Thinking about spending time in California but want to be sure that you always have Wi-Fi? Well, one way to do it is to rent a Wi-Fi connection. This might sound daunting but it’s actually quite a simple thing to do. Here’s how it’s done.
How to get WiFi rental in California? Well, it’s quite simple. You can either rent a Wi-Fi connection that you pick up at an airport in the way into the country or you can rent one that you have delivered to you. It’s not expensive and it’s very easy to arrange.
What Is WiFi Rental In California?
If you’re based permanently in California, it’s unlikely that Wi-Fi rental is going to be something that’s high up on your radar. You’ll either have an internet connection already, or you won’t.
However, there can be specific instances when it’s valuable for someone without an internet connection to rent a Wi-Fi connection rather than to enter into a long-term contract with a provider for one.
In Japan, where renting Wi-Fi is common, more than 300,000 connections a year are rented out to happy customers. Unfortunately, it’s not so common in California and there are fewer options to rent a connection.
It is worth noting that while it’s called “Wi-Fi rental”, it’s actually the rental of a “Mi-Fi” connection – that is the router that you borrow in these agreements is not attached to cable, fiber, DSL, etc. but rather it contains a SIM card which allows you to access the internet over the cellular phone network.
This can be very convenient in areas where there is no access to wired internet but where there are cellular services. However, it does mean that, until there is a complete 5G rollout in California, these connections tend to be slower than the average traditional “Wi-Fi” connection.
Who Needs WiFi Rental In California?
So, who is going to need to rent a WiFi connection in California? Well, we think it comes down to a few groups of people:
- Somebody traveling to California who knows that they’re going to need Wi-Fi for a week or two but doesn’t want to go through the hassle of figuring out buying a SIM card and tethering it to their phone
- Somebody traveling to the state who wants to be able to pipe in Wi-Fi to more devices than their phone tethering system will support (in general, Mi-Fi routers can support about 8 devices at one time which can really help if you have a family clutching a bunch of devices)
- Somebody looking for a replacement connection for a short period of time – no matter how good a service is, there are always periods of interruption in that service, if you need to be at home or in a small office and the net goes down, you may need it back up for just a day or two before you know that the service will be restored, rental is a good way to do this
- Somebody looking for a backup connection for a short period of time – some online meetings or conferences are critical to your livelihood and if you want to be 100% certain of being available, sometimes, it’s necessary to have a second connection available just in case the first dies
- Somebody looking to extend the number of available connections on a site for a brief period of time – every Wi-Fi connection can only support so many connections before it either a.) starts failing to connect some devices or b.) the bandwidth is shared so broadly that the internet connection grinds to a halt. If you have a large number of visitors arriving for a week and you have no bandwidth to share, you might choose to rent a MiFi connection for them.
- Somebody who is going to need Wi-Fi in a spot that only has mobile coverage and who doesn’t want to buy a Mi-Fi device of their own
As you can see, these are pretty specific use cases. Most travelers to California are only going to need hotel Wi-Fi and, possibly, Wi-Fi in the coffee shop down the street. They won’t need to rent Wi-Fi capacity at all.
How To Get WiFi Rental In Calfornia?
There are really two ways to get WiFi rental in California and you’ll be pleased to know that they’re both quite straightforward and not too expensive.
Airport Rental Service
If you’re a traveler and you’re going to land at an airport in California, then it’s very easy to arrange a Mi-Fi rental from the airport. That means you’re going to be able to test out the connection and ensure that the equipment works, which can be a big advantage over mail-based rental services.
However, it also means a bit of extra effort after your flight, which is not too bad if your flight was a short hop but if you’ve just landed from another continent – it might be more effort than you want to put in as you land.
Viator offers this service for Los Angeles airport (LAX) and you should be able to find similar services at other airports by Googling for them.
Mail Rental Service
If you’re not hitting an airport or don’t want to hang around at the airport, then you can opt for a mail-based rental service. These tend to work out slightly more expensive (though not much more than an extra dollar a day, usually) but they can be more convenient.
We’re always a bit nervous about solutions like this because if the device arrives and it doesn’t function properly, you’re left mucking around with customer services trying to get it to work or you’re hanging around waiting for a replacement.
A typical provider of this service is TravelWiFi.com but there are a lot of different services like this and you can Google for a long list of them.
How Much Is WiFi Rental In California?
We haven’t looked at every single Wi-Fi rental service available to people in or traveling to California because there are plenty of options – however, we’ve seen enough of them to know that rental costs are typically $6-$8/day and that you can normally get discounts for longer periods of rental.
Most providers seem to have a 30-day cap for renting Wi-Fi in California but we’ve got to be honest, if you’re renting for longer than that, it’s going to be cheaper to buy a Mi-Fi box of your own and pay for your internet on a prepaid calling plan with the cellular provider of your choice.
What Will I Need To Provide To Get WiFi Rental In California?
This process shouldn’t be too labor intensive. You’re going to need a credit card to cover the security deposit and the rental terms. Given that the majority of these services off “all you can eat data” it should be fairly easy to calculate the cost of the rental period.
You will also need to provide some form of ID to prove your identity (a driver’s license, a passport, etc. would be typical).
You may also need to sign a contract if you are using a face-to-face pickup service (such as those in the airports) though if you’ve arranged the rental online, you will sign the contract electronically, instead.
It is also possible that you will be asked to provide a local address.
What Happens If I Lose The MiFi Box?
If you lose the Mi-Fi box you’ve rented, then you should contact the provider to let them know that it’s gone as soon as you can.
If you elected to take insurance when you rented the box, then you will need to report the loss to the police and get a report number, this will then ensure that you don’t have to pay for its loss.
If you didn’t take out insurance when you agreed the contract, you will be responsible for the costs of replacing the box, the SIM card and possibly liable for an additional administration fee to be paid to the company you borrowed it from.
For this reason, it’s probably best to arrange insurance as part of the rental – this is usually very cost-effective and won’t add much to the cost of the rental agreement.
How to get WiFi rental in California? As you can see, it’s not a big challenge to get Wi-Fi rental here in California. You can get a Mi-Fi box at the airport when you arrive, or you can have one mailed to you. It’s also not an expensive service.
However, it’s best to take insurance if you can, when you rent, because if you lose the box – things are likely to become much more expensive.