Buriing inside almost all smartphones is a skill that few people take advantage of but that I have relied heavily on: the ability to turn a phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Using my phone as a hotspot (also known as using the phone as a Wi-Fi modem) means that whenever I have a few signal devices, I can access my tablet or laptop online – and share my internet connection with colleagues. It is my way of staying on top of work anywhere, which allows me to read and send emails, move data back and forth with company servers and even get a taste of the latest office gossip from the comfort of a full-size device.
A phone hotspot can be an important collaboration tool for a group of business people trying to work together. Power from the team on the way to the airport in the van completes the team’s presentation to the audit team working in a conference room with an independent internet connection outside the company they are testing. It can also provide a home office communication line when Wi-Fi goes down.
It works like a dedicated mobile hotspot, but because it’s inside your phone, there’s nothing extra you can charge, carry, and try not to lose. When the phone is connected to a mobile data network, it can convert the data stream to a Wi-Fi signal so that other devices can share. Thankfully, the phone can still view websites on its screen, make calls and respond to texts while handling the hotspot connection.
This process works on almost all current Android and iOS phones, and using your phone as a hotspot can be much safer than using a public hotspot. Consumption is usually included in your monthly plan, but after you reach a certain data limit for most programs, the speed decreases. On the other hand, using your phone as a hotspot can chew your phone battery faster.
After talking with representatives of the makers of networks and networks about their products and using my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G as a hot spot for a particular tour, I reviewed the answers to the following 15 important questions about phone hotspotting. In short, using a hotspot can make life easier on the road, and sometimes even at home.
Q&A for mobile hotspot
- What is a Wi-Fi hotspot phone?
In essence, a hotspot is a combination of software, computer hardware and back-up network data resources that converts a phone into a broadband and router modem. In other words, it can spread web connections to nearby systems via Wi-Fi. This not only allows me to access my mobile computer and tablet online, but I can also share it with colleagues, as long as they are in the classroom and know the password.
Some phones also allow you to use the phone as a modem via Bluetooth and USB cables, but these techniques are less common.
- How does it work?
To use the phone as a hotspot, the device treats its Internet connection to the data network as if it were a broadband data source. It then transmits this data locally as a small Wi-Fi hotspot using an 802.11ac or 802.11ax protocol with the most advanced phones. The result is that those within range Wi-Fi devices can affect the data signal as much as a normal old Wi-Fi network – because that is the case.
- How safe is it to use a phone hotspot?
Using a mobile hotspot can enhance your security profile by allowing you to avoid the use of popular unsafe public places in coffee shops and hotels. At the end of the phone equation, it is as secure and confidential as calling or web filtering with your phone, because 4G data traffic is usually encrypted using a Snow Stream cipher with a 128-bit encryption key.
For those who can access one of the emerging 5G networks, security increases with 256-bit encryption; the ability to block fake mobile network transmission sites, known as stingrays; and encryption of your identity and location to prevent identity theft. This is only the case if the network uses these protections, however.
With any mobile network, a VPN can build a solid wall around your connection with AES 256-bit encryption, but it usually comes at a cost of operation.
Between the phone and its connected clients, the phone hotspot uses WPA2 encryption, which requires a minimum of eight characters. Some newer phones from LG, Asus and Samsung can use the solid WPA3 scheme which better protects the connection authentication phase.
- Which phones can be used as hot spots?
The good news is that almost every Android or iOS phone on the market can be converted into a Wi-Fi hotspot. What is needed is a small stop change that takes at least a minute.
Hotspot connectivity occurs on any Mobile network your phone uses – so if your phone supports 5G and is in a 5G network environment, this is what it will use for hotspot connections. Otherwise it will go down to the 4G or 3G network as needed.
5G phones usually have the “5G” logo replacing one “LTE” or “4G”. There are a few 5G first generation phones available, which could be a balloon in the coming years as networks are built and handset chips needed cheaper and expired. The following is among the first to leave, but as you will see, neither Apple nor Google is represented. Expect to see 5G iPhone and Pixel handsets in the fall.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
LG V60 ThinQ 5G
Motorola Edge Plus
Nubia Red Magic 5G
OnePlus 8 Pro
Oppo Discover X2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
Vivo iQOO 3 5G
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
ZTE Axon 10 Pro