Using Your Phone as a Hotspot

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Owning a smartphone means having internet access with you wherever you go, with connections getting even faster over the new 4G networks. But sometimes even the bigger phones aren’t quite enough for what you need to do on the move, and there comes a time when you need to switch to your tablet or laptop.

But did you know that you can share the internet connection from your phone with other devices? This means even a computer or Wi-Fi only tablet can be hooked-up online when you’re out and about.

How

Open up the settings menu on your smartphone and have a scroll through the options. You’ll find one listed as something like Mobile Hotspot, Tethering or Sharing Internet Connection – the name can change from phone to phone.

Go into that set of options and switch your personal hotspot on. You’ll also have options to name the network and give it a password – do so, so it’s easy to find and keep secure.

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Next, go to whichever device you want to connect, be it a laptop or tablet. Scan for Wi-Fi networks in the same way that you would if you were setting up at home, and the network created by your phone will be listed amongst others in the area.

Simply select your mobile network and enter the password to connect. To make sure you are online, use your browser to go to a website that you know is regularly working – if it displays properly then it means your connection is up and running.

Why

As we mentioned earlier, there can come a time when even your large, high-end smartphone isn’t enough for what you need to do. You may have some applications on your laptop which need an internet connection to work properly, or maybe you can only access your work emails on a computer.

Alternatively, you may want to watch a film on a tablet with a screen that’s larger than that on your phone. Either way, using your phone as a hotspot could well be the right idea.

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What to watch out for

There are a few pitfalls that you should try to avoid when using your phone as a hotspot. You’ll be using your data allowance and there is a risk of going over your limit and running up a big bill.

In light of this, it’s best to avoid doing any major software updates. Also, be wary of cloud-storage services which automatically upload your photos, like Dropbox does, as this can quickly eat up your data. Lastly, if you’re watching a YouTube video, you may be wise to stream it in a lower quality than you normally would.

While you’re hooking up your smartphone, tablet or anything else to the internet it could be worth having a read of our security advice for mobile users.

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