose internet access anyway. IMO it is more convenient to have it on your phone where it is accessible all the time (unless you plan on leaving behind your phone). Not to mention it will be another device that will need charging and takes up socket space.

6. Posted by Peter (Admin 7209 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Definitely a good idea to be using a local SIM card.

I agree though that using your phone is the easiest way to go here. If your phone has two SIM card slots, then you can keep your regular phone number connected. If not, I'd just swap it out and basically disable your usual phone number for the duration of your trip. Unless there's something critical you need that number for, I'd say it's just not worth it for the roaming costs.

If you are really keen to have the portable router, than what you probably are after is something like this from Telstra. Definitely not a bad option if you want to keep your overseas phone number active and don't have multiple SIM card slots. Also helps to not drain the battery of your phone, which hotspotting will definitely do.