In today's world, being connected is no longer optional for businesses. If they are to compete in the current market they need to have "always on" Internet and e-mail access, writes Ross Griffiths, product manager at Nology.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face the challenge of creating this type of infrastructure in an affordable way that meets their often tight budgets, with the added need to provide connectivity to people outside of the office environment, in keeping with a growing trend towards mobility and working on the go.
This flexibility is vital for SME organisations to remain competitive and productive in a highly charged business environment.
In the past, creating these two different types of connectivity options required multiple devices, such as a router based at the office and USB 3G modems for workers that need to be connected while working remotely, further adding to expenses and increasing complexity.
However, thanks to innovative new technology that allows for the setup and creation of mobile hotspots on the fly – that enable up to five devices to be connected at any one time – the way SMEs and even some corporates work is being revolutionised.
Mobile hotspots are the next evolution of the-well known 3G modem that has been the primary means for people to access the Internet while they are away from the office. These devices enable mobile connectivity, but only for one user or device, as they typically need to be plugged into the USB port of a computer.
This limits their use and also necessitated more than one 3G modem to be purchased if additional users require access.
The mobile hotspot resolves this challenge with a device that requires a data SIM card to be inserted, but combines the connectivity with a built-in wireless access point that provides the ability to instantly create a private, secure mobile hotspot, enabling this connection to then be shared by more than one device wirelessly, without the need to plug the device into any single machine.
In fact, the mobile hotspot modem can even be left inside a bag out of site for added security, as it runs off both battery and USB power, and does not require any software to be installed on connecting devices.
This type of device has great benefits to the end-user, particularly in the SME space, as it allows for secure connections to be quickly and easily set up at the touch of a button, and multiple devices can now share one 3G connection, reducing capital outlay.
Setup time is greatly reduced too, as there is no need for additional software to be installed on WiFi compatible devices, and with support for wireless encryption, users can be certain that their wirelessly transmitted information is kept safe and secure.
For sales teams who are always on the road this type of device provides easy connections for a variety of devices, including tablet PCs and WiFi compatible smartphones, so users are always connected no matter where they are.
In the corporate space a wireless hotspot device can be used to quickly and easily set up ad hoc connections, for example in boardrooms during conferences when access needs to be granted to people who may not be a part of the corporate network.
Not only are these mobile hotspots easier on the pocket, but they are also far easier to set up than a traditional wireless router, saving businesses time and money, both of which are invaluable in today's fast-paced, always on, always connected world.