Recently I have had a few conversations with people who were looking to shop for internet access points. You know, the little pocket sized devices that provide you with internet access (usually via Wi-Fi). Some of these are really useful, and many people even use them at home instead of your standard ADSL or cable internet service. None of this is surprising.
What WAS surprising was that a lot of these people were unaware they could use iPhone tethering (or on Android) to connect their laptops to the internet. Many mobile service providers offer decent data packages (4GB+). Tethering may not be ideal if you are looking at streaming the latest episode of Game of Thrones, but it is certainly good enough to browse an online newspaper, send a few emails and so forth.
The thing you will want to consider before activating a ‘personal hotspot’ for your laptop is whether you are on 3G, 4G or LTE (this will depend on your carrier). I’m personally very wary of how many websites will stealthily throw videos in your face, so I like to stick to 3G just to be on the safe side, as 4G/LTE will buffer VERY rapidly and go through your data plan pretty quickly, too.
But enough of that, let’s jump into how to set up a personal hotspot on your iPhone.
That’s half the battle won. iPhone tethering is a great backup solution for when you need to get a little bit of extra work done. Some notes on the different types of connections:
Wi-Fi – battery consumption on Wi-Fi is pretty significant, so bear this in mind. Make sure that you choose a secure password that is hard to guess, to avoid other users piggybacking your connection. Your iPhone’s Wi-Fi network will appear automagically on your list of local networks.
Bluetooth – a reliable and battery-efficient alternative to Wi-Fi, the only caveat being that some devices will have Wi-Fi adapters but no Bluetooth.
USB – the least practical option (due to the cable), connecting to your iPhone via USB will provide the most reliable and secure connection. An obvious downside is that you cannot tether your tablet to your iPhone.