23/05/2014
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Caravan internet guide – data allowances

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Keep an eye on your data allowances for a fuss-free internet experience anywhere. Here's how...


Also read:    Download a free issue          International SIM cards          3G and phone networks        

It doesn't matter how you connect to the internet, the chances are there will be a download limit. Free public wi-fi networks usually have generous limits; O2 has a limit of 10GB per month and the Cloud 40GB.

Subscription wi-fi networks may have daily, weekly or annual limits depending on the package you purchase. For example, the Camping and Caravanning Club offers a package with a weekly limit of 3.5GB, for £10. The Caravan Club has a similar package but without a data limit.Caravan magazine on Facebook

The point here is that wi-fi usage limits tend to be fairly generous and should be enough for most people. Switch to the phone network and the picture changes significantly. Mobile contracts often have a monthly limit of between 500MB and 1GB.

Apple iPhone example of data settingsBut what do these numbers mean?

In approximate terms, 500MB will allow you to download 500 songs, or an hour of video, or handle 1000 emails with attachments. It will also allow you to browse thousands of web pages but if they contain interactive content such as videos, data will be used much faster.

If you exceed the set limit your connection may be restricted to a very much lower speed.

What about data when I'm abroad?

Data roaming charges when abroad can be astronomical, although the situation is getting better. Three has a Euro Internet Pass allowing customers to download as much data as they like in supported countries for £5 a day. However, the service is fairly slow, being designed for emails and web browsing, rather than video streaming or audio.

One way around the problem of astronomical data charges abroad is to use a local or International SIM card but your cell phone device may need to be unlocked first.

Many smartphones also have a counter-like app, which tells you exactly how much data you've used and when your limit resets. Pay careful attention to this and you're a lot less likely to go over the limit.

NOTE If you're not sure about your contract when it comes to data and travelling abroad, be sure to change your settings to turn off 3G and data roaming; only connect via wi-fi where available.


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