A Guide to Mobile Tethering
While tethering is one of the most convenient features offered on your smartphone, many carriers put restrictions on it. Tethering usually refers to using your smartphone as a hotspot to connect other devices to the internet. Simply put, you can use your phone to connect to the internet on your laptop, tablet, or any other Wi-Fi enabled device, using your smartphone’s data connection. Tethering can be a useful feature to have if you are in an area without free Wi-Fi and need to use the internet on a different device to your phone.
How Does Tethering Work – Mobile Phone Tethering Explained
Tethering refers to using a mobile device that is connected to the internet as a modem for connecting another device such as a Wi-Fi only tablet or a laptop. Tethering allows you to access the internet on the go, wherever you are. All you need to do is connect your phone to your tablet or laptop either through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth or directly, using a USB cable.
What is Wi-Fi Tethering?
Mobile tethering supports various different connection methods including USB, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. When tethering with Wi-Fi, your phone becomes a wireless router, and you can connect your laptop, tablet, and other devices in the same way as you would connect devices to your home Wi-Fi network. You can set up a personal hotspot on your phone with a name and password for the Wi-Fi network which is then entered on the device that you want to connect. Once you are connected, you can start browsing the web as normal on your device. With Wi-Fi tethering, you can connect several different devices to your phone.
What is Phone Tethering with Bluetooth?
Bluetooth tethering works in a very similar way; however, it uses a wireless Bluetooth connection. With this type of tethering, you can only share your phone’s data with one device at a time. This is also true for USB tethering, which shares your phone’s internet connection with one device at a time using a standard USB cable that you probably received with your phone. If you have an iPhone and want to tether using your phone to a laptop or device that is not from Apple, iTunes will need to be installed on the device first.
Benefits of Mobile Tethering
Smartphone tethering has several benefits including offering instant internet connectivity to devices that do not have a built-in mobile data plan. It can be very useful in situations where you do not have any other way of accessing the internet, such as when there is no Wi-Fi hotspot that you can use or if your Wi-Fi at home is down. If you are paying to use data on your cell phone and you are with a mobile carrier that does not charge any extra fees for using your smartphone as a modem, tethering can also help you save money since there will be no need to pay for certain Wi-Fi hotspots, get a separate mobile broadband service or buy any additional hardware to connect your laptop and other devices. In addition to this, browsing the web is also often more secure when you are tethering from your phone since your information is being sent directly through the phone rather than over an open wireless public hotspot. You can also turn off Wi-Fi on your laptop if you are tethering directly from your phone with a USB cable, which can be useful for saving laptop battery power.
Are There Any Drawbacks of Phone Tethering?
Before you use your phone to connect to the internet on your laptop and other devices, it’s also important to be aware of any drawbacks. Using your phone’s data service to connect other devices such as your laptop will drain your phone’s battery faster, especially if you are using your Bluetooth connection to keep your phone and laptop connected. If you want to conserve as much power as possible, tethering via USB tends to be a better option.
In addition to this, the speed of a tethered device may not be as fast as you might expect even on the phone itself. This is because the information has an additional step to take over the air or through the wire. USB connections tend to be faster in comparison to Bluetooth connections. If you are using 3G, you can usually expect upload and download speeds to be less than 1mpbs, and even slower if you are in an area that is not covered by mobile broadband.
It’s also worth noting that depending on the phone and connection method that you use, you may not be able to use your phone’s voice service while tethering. And one of the biggest drawbacks is that some carriers do not allow you to tether your phone to your laptop included in your plan. Each carrier has different rules and service plans available for tethering and cell phones themselves may have their own limitations. Most major carriers charge an additional monthly fee to tether your phone.
Tethering on Your Android Phone
There are two ways that you can use your Android phone for tethering. You can use the built-in hotspot feature on your phone, which may or may not incur additional charges depending on your carrier and plan. Alternatively, you can use a third-party tethering app.
What is Smartphone Tethering with an App?
Although most of the major cell phone carriers do not technically allow the use of third-party tethering apps, many apps are still available, and you can still find some that work on phones on these networks. Whether or not you use a third-party app for tethering with your phone is your choice; however, it’s important to bear in mind that some networks will often charge you if they discover that you have been using an app to tether without paying extra for it.
If you decide to use a third-party tethering app and want to avoid being charged extra by your carrier, it’s important to be careful when it comes to the amount of data that you use. For example, if you’re tethering to your laptop every once in a while to check your emails, you’ll probably be fine. However, your carrier will probably notice and charge you if you are using a lot of data for activities such as streaming video.
What is Tethering and How to Set it Up?
Mobile hotspot is the most common way to tether from your phone and share your mobile data with a laptop or other device. With a mobile hotspot, internet is shared via wireless LAN, or Wi-Fi, with a connected device. However, the internet can be tethered using other methods including Bluetooth and USB tethering.
USB tethering refers to when the internet connection is shared with a connected laptop or computer using a physical USB data cable. It provides a higher-speed connection when sharing mobile data, since the wireless connection is typically quite stronger compared to the wireless connection. To set it up, connect your smartphone to your other device using a USB cable. Then, go to the settings app on your smartphone and find the settings for your personal hotspot or portable hotspot. You will then see an option for ‘USB tethering’ or similar; turn it on and give permission to connect to other devices if needed.
What are the Benefits of USB Tethering?
If you have a USB cable handy, there are several benefits of USB tethering to consider rather than using your phone as a wireless hotspot. Firstly, you can share your mobile data with a device even if it does not have Wi-Fi functionality, such as a desktop computer. Along with this, your other device will actually charge your smartphone while sharing its internet data, so unlike wireless tethering, you don’t need to worry about your smartphone’s battery life decreasing drastically. You will also find that when tethering over USB cable, you will have a faster internet speed on your connected computer as the USB data cable provides a stronger connection.
Tethering Vs Wi-Fi Hotspots
If you are out and need to use a device that does not have built-in connectivity such as a laptop or Wi-Fi tablet, then you may have the option to either tether from your smartphone or use a Wi-Fi hotspot. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are becoming more and more available wherever you go, and they provide an easy and convenient way to get connected, often for free.
However, there are some drawbacks to public Wi-Fi including that these networks are often less secure compared to tethering from your phone. If you are using public Wi-Fi, it is always advised to use a VPN to secure your connection. Tethering might be better than using a public Wi-Fi hotspot if you have an unlimited data plan and your carrier has not placed any restrictions or charges on tethering activity.
Tethering from your smartphone over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB can be a useful feature to have if you need to get connected on a different device and there are no other networks to connect to.