Product: TEP 4G Portable WiFi Hotspot Device
Best Place to Buy/Rent: tepwireless.com
Cost efficient compared to many international data plans through cell providers
No switching SIM cards: Get internet access on up to 5 wifi enabled devices to wifi networks using service providers in over 100 countries on 6 continents
Lightweight so you can take it with you anywhere you need mobile internet
6-8 hours of battery use
Secure network with 8 digit password access point
More secure than typical WPA2 device-if you see more users connected to your Teppy than there should be, you can identify that someone may be wifi stalking you and you can move out of wifi range.
Only pay for days you use it
3g/4g options available
After 1GB (about 10 x 30 min classes) of data usage for the day, the speeds throttle down and run at a slower speed until resetting the next day you use it
If you’re Bear Grylls and planning to teach online from the depths of the rain forest, you may not have wifi access
It’s not exactly free wifi, but it’s definitely cheaper than a data plan in many cases.
Compatible With:ANY wifi compatible device (Windows PC, Android phones, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod, game consoles, all mobile devices.).
Personal Location Guru/Concierge to help guide you, provide recommendations, and answer your questions in top destinations world-wide
Kitestring safety feature alerts your contacts if you don’t check in
In-flight wifi internet service
My Rating: 9 out of 10
In this post, I begin my quest for the best portable WiFi hotspot device for online teachers to use in emergency situations abroad or at home.
If you’ve read my post about How to Fix Internet Problems, you may have noticed the way I feel about a strong and reliable internet connection (it’s not a want, but a need).
I’m sure you feel the same way!
Whether we’re on the road moving from city to city, temporarily situated in an apartment in Spain (not letting that story go), or in the comfort of our own homes, one thing can be expected: we will lose or be unable to find a strong internet connection at some point.
Free public WiFi is often shaky (plus I don’t this commodity), and it’s tough for us to look professional teaching in many of these places.
Also, carriers at home often offer expensive international plans.
We need a backup-a lightweight and reliable buddy to connect us so we can at least get through our classes and save ourselves from Teacher IT problems.
Meet the Teppy.
Cute Name, But Do You Work Teppy?
If you’d like to skip the rest of this review and get my straight opinion, here it is:
While connected via a 4G network in a stationary position using the 4G model, you can teach your classes using this device. Here’s a clip of me streaming Casey Neistat’s ‘Make it Count’ video on Youtube (one of my initial inspirations to travel!) and accessing my classroom at the beach:
(Sound is off due to the wind, but you can see the audio is being picked up by the level display in the lower left corner.)
You can rent or buy one here at www.tepwireless.com. Remember to select the 4G option, and you’re good to go!
Now, let’s cover some additional information.
Features for Teachers
Weighing in at just 4.5oz, you’ll never notice it’s there. Just toss it in your bag and let the TEP hotspot provide download speeds of up to 18.6 Mbps and upload speeds of 9 Mbps.
You can turn it on and off with the push of a single button, and the clear visual display gives you all of the information you need. Just take a look at the image below:
We need our devices to stay connected for the entire length of our workday, so the battery provides up to 6 hours of constant use. There’s also the option for an extended battery, and you’ll find an international/universal plug adapter to charge the Teppy when it’s feeling drained.
Finally, one of my favorite features for teachers is the friendly and responsive support these guys offer. We love having a strong community that gives support and allows for positive teamwork. TEP differentiates itself from the competition in this way, as they state they are “not a technology company” but “a service company”.
You can contact them 24/7 by any means you can think of (email, text, call, Facebook messenger, Live Chat, etc.) and I’ve never waited more than a few minutes for someone to get back and answer my question.
They also offer a solid Satisfaction Guarantee where they’ll send you out a replacement device within 24 hours or give you a credit or refund if you’re unsatisfied.
You can use it without any risk!
Like I said, TEP is a service company. Not only can you have reliable internet for teaching, but check this out:
If you choose the TEP Guru add-on, you’ll get paired with a local concierge who will greet you each day with the day’s “Hidden Gem” – “a personalized suggestion of something fun to do or interesting to see”.
How cool is that?
Plus, I know a lot of you are parents and will love this:
The free Kitestring feature allows you to ‘check-in’ while traveling, and it’ll alert your emergency contacts if you fail to do so!
You can read more about the features and the FAQ on the TEP website.
How to Use the TEP 4G Mobile Hotspot
The Teppy is a device made for those of us who don’t want to mess around with confusing technological apparatuses to get our connection on.
Here is a video from TEP demonstrating just how easy it is to use:
There’s nothing more to it. The TEP hotspot comes in a small case with all of the instructions you need. Connect up to 5 devices if you’d like, but I’d recommend only one while teaching so it’s more stable. You’ll enjoy 24 hours of internet from the moment you turn it on!
Start your day in one country, travel through two more, and end in another-all without worrying about roaming fees or switching SIM cards!
Where does it work?
According to their site, here are the countries you can use the Global Teppy in:
Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, China, Christmas Island, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macao, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Monaco, Montserrat, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saipan, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, The Caribbean Islands, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Out of breath?
There’s Always Room for Improvement…
I’ve gone through the many things I like about the TEP Wireless Hotspot, but there is always room for improvement.
If you’re an archeology professor looking to share the findings from your most recent excavation in China with your students via video call, you may have trouble connecting depending on how far you are from the nearest city.
While I was able to connect to the 4G network at the beach and at home in my small town in Connecticut, I did have trouble maintaining a strong signal out in the woods.
I plan to update this post as I use it abroad, but TEP is the first to acknowledge some rural areas just don’t provide a strong signal. While most of us won’t be teaching from the middle of the forest, I figured it’d be useful to test the range of this little guy.
If you’re located in the larger cities of the covered countries, you shouldn’t have a problem. The device cannot be used by anyone else unless they have the password, so it is your dedicated device.
Although it’s out of TEP’s control, weather can also affect the stability of the connection. Keep that in mind if you’re planning on teaching during monsoon season.
TEP was one of the pioneers in the travel connectivity market, so they’ve had years to improve upon not only the technology behind their device but the service they offer users.
I streamed Youtube videos at the beach without waiting for them to load.
I even taught one class while at home (with my Ethernet cable at the ready, of course…I’m not that brave!) without having to switch back to my home network.
While there are other devices, most have not been around as long as the Teppy, and their ratings can’t compete with TEP’s 4.5/5 stars from over 4,300 reviews at the time of this article.
Whether as a backup at home for when the internet goes down, or for SIM-card-free travel around the world, you can count on TEP for teaching online.
Click Here to learn more about TEP or to rent or buy your own so you’re never without internet!
What’s your experience with TEP been like? Want to recommend another device or ask a question about the Teppy? Let me know in the comments!