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Wi-fi in hospitals can be painful

Consider giving someone a data pack. It may not seem as caring as flowers but keeping them connected will actually help them more.

Anyone who has spent time in a hospital knows how boring and isolating it can be for patients.

One way to overcome this is being able to be connected to the internet so you can browse online, stream movies and stay in touch with family and friends.

Unfortunately, this can be hard as some hospitals still charge for wi-fi and others have slow internet speeds or time limits.

One of the only ways around this is to go online using a cellphone signal. This comes with potential problems too: speeds can be too slow, data can be expensive and it can be tricky to connect your computer or tablet.

However, at least using the cell signal is under your control. Here's what you can do if you or a loved one is spending time in a hospital (these tips also work well for airports).

The first thing to do is to see if your phone can access 4G cellphone speeds. Getting 4G instead of the standard 3G means you can download data up to 10 times faster.


Do an internet search for the make and model of your phone. Many phones made since 2013 have this capability.

If your phone's compatible, then check you have a 4G SIM card. Look at the top of your screen when you're away from home and it should say 3G or 4G. 

If your phone can access 4G but you're using 3G SIM then contact your telecom provider and get an upgraded card for free.

The next thing to learn is how to connect (or tether) your phone to your laptop or tablet. This lets you access your phone's cellphone signal from your computer. This is also known as using your phone as a wi-fi hotspot.

Instructions are easy and PC Advisor outlines the step-by-step process for both Android and Apple phones.

The final step is ensuring you have enough data on your cellphone plan. This is where things can get a bit expensive.

If you have a few gigabytes of data included in your plan, you probably won't need to buy any extra unless you want to stream movies.

If you just want to check emails, send messages and browse the web then you probably only need about 1GB which should last about a week or so.

However, if you want more data, then it's best to buy an extra block from your mobile provider. This can cost up to $20 for 1GB.

Some providers allow you to accumulate unused data from previous months so you may already have plenty banked.

Also, consider giving someone a data pack. It may not seem as caring as flowers but keeping them connected will actually help them more.