How to Use Your Phone as a WiFi Hotspot?
When Wi-Fi is not available, you have a solution right in your pocket to connect to the Internet. It lies within your smartphone. This is done by creating a mobile hotspot. It’s a handy trick to turn your cellular connection into a Wi-Fi connection for other devices.
Setting up a hotspot isn’t as complicated as you think it is. Just a few taps and you are ready to connect to the Internet. Most carriers offer tethering (connecting a PC or tablet to the hotspot) services so staying connected all day won’t be a problem. Here’s everything you must know about turning on the phone hotspot.
How to Turn on Mobile Hotspot?
In a hotspot, your smartphone lets you use the data network as a broadband data source. The data is transmitted like a mini Wi-Fi router. It uses the 802.11ac protocol. The mobile devices within range can then use the data signals like a regular wireless network.
The process of turning hotspot slightly differs in iOS and Android devices. Let’s look into each one:
Turning on Wi-Fi Hotspot in an iOS Device
Go to the Settings of the iPhone or iPad
Tap on Cellular and toggle Personal Hotspot
- Look for your iDevice Wi-Fi menu of the secondary device
- Enter the password to connect to the internet
Note: The password of the hotspot network will appear on the personal hotspot screen of your iDevice
Turning on Wi-Fi Hotspot in an Android Device
The process of accessing a hotspot on an Android device depends on the type of device and the Android OS version in use.
If you are using a Samsung device with Android Pie, follow these steps to turn on the hotspot:
- Go to Settings of your phone
- Tap Connections
- Choose Mobile Hotspot and Tethering
- Toggle Mobile Hotspot
After you are done, a pop-up window will appear. There, you will be able to find the Wi-Fi password. Simply enter this password in the secondary device to connect to the hotspot. You should also be able to see the number of connected devices to the hotspot.
Speed and Range
This again depends on the mobile data network in use. Most providers use 4G LTE equipment with fiber optic data. Along with that, some other factors affect speed and range. These include how close you are to a cell tower, the number of people connected to the tower, and network congestion. You will get anything between 20Kbps and 80 Mbps of download speed. This is speed is good enough to watch HD videos or download a heavy file.
Don’t ever compare the phone hotspot to a traditional router. When it comes to range, you will receive 25 to 50-foot connectivity. This is perfect for personal use.
How Much does it Cost to Use a Phone as a Wi-Fi Hotspot?
Most Internet Service Providers include mobile hotspot as part of the business or residential Internet plan instead of selling it as an add-on service.
To turn on the mobile hotspot, you must first have a mobile network. Charter Spectrum is a leading name in offering cellular data. Their plan Spectrum Mobile starts at $45 per line under which you get unlimited data per month. Do keep in mind this service is different from home Internet under which Spectrum home Wi-Fi is available as an add-on.
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With Spectrum Mobile, all you have to do is turn on the hotspot and connect your secondary devices to the Internet. Even though you get unlimited data, don’t use your mobile data for heavy streaming or downloading.
How Secure is a Phone Hotspot?
A hotspot is highly secured. In fact, it’s safer than using public Wi-Fi in hotels, coffee shops, and airports. Experts say it is just as secure as surfing the web from your home Wi-Fi network because a cellular carrier is offering data. Most providers encrypt the browsing with snow stream cipher.
Business owners use hotspots the most. They have to be extra careful about online safety. To make you’re browsing securely, add a layer of security by using a VPN to spoof your browsing. Most VPNs use AES-256-bit encryption.
When you turn on the mobile hotspot, imagine you are turning on a micro router. It’s going to drain the battery of your device for sure. Don’t worry. If your phone’s battery is good such as 10 hours, turning on the hotspot will reduce the battery life to 7 hours.
It’s best to use a hotspot briefly. However, when heavy use is involved, keep a charger on you or power up your device with an external battery.
How Many Devices Can You Connect?
The answer to that depends on your smartphone. If it’s an Android phone, up to 10 users can connect at a time. Things are different when it comes to iPhones. For instance, iPhone X connects up to 5 devices. Whereas the iPhone 4 models could only accommodate 3 connections.
Some mobile data providers also impose limitations on the number of devices that can connect to a hotspot. This isn’t so bad. After all, more devices mean low speed per connected device. And, you are likely to run out of your mobile data as well.
How to Maximize Mobile Hotspot?
When you are out on the road and you need to connect the Internet on your PC or you are having network issues at home, a hotspot saves the trouble.
It’s a great feeling to stay connected even in places where Wi-Fi service is not available, but if you are not careful, the data charges can rack up quickly. To help you stay within the limit and minimize data use, here are some tips:
DON’T Use Multimedia
When the hotspot is on, don’t use it for streaming videos or viewing pictures on social media. There is no need to be careful when reading a blog or compromising email. It’s best to keep your hands off of multimedia because one cat video can lead to another one and then another on. Next thing you know you are watching trailers of shows on Netflix.
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Change Your Phone’s Settings
Some of the readers must be planning to use hotpot regularly. If that’s you, tweak the settings of your phone a bit to save on mobile data. For instance, push notifications consume data too. Considering turning them off.
If you are going to be using dating for checking emails, restrict downloads for attachments beyond a certain size. Look for other tweaks you can make to save on mobile data.
Close All the Background Apps
Background apps eat away data like anything. The worst part is they keep on running even if the device is not active. Social media apps, IMs, and location-based apps fall into this category. Modify the settings of your device to prevent such apps from running in the background.
Know the Coverage
Before hitting the road, do a research on the area to learn about coverage. In some regions, there is no or limited LTE cellular coverage. In that case, you will be stuck with a slow connection.
Keep an Eye on the Data Level
Set data limits to keep yourself from paying a higher monthly bill. Some devices let you set the data limit. When you exceed the maximum data limitation (which is set by you, of course), the device sends a notification.
Check with your cellular data provider if they offer any such feature to impose a data limit. This works great in preventing savvy users from going overboard.
There you go! You are now all set to use the mobile hotspot on your device. It’s very simple to set up. Before getting started, subscribe to a mobile data plan suiting your needs. Also, make sure your device accepts tethering.