Common Pitfalls of Using Mobile Hotspots
Mobile hotspots can be a godsend when you need to get online somewhere that doesn't offer Wi-Fi. But, like any tech, hotspots also have their downsides.
Tethering your phone is generally safe, but what about connecting to a mobile hotspot? A mobile hotspot is a feature on your smartphone that gives your laptop or tablet Internet access when there are no Wi-Fi networks available. Mobile hotspots, then, connect you to your cell provider’s network to get you online. However, mobile hotspots don’t always offer the most reliable connection. Use DFNDR’s Wi-Fi Check to check your network speed, connection, and security:
The Different Types of Mobile Hotspots
Mobile hotspots refer to several different technologies. The first is a portable device that lets multiple devices get online by connecting to a cell carrier’s 4G or 3G network; these are called MiFi hotspots. Your phone also works as a mobile hotspot, in a similar manner, as mentioned. Once you enable mobile hotspot on your phone, you can then connect it to your laptop via Bluetooth or with a USB cable. Mobile hotspots don’t require a tether.
The Problems with Mobile Hotspots
One of the biggest problems with phone-based hotspots is speed. Mobile hotspots are, usually, significantly slower than Wi-Fi or even MiFi hotspots. Further, the Internet signal that cell phones deliver is often spotty. The connection speed might be particularly slow in rural areas, where you’re less likely to find a Wi-Fi network in the first place.
Additionally, turning your phone into a hotspot can mean massive data overcharges. This type of mobile hotspot can eat up your data and use up your monthly data allowance much more quickly than you otherwise would.
A third issue is the battery use required to turn a phone into a hotspot. Turning your phone into a hotspot wears out your phone’s battery in translating a 4G or 3G connection into Internet access. If you use your phone as a hotspot, then you might also want to plug it in.
A final issue is that, when your phone is a hotspot, the phone no longer functions as a phone. Many phones don’t let you receive calls once turned into a hotspot; phones don’t have the capacity to support simultaneous voice and data.
The best way to avoid using mobile hotspots is to wait for the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network. If you don’t have that ability for some time, and need the Internet for work, look into buying a hotspot device from a cell phone provider to avoid massive fees. Or, see if you can download any of your work for offline use. Google Docs, for example, allows offline usage.