Nowadays, our mobile phones are like mini-computers in our pockets. They can run powerful apps and connect to any WIFI network nearby. That said, did you know you could also transform your mobile phone into a portable router? This feature is also known as a hotspot. Moreover, there are many standalone hotspot devices on the market to choose from. Before going any further, we invite you to take a closer look at our complete guide on everything related to hotspots.
How can I use a WIFI Hotspot?
A hotspot is a technology that is created by a dedicated hardware device using WIFI technology. To put it simply, people can connect to the internet by using WIFI through a wireless network. It can be either a private or public location. Private locations, such as coffee shops, hotels, and restaurants, usually have a WIFI that requires the user to enter a password. On the other hand, a public WIFI doesn’t require any password, which is a lot less secure.
While a regular WIFI hotspot depends (more or less) on your distance from the latter, know that it is also possible to have your very own WIFI hotspot. Indeed, with your mobile phone, you can create a portable hotspot by sharing your cellular data in your WIFI menu. There is also another type of hotspot: the standalone hotspot device. Commonly called pocket WIFI or travel router, this device allows one to connect to the internet anywhere. Finally, the users sharing a hotspot have to be within approximately 10 meters of the device.
Types of Mobile Data Connections
Although there are multiple types of wireless mobile networks, there are two common ones that users are familiar with, which are 4G and 4G LTE. 4G stands for “Fourth Generation”, and 4G LTE stands for “4G Long Term Evolution”. Understanding these terms is actually important when it comes to choosing mobile networks. Since these two are different in terms of speed and coverage area, it is recommended you understand the pros and cons of each in order to choose the one that best suits your needs.
To clarify, in terms of speed, 4G LTE is naturally faster than 3G, but a bit slower than true 4G. That said, internet speed varies from one carrier to another. However, the speed of the technology you want to use does not have to match the speed offered by the carriers. Today, wireless carriers start widening the reach of their networks, so almost all mobile products can access 3G and 4G without any problems. Therefore, before choosing a provider, the user should know what’s the average connection speed offered by the different service providers, as well as the various package offers available.
And of course, there is 5G, which is by far the fastest wireless internet ever created. That said, only a handful of devices can really take advantage of this new technology, especially due to the fact that not a lot of cities in the world support 5G yet.
How Much does it cost to buy a Mobile Hotspot device?
The cost for a basic mobile hotspot device is normally less than 150 dollars. Huawei for example sells a 4G pocket Wifi device for $50 USD (model E5576-855). For the pricing plans, most providers will give you the possibility to get an unlimited data plan (to a certain extent). In general, the user will pay for a monthly plan or a fixed amount of data. Therefore, it is important to estimate how much data you need, since extra charges could be applied if you go over your data limit. Moreover, even with unlimited plans, you have some kind of limit. That’s right, after going over 20 or 30 GB of data, the provider will often slow down your access to the internet in order to moderate your usage.
How to know how much data I am using per month?
For example, you probably need to think about how many songs you want to download and listen to per month. With a 2-Gigabyte data plan, for instance, you can stream and listen to about 82 hours of music per month. You could also watch over 130 videos on YouTube with an average watch time of 4 minutes per video. Additionally, you could spend over 100 hours on Facebook, Instagram, and whatnot. The key is to observe your different habits so you can calculate how much data you need per month.
When almost every activity today depends on the internet such as online meetings, gaming, or doing business, having a portable hotspot could be a lifesaver. Also, being able to use the internet everywhere you go will make your everyday life easier. Therefore, a mobile hotspot device is recommended if you often need internet while you’re not home.