For example, phones with data plans are able to quickly connect to the internet from adjusting mobile settings while laptops and tablets without mobile plans would not be able to connect to the internet. With this issue, it is possible to use the internet connection from mobile phones in order to “hotspot” or share it with other devices including laptops and tablets so that all the devices can share a single Wi-Fi connection. In this way, the phone acts as a modem which transmits Wi-Fi signals to the area for other devices to connect to.

With this article, we discuss how to turn an Android device with a data plan into a hotspot which can host other internet users in the area, even when not connected to Wi-Fi.

  1. Ensure that the Android device which will act as the hotspot has a data plan. Without a data plan, the hotspot will not be able to share its internet connection and hence it is absolutely necessary to have one.
  2. Disable Wi-Fi. With the hotspot on, the Wi-Fi connection must be turned off due to the factory settings of the phone. This can simply be done by dragging the top settings panel down and clicking the 3 bar Wi-Fi button so that it is turned off. If a user forgets to do so, the device will automatically notify the user to turn off their Wi-Fi before they are able to turn on the hotspot.
  3. Turn on Mobile data. In order to turn on mobile data so that other devices have a network to share their connection with, go to Settings -> Mobile Networks -> Mobile Data -> Switch on.
  4. Once the Mobile Data is switched on, go to Settings -> Mobile Networks -> Mobile Hotspot and Tethering. In this panel, it is highly recommended that users adjust their settings and passwords in order to protect their network against users who they may not want to be using their data. Furthermore, allowing unknown people onto the network can pose as a security threat as others may have malicious intent once they have connected to the network. Settings which can be adjusted include a password, the connection name, and which devices are able to connect to the network.
  5. Upon adjusting all of the settings, users can then go back to the Mobile Hotspot and Tethering tab in order to turn it on.
  6. From the other devices which users are looking to connect to the network, the process is exactly the same as connecting to a regular Wi-Fi signal. For example, users need to go into their settings tab, turn on their Wi-Fi, and then connect to the network with the correct password. A maximum number of 5 devices can be connected to the network at one time as a limitation set by nearly all devices.

Some carriers may restrict this access so that the device is not able to act as a hotspot source at all or may charge extra for this service. However, this is an issue which is easy to resolve using free apps which are available on the Google Play Store. For example, Portable Wi-Fi hotspot is one such app which is able to bypass the restrictions placed by the carrier. Through the instructions found in the app, it is extremely simple to turn on the hotspot using methods which are extremely similar to doing it regularly in the Settings app. With the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot app, many of the functionalities are paralleled with activating the hotspot right on the phone such as renaming the network, setting an applicable password, and the security type of the network in order to make it extremely simple to use. While this may seem difficult for those who are not technical, the steps outlined in the app make it intuitive even for those who are not familiar with the entire process.

It is important to note that the hotspot is meant for simple uses instead of data-heavy tasks.

Utilizing one of these two methods, users are able to turn any device with data connection into a mobile hotspot for other devices while on-the-go. Whether for social networking or increasing productivity, the ability to access the internet at any time makes this feature highly applicable for the increase in connectedness of technology. It is important to note that the hotspot is meant for simple uses instead of data-heavy tasks. For example, checking emails and reading articles should be done as opposed to streaming videos or playing games which requires a significant amount of data. This is a result of the speed limitations as it is not as quick as a stationary internet connection at home or at the office. Furthermore, as the hotspot is connected to the mobile data, usage limits also apply when the mobile data is utilized by other devices. For example, if a mobile data limit is set at 2GB/month,  turning on the hotspot to be used by a laptop will also use into the 2GB/month as it is a limit on the entire network, not based on individual devices. For this reason, it is extremely important to keep track of how much data is being used as the overuse rate is particularly expensive for mobile plans.