Did you know that you can use your phone as a wireless router to provide internet access to your laptop, tablet, and other Wi-Fi devices? Android and iOS devices have a Wi-Fi hotspot feature built right into the software.
Once the hotspot is configured, devices can connect as easily as possible when connected to any wireless network . They will see the SSID and will ask for the special password you chose during the hotspot setup.
Wi-Fi Hotspot Features
Wi-Fi hotspot capability on iPhone and Android is a type of tethering, but unlike other tethering options that work via USB or Bluetooth, you can connect multiple devices at the same time.
Cost: To use this service, your phone must have its own data plan. Some wireless carriers include a free hotspot feature (like Verizon), but others may charge a separate tethering fee or hotspot plan, which may cost around $15/month.
However, sometimes you can get this extra charge by rooting or jailbreaking your smartphone and using a tethering app to turn it into a wireless mobile hotspot.
Here's a breakdown of hotspot fees for some of the major cellular carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, and US Cellular.
Security: By default, the wireless network you set up with your smartphone is usually encrypted with strong WPA2 security, so unauthorized users cannot connect to your device. For added security, if you are not prompted to set a password, go to settings to add or change a password.
Downside: Using your phone as a wireless modem consumes battery life, so make sure you turn off the Wi-Fi hotspot feature once you're done using it. Also, check out some other ways to save battery while your phone is working as a hotspot.
Related - How to connect phone to TV wirelessly
Where to Find Wi-Fi Hotspot Settings
Hotspot capabilities on smartphones are usually in the same settings area, and allow you to change similar options like network names and passwords, and maybe even security protocols.
Android: The hotspot feature on Android is called Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot or Tethering and Mobile HotSpot, and is usually found in Settings > Connections.
iPhone: For iPhone, this is labeled as Personal Hotspot on the front page of the Settings app. Older iOS versions may need to go to Settings > General > Network first. Check out how to use your iPhone as a hotspot if you need help.
BlackBerry: Look for settings in Manage Connections > Wi-Fi > Mobile hotspot. To change the settings, you may need to access Options > Networks and Connections > Mobile Hotspot Connections > Options.
BlackBerry gives you more control over hotspot options, such as allowing you to change wireless bands, allow/disallow file transfers between clients, and turn off hotspots automatically.
Windows Phone: The hotspot section on Windows Phone is in Settings > Internet Sharing.