What is Mobile Hotspot and How Do you Use it?

mobile wifi hotspot

A smartphone’s mobile hotspot converts data streams to Wi-Fi signals that can be transmitted to and from multiple devices simultaneously. src

How to use a smartphone as mobile hotspot

With a few clicks of a button, you can turn most smartphones into a Wi-Fi hotspot for other devices to connect to the Internet. Your Wi-Fi enabled devices can latch on to your smartphone’s hotspot, allowint you to share its mobile data with your office desktop, tablets, smartwatches, etc.

Some smartphones can support Wi-Fi tethering for as many as 10 devices simultaneously, allowing you to share your internet connection with family, friends, and colleagues.

The connections are established wirelessly, so you won’t have to deal with wire clutter. Note, however, that multiple connections can drag down the speed, especially if the connections are used for data-ravaging activities. But with fewer connections per time, you can expect to enjoy data speeds equivalent to those of 3G, 4G, or 5G speeds offered by the mobile network in that area.

How does mobile hotspot work?

Smartphones that support mobile tethering come with a configuration of hardware and software that relay internet signals to and from internet-enabled devices via Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi tethering functionality is akin to those of Wi-Fi dongles or routers, which share a single point of web connection among multiple internet-enabled devices simultaneously.

The underlying mechanics of a mobile hotspot’s operations is the conversion of a data network connection to a broadband data connection. Using the 802.11ac transmission protocol, the smartphone distributes access to this broadband data source across its operational range. With this setup, the smartphone transmits data signals to and from Wi-Fi enabled devices within its range.

All you need to do to activate this functionality in a smartphone is to make a few changes to the settings, and you’re on. You don’t need to connect the phone to any peripheral device, nor do you need to connect the other devices with a cable to distribute the signals.

What’s more, the smartphone can still be used as usual while it transmits the Wi-Fi signals. You can use a smartphone to power internet connections across several devices while using it to chat, check up on your mail, surf the web, and even stream live videos.

You’ll find this functionality in most Android and iOS phones, especially the newer models. As for the cost, you won’t incur any additional charges for the extra connections. You’ll be billed only based on the data consumed over the Wi-Fi connections. However, when it comes to power, you might want to make provisions for charging the phone while the Wi-Fi tethering function is on because the function can drain your battery quickly.

How to set up a mobile hotspot on Android or iOS

mobile hotspot

You can turn on a mobile hotspot simply by tapping a few buttons. src

As you’d expect, the steps for setting up a mobile hotspot might differ from one smartphone model to another. However, the set up is roughly similar across devices with the same operating system.

For Android Phones:

  • 1. Go to Settings > Connections (or Wireless Networks) > Mobile Hotspot and Tethering.
  • 2. Toggle the button next to the Mobile Hotspot option to enable it. In some models, you might find the Mobile Hotspot option under the “More” option in the Connections menu.
  • 3. Next, you’ll be asked to set up a network name and password for the Wi-Fi connection. Once this is done, you’re set! Any Wi-Fi enabled device within range will identify this Wi-Fi network source and hook up to it using the set password.

For iPhones:

  • 1. Open the Settings app and then scroll to the “Personal Hotspot” section.
  • 2. Toggle the button next to the Hotspot option.
  • 3. Change the name and password of the Wi-Fi hotspot (you can change the password on the current window, but to change the name from the device name, you need to go to ‘Settings > General > About > Name).

Summing up

You can turn your smartphone into a WiFi hotspot, sharing your mobile data with other devices to establish an internet connection. You don’t need any special technical expertise to make that happen. You can turn it on just by tapping a few keys on the smartphone. The Wi-Fi connection is also more secure than most public Wi-Fi because it’s heavily encrypted and you’ll be able to set up a password for the connection.

Neil Aitken

Having worked in 3 countries for 4 telcos on both voice and data products, Neil is in a position to give you the inside track. Get beyond the marketing messages to the best plan for you.