Using home broadband away from home with Telstra Air

Friends using laptop outdoors at cafe

Ensuring your devices are always connected to the internet usually consists of having both a home broadband and mobile broadband service. For Telstra customers, however, there’s a way you can access home broadband when you’re outside of your home and even overseas.

Telstra Air is marketed as Australia’s largest Wi-Fi network, allowing Telstra customers to access over a million hotspots across the country with more than 19 million Fon Spots available overseas. The network allows for users to access broadband by connecting to a hotspot location.

The Telstra Air hotspots are located across public payphones, local council areas, residential areas and business centres across the country. Users can connect up to three devices at a time, although you’ll need to be in range of the hotspot during the entire period of the connection.

Telstra customers with an ADSL, NBN or fixed home broadband plan are able to access the Telstra Air network, but must obtain a compatible gateway that will allow their home to broadcast a signal back onto the network. If you’re not a Telstra customer or don’t currently possess an eligible plan, guest passes to the Telstra Air network can also be purchased.

Customers who opt to become a part of the Telstra Air network, broadcasting a signal from their home via a compatible gateway, get free access to any hotspot across the network at any time. In return, your home broadband becomes a hotspot for the Telstra Air network, although rest assured, Telstra insists there is very minimal interruption to your home broadband.

Users connecting to your gateway connect via a separate Wi-Fi signal, so all your data remains safe. The network is unencrypted however, so when you join a hotspot Telstra recommends not browsing secure information such as internet banking, although this is more out of precaution.

Telstra also caps the amount of bandwidth other users can access to ensure your own internet connection is impacted as little as possible. They do, however, warn that slight speed reductions can occur if you’re using your home Wi-Fi at the same time Telstra Air customers are connecting to your gateway.

Broadband on the go

The Telstra Air network allows you to connect up to three devices at once. The data you use is no longer subtracted from your own home broadband plan as it once was, so you’re essentially receiving unlimited data usage in public.

The network could be useful for those looking to take their laptop or tablet out in public to get some work done, or those who want to save their phone data by using a Telstra Air hotspot.

Telstra’s partnership with the Fon network allows users to connect to more than 19 million hotspots overseas. Instead of paying pesky roaming charges or being confined to your hotel room to get online, Telstra Air members can connect to Fon Spots across the globe and access broadband free of charge. As with the Telstra Air network, non-customers can purchase guest passes to Fon Spots.

If you are interested in signing up to become a part of the Telstra Air network, you’ll need to be a Telstra customer with an ADSL, NBN or fixed home broadband plan. New customers can sign up to a plan of any speed and data limit to take advantage of the Telstra Air network, so long as you’re willing to purchase or rent a gateway (available through Telstra or third-parties) and create a hotspot.

The amount of bandwidth customers can access is limited to ensure stability across the network, so streaming HD video or uploading large files may not be reliable using Telstra Air. The hotspots reach maximum download speeds of 20Mbps, which is quite decent for a public hotspot.

The speed will of course fluctuate depending on the number of connected users as well as the quality of your connection, but it should provide enough to get you online. If you’re interested in signing up or wondering if you’re eligible for Telstra Air, enquire with Telstra or head over to the Telstra Air website.

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