Tech Tip: Mobile Tethering

Tech Tip: Many Smartphones can tether mobile data connection allowing for WiFi access anywhere. Great for Laptops and Tablets while on to go

WiFi hotspots are all over the place, but there are times when your laptop or tablet need to connect and there is not a reliable WiFi connection around.  What to do?  Data plans with your smartphone can often be shared through wireless tethering.

What is Tethering?

Tethering allows you to connect a wireless device, such as a laptop or tablet, to your smartphone to allow the data connection on it to be shared.  There are 3 ways you can tether a Smartphone.  Cable, Bluetooth and WiFi.  If you are using a laptop with a free USB port, you may be able to plug your smartphone into it and have it act as a modem for your computer.  This will give you direct access to your data connection, while providing power for your smartphone.

If your computer or tablet has Bluetooth, you may be able to connect it up to your device wirelessly.  This would be similar to the USB cable method but without the physical connection.  Your device will share the data connection and allow you to access the internet just like it was connected via the cable.

WiFi is probably the most common option for connecting up a device to your smartphone.  Turning your phone into a WiFi Hotspot will allow you to share the data connection with multiple devices.  In this case, your smartphone will act as a WiFi router for other devices that connect up to it.

A few caveats to remember though.  Tethering and mobile hotspots are great for quick connections when on the go, or when your Internet connection is down, but unless you have a really good data plan, you shouldn’t use it as your primary connection, especially when computers are connected.  Many software updates can download in the background on your computer, eating up your data plan without your knowledge.  Since many mobile data plans here in Canada range anywhere from 1GB to 6GB of transfer, it wouldn’t take much to go over without realizing if simply through software updates.

Some wireless providers also sell specialized WiFi Hotspots with the data plan all connected.  These are great if you plan is to have a mobile office or only needed in a location for a short period of time where a traditional internet connection would not be feasible to hook up.  For the average user however, a Mobile hotspot on your Smartphone should be fine to stay connected.


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