Smartphones have the capacity to act as a Wi-Fi hotspot which enables nearby tablets, computers and other devices to access the Web. This feature is called “tethering”. According to In-Stat’s Allen Nogee, tethering lets smartphone users have Internet access all the time minus the extra equipment.
Tethering in general, works by supplying Web access to various devices via Bluetooth, or USB cable, or Wi-Fi connection or wireless link. The most convenient to connect of which is through Wi-Fi, considering that it is common for almost all tablets and laptops to have built in Wi-Fi in them. And also, servicing many devices at the same time is possible with this feature.
A user’s smartphone can function like a Wi-Fi router through connecting with a mobile data network. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all offer phones with Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. There is, however, additional cost for using tethering. Among the four national networks, three charge for tethering use. Verizon charges a monthly extra of $20 while T-Mobile charges $15 per month. Sprint asks for an additional $30. On the other hand AT&T does not charge but includes tethering in the network’s 4GB data plan. All of them have varying data limits and once a user goes overboard, T-Mobile slows the data flow while the other three charge another extra. Subscribing to a plan with tethering feature is set up in a monthly payment setup. Day-passes or one-time tethering options are not offered by the networks.
Wi-Fi tethering makes use of a built in chip therefore, does not require external equipment for use. Setting up your smartphone as a hotspot requires you to configure your data by keying in a network name, encryption type and security password. The details vary on the user’s phone but basically a user just need to look for the tethering app and he will be guided. The feature is also extremely convenient. Connecting various devices to your mobile hotspot works the same as a typical office or home Wi-Fi router. Currently, there are around sixty smartphones in the market that can become mobile hotspots. And these phones can supply Internet to any device with Wi-Fi networking.