Aircard vs Hotspot- a comprehensive guide

The Difference between an Aircard and a hotspot is that the former connects to the internet using cellular data, while the mobile hotspots use 3G or 4G cellular networks. Both units can accommodate other internet-enabled devices, but the number varies with the manufacturer.

Both the Aircard and mobile hotspot are wireless devices that transmit wireless signals to other connected devices. If you intend to stay connected in areas where there is no Wi-Fi or are traveling to the rural area where Wi-Fi is yet to be installed both of these devices can suffice. However, there are some concerning differences between these two devices when it comes to signal strengths.

Aircard as most users have recounted doesn’t seem to offer a decent range when placed a few meters away from the internet-enabled device. But with the hotspot, you will be able to get good reception with the device placed away from either your laptop or tablet.

The excerpt below therefore seeks to find out which of the two devices, will work in an expansive concrete-walled building which poses a challenge when it comes to providing the relevant signal strengths.

What are the differences between Aircard and Hotspot?

Download speeds= 5.76mbps

Upload speeds= 7.2mbps

Download speeds= 65.35

Upload speeds= 20.65

Cellular data
Uses data plans
Cannot be used for gaming because of low bandwidth
Convenient for gaming
Come in three main types the USB modem, PC cards, Express cards
Different types from different manufacturers

Aircard vs. Hotspot – How do they compare?


The relevance of internet speeds comes to light when you are doing more than just sending emails, and the one thing that people don’t realize when settling with the low upload and download speeds is that you can never miss something to do once you get into the world wide web. So, here is a list of things that you can do on the internet, listen to music, watch movies and music videos, do your shopping, and play live games.

All the above activities are subject to slow loading, or failure to load, especially for movies and music videos. Slow speeds like the ones offered by the Aircard can make it difficult for you to enjoy anything from the internet, at least when compared to what the hotspots offer.

The speeds provided in the table above are the fastest you can get on some of the high-end mobile hotspot devices, and the provided speeds on the Aircard are the fastest you can get on the latest Air cards in the market.

In light of the above, the mobile hotspot is the best in terms of speeds, because it has high upload and download speed, making it convenient for gaming, watching movies, and general web surfing.

Data plans

Let us look at Cellular data for the Aircard and Wi-Fi used by the hotspots from the provider’s perspective. Now, cellular data is very expensive and why is that, well because building, running, and maintaining the relevant infrastructure is costly, and we can also factor in the licensing costs. Cellular data is never convenient for running bandwidth-intensive applications and that is why many people would, switch to Wi-Fi and use the cellular data plans when out of station.

Wi-Fi, on the other hand, uses a fixed-line connection and a router; the fixed-line broadband connections are budget-friendly and way faster when compared to the wireless connections. Both the Aircard and Hotspot are costly when it comes to the data plans, but hotspot tends to be more reliable as regards the internet speeds and connectivity when being used with other devices.


For high internet performance and functionality, you have up to three options to choose from if you are using the wireless Air Card modems; the PC card, which are the standard cellular modem cards that are attached to the computer. We then have the Express card, and this one offers increased bandwidth, lastly, we have the USB modem, known for offering cellular internet signals to various devices, that have a USB port.

And when it comes to the hotspots, you will have to choose a device with regards to configuration, meaning that you will have to do individual research on each of them and find out the number of devices that they can accommodate how many countries it can be used, the respective upload and download speeds among other important functionality features.

Hotspots are not limited and users can, therefore, choose to settle with any brand that suits their application.

Aircard vs. Hotspot – A comparison overview

Aircard Overview

Aircard vs. Hotspot

Aircards are networking devices, designed to connect users to the internet but by using cellular data, the units use a connecting media mainly a USB cable. Aircards are quite reliable to their standards, as regards internet connectivity, their security is watertight, and to make good use of them, all you need to do is buy the data plans. The latter is the best part because you have the liberty to choose a data plan that corresponds to use.


  • Aircards connect to the internet without accessing other networks
  • Can be used in places with cellular reception
  • Using an Aircard on a 4G network offers faster internet access
  • After finishing the monthly data, users can pay an additional per megabyte charge


  • High network latency
  • Works best on 4G/3G connections

Hotspot Overview


Mobile hotspots are the talk of the town, one because they don’t depend on cables to run, they offer extensive coverage with strong internet signals, and accommodates all the internet-enabled devices within a certain range. And the reason why many people prefer to use mobile hotspots when compared to cellular data is that users will rarely go over their cellular data limit, and their battery life is never affected.


  • It is quite affordable for netizens
  • Accommodates multiple devices
  • Offers faster internet signals
  • Connectivity to multiple devices is a breeze


  • Initial costs of implementation are high

Verdict: So, which one is better, Aircard or Hotspot?

The mobile hotspot is better because the connection is wireless with strong internet speeds.


  1. How many devices can be connected to a mobile hotspot?

Most mobile hotspots connect up to 10 devices or more

  1. Can too many devices slow down an Aircard?

Overcrowding leads to competition for data which then leads to low quality or buffering during streaming.

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