There are few things as frustrating as really needing an internet connection – to send an important document to your boss, for instance – and realising your Wi-Fi has gone down, or slowed to a crawl.
Never fear! You can use your smartphone as a mobile hotspot to surf the net or get those important emails winging their way through cyberspace.
This is very useful if you're travelling and need to connect your laptop, tablet or camera. Plus, if you're feeling generous, you can let your friends and family connect to your hotspot when they've run out of data.
It’s called tethering or internet sharing. And it’s really easy to set up.
How to create a Wi-Fi hotspot
While each phone is slightly different, it should be a pretty straightforward process to set up your personal hotspot (as it’s called on Apple devices). Simply find the Hotspot option on your phone and enable it.
On both Android and iOS, you’ll find it under Settings. On Android, select Wireless & Networks > Tethering & portable hotspot. On Apple, look for Personal Hotspot.
If you have a BlackBerry, go to System Settings > Network Connections > Mobile Hotspot.
You’ll be asked to configure it with a network name and password, which you’ll then use to access the net from your tablet, laptop or another smartphone.
- Data alert: When your tablet or laptop is connected to your mobile data, make sure it doesn’t do any data-hungry updates or downloads. Either disable automatic updates in settings, or keep a close eye on your data consumption. If numerous devices are connected to your smartphone, it's easy to chow through your data allocation very quickly. Consider setting a data usage alert on your phone so that you'll be notified when you've hit your limit.
- Battery use: Having the hotspot enabled uses quite a lot of battery on your smartphone. Disable it when not in use.
If you don’t want to use your phone as a hotspot, you can also buy a portable Wi-Fi hotspot or MiFi. They work just like a wireless router but access the net via a SIM card. Your other option is to invest in an internet dongle.
You can pick up a dongle or MiFi with a data plan from Vodacom Online.