How Do Mobile Hotspots Work?

17th February 2020

Do you find yourself on the go quite a lot? If you tend to travel or spend a long way away from your home internet router, the idea of a mobile wi-fi hotspot might sound pretty good to you. 

The idea of a mobile hotspot isn’t brand new, but the popularity and convenience of hotspots have definitely increased in the past few years. If you’re just getting familiar with the world of limitless wi-fi access, you might have a few questions about this.

For example, how do mobile hotspots work? 

It really isn’t all that complicated at the end of the day. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about mobile hotspots and how they function.

What Is A Mobile Hotspot?

If you’ve never used a mobile hotspot before, we’re about to blow your mind. The concept is fairly easy to explain. 

A hotspot is just a tiny, battery-powered station that transmits a wifi signal. You can connect a digital device to it in the same way that you would connect to the wifi in your home or your local coffee shop. Often these devices are highly portable and some are even small enough that they can fit right into your pocket.

Often, these devices are easy to use. Using them usually is as simple as flipping a switch. Voila, wi-fi. 

These devices provide wi-fi access much in the same way your phone does: by accessing cellular networks. These devices look for 3G or 4G connections nearby and zeros in on a particular mobile frequency. Once it finds one, it simply shares this connection in the form of wifi with other devices in the immediate area.

That does mean if you hope to use a mobile hotspot, you’ll still need to be somewhere where access to cellular signals is possible. These hotspots won’t truly work in real middle-of-nowhere territory, but they can do pretty good at helping out in most average situations.

Most of the mobile hotspots come with built-in security as well, allowing you to set a password and keeping an eye out for outside connections that you don’t want.

Using Your Phone as a Hotspot

If you have a newer iPhone model, the good news is that you don’t even have to buy a portable wifi hotspot in order to enjoy this kind of technology and convenience. Your phone likely has the ability to become a hotspot all on its own. So you’ve been carrying one around in your pocket this whole time!

This is a capability that few people take advantage of but more definitely should. Whenever you have a few bars of service, you should be able to transfer over that 4G connection to your laptop or another WiFi-enabled device.

Not only that, but your mobile hotspot can be used by multiple devices and people at once. That means you can get your whole team online together when on the go if need be. 

It should be noted that using your mobile hotspot is the same as using data from your carrier to browse the internet on your phone. If you are tight on data or get charged extra if you go over a certain amount, you might want to be careful turning on your mobile hotspot all of the time.

If you need help turning on your hotspot and getting things working, you can read a helpful walk-through at this link: https://setapp.com/how-to/set-up-iphone-hotspot

In addition to data consumption, you’ll also want to think about your phone battery when getting your mobile hotspot set up. Turning on this feature allows your phone to work as a little mini-router, but that can take a lot of energy.

You’re likely to burn through your battery fast if you keep your hotspot functionality on for an extended amount of time. It’s better to use the feature for a brief google or e-mail send than hours of endless browsing.

How Fast Is The Connection?

A lot of people who are interested in getting a mobile hotspot are somewhat hesitant about the possible internet speed they’ll experience. For some people, slow and laggy web use is worse than no internet connection at all.

The speed of your internet connection will depend on a variety of factors, but it’s perfectly possible to have fast and smooth internet when running off of a hotspot.

The speed will depend on how close are you to a cell tower and how many others are also using that same cell tower in order to get online. The speed might also vary depending on how far you move your device away from the hotspot in question. Staying within twenty feet of the device should greatly improve performance.

At the end of the day, you might get a range of performance and speed out of a hotspot depending on the particulars of where you are and how busy things are around you.

If you need to download big files or stream large videos, it might better to head to a cafe or back home and use the internet connection there.

How Do Mobile Hotspots Work?

If you’ve never used this kind of technology before, you might have wondered: how do mobile hotspots work? Not that the above has walked you through this amazing convenience, you can start getting online on-the-go today.

Need more tech advice, tips, and tricks? Check out our blog for much more information.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.