Using your cell phone as a hotspot is convenient, especially if you need internet access on a computer or tablet when you’re away from home. With your mobile hotspot, you don’t have to search for Wi-Fi and, depending on your mobile plan, you might be able to connect five to 10 mobile devices simultaneously.
A hotspot is your own secured network, which offers more protection than using a public network. While this is a reliable and convenient feature of a phone plan, there are a few things you should know about using your cell phone as a mobile hotspot.
1. Does it come with your cell phone plan?
Keep in mind that not every cell phone plan includes a mobile hotspot. Contact your cell phone provider or review your current data plan to see if this option is available to you. If you don’t currently have a hotspot enabled, perhaps you can add it for an additional fee per month, or upgrade to a plan that includes it.
For example, under Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom plan, you can receive 10 GB of high-speed mobile hotspot per month. If you exceed 10 GB and need additional high-speed internet, you can purchase an additional 1 GB for $15 per month.
2. Be careful when streaming from a hotspot.
Using your cell phone as a hotspot is perfect when you need to research from a computer outside of Wi-Fi. You can also use a hotspot to stream movies or music from your computer or tablet, as long as you make sure you keep a close eye on the data you’re using.
Streaming takes a lot of bandwidth and you can quickly eat through your gigabytes for the month. If possible, hold off streaming from a computer or tablet until you’re on Wi-Fi, or stream directly from your cell phone if you have an unlimited data plan.
3. Think twice before sharing your network.
This is your mobile hotspot, so you’re free to give anybody your password. But if you’re sharing your network with others, make sure you lay down a few ground rules.
Before another phone can connect to your hotspot, you must provide them with your network name and password. With that being said, once this person connects to your hotspot, their device might save your network information and automatically connect to your hotspot when in range. Therefore, if you decide to share your network with someone, periodically change your password to prevent them from jumping on your network in the future.
As a side note: if you share your password, tell these individuals not to share your network or password with anyone else. The more people connected to your mobile hotspot, the slower your internet speed. This could interfere with your ability to work.
4. Don’t forget to disconnect.
Once you finish using your mobile hotspot, don’t forget to turn off the mobile hotspot feature. This way, you don’t accidentally stay connected to the internet, which could eat away at your allotted data for the month. By disconnecting, you also avoid another person signing onto your network without your permission.
To ensure that unauthorized persons don’t access your network, periodically check your number of network connections. If you don’t recognize a connection, turn off mobile hotspot and then reset your password.
Bottom line: a mobile hotspot is convenient, reliable and useful when you’re outside of Wi-Fi. But since you’re only given a certain amount of data per month, use your mobile hotspot wisely. Turn it on when you need to handle urgent matters and then disconnect as soon as possible.