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4G connectivity means students can work and study anywhere

University courses have become increasingly digital in recent years, with journals available to read through JStor and many universities offering lectures as video streams and podcasts. This change means that many students no longer have to face fighting for a desk at the university library, and instead do much of their work remotely from home, cafes, and other quiet spots.

Digital courses mean that students can study to their own schedule, and can rewatch lectures and re-read journal articles when they find something they don’t quite understand. However, it also means that students rely on the internet for a large part of their degrees, with a stable and fast connection more important than ever.

Most home broadband connections offer a reasonable speed for one student in a house-share to be streaming Netflix, while a second plays video games, and a third streams a lecture. However, coffee shop WiFi is often dreadfully slow, and other quiet spots around town may be perfect for studying but no WiFi at all.

This is where 4G connectivity comes into its own. The technology has been around for a few years now, but the networks have treated it as an expensive luxury. Finally, they seem to be coming around to the idea that everyone wants more than a paltry 1GB of data with their contract, and if you search around you can find 4G plans that a perfect for students with 10-20GB of data for a reasonable price.

20GB of data may seem like a lot to use just with your smartphone, but if the contract includes tethering then you can make your smartphone a WiFi hotspot and use it to stream lecture videos (or Netflix and BBC iPlayer) to your tablet or laptop wherever you are – whether that is in a coffee shop, on the train, or even enjoying the sunshine outside.

Photograph by Ian Lamont

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