Today, the internet has become an essential tool required by almost everyone. You can find it almost in all sectors; communication, information, and entertainment industries. Hotspot and tethering are two terminologies nearly every internet user comes across. For a frequent surfer, internet sharing is an important aspect. And that is what hotspot and tethering aim to achieve. Follow us keenly for a better understanding of Hotspot vs Tethering.
What is Tethering?
Tethering simply refers to the sharing of internet connectivity between devices. The internet-giving devices can be phones, computers, among others. Tethering uses network address translation to share the internet. The device giving out the internet uses a pubic IP while the other is assigned a private IP.
The essence of using the public IP is to make the device discoverable to devices searching it. Its advantage is that you can tether your devices through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or USB cables. It is also worth noting that the connecting devices must have built-in features that support tethering. Below is an explanation of how you can establish the connection through these ways;
- USB tethering: This refers to sharing the internet from your smartphone to your computer using a USB cable. It establishes very strong and fast internet connectivity with low power consumption.
- Wi-Fi tethering: This is where you share the internet from your smartphone to your computer or other devices via a wireless connection. One of its major pros is that it is easy to setup.
- Bluetooth tethering: It is the sharing of the internet between devices via a Bluetooth connection. This technology has been in use for a while compared to the rest. However, its popularity decreased enormously since the emergency of the Wi-Fi tethering.
Advantages of Tethering
- It is reliable. As long as your source device has internet, the tethered ones will have internet access.
- It is also economical. Overall, tethering uses fewer amounts of data.
- It does not consume a lot of power.
- Tethering provides a secure connection with no public access.
What is a Hotspot?
A hotspot is an access point that gives internet to devices through a wireless connection. Some of the devices that can connect to hotspots are computers and smartphones. The connectivity is only available for users within a 30 metres radius. That means anybody outside this region cannot use the hotspots. The access point connects routers or gateways. Also, some access points limit the number of devices that can connect to them. For instance, a mobile hotspot allows the connection of up to only five devices.
Best Carries for mobile hotspot
Several mobile carriers are offering mobile hotspot. They all have different services and plans. Additionally, their usability is subject to coverage, speed, and data enrolment. Every carrier has its strengths and weaknesses, which you should be aware of before making your choice. Some of these carriers include the following;
- Verizon– It is the best carrier when it comes to wide-area coverage. It has a data allotment of 15 GB at only $80.
- AT&T– They have more data compared to most of all the other service providers. Their 80 GB package cost only $85.
- Visible– This is one of an extraordinary hotspot provider which provides unlimited data. This service cost only $40.
Any of the above carriers can be the best for you, depending on your needs. There are guiding factors that you should use to determine your choice. These include cost, network coverage, speed, and data allotment.
Advantages of Hotspot
- It provides internet access to multiple devices.
- It does have call drops even when used for long.
- Hotspot can work with medium speed internet, unlike tethering, which needs high speed.
- It has portable wireless connections. That is, it allows flexibility, unlike tethering, which doesn’t support mobility.
Besides all the above advantages, the hotspot has one major downside. Public hotspots are very vulnerable to attacks. You can quickly get malware attacks, which can greatly compromise your device functionality.
Hotspot vs Tethering – Differences Between Tethering & Hotspot
Even though they both grant you internet access, there are several differences between hotspot and tethering. There are several functionality and operation differences between the two. Below is a breakdown of these hotspot vs tethering;
- A hotspot is a connection between a device and an access point connected to a router or a gateway. Tethering, on the other hand, is a connection between devices. One with the internet and the other without.
- A hotspot is accessible to many devices, whereas tethering is only accessible to a few devices. Besides, tethering requires drivers or software to connect.
- Hotspot needs a medium to high internet speed while tethering requires high-speed internet.
- Tethering has low power consumption. So, it is relatively cheaper, while hotspot has a high-power consumption making it more expensive.
- There is high data consumption of data when using hotspot than tethering.
- A hotspot is simple to set up compared to tethering, which is comparatively difficult to set up.
- A hotspot is available to the public and private areas. In contrast, tethering does not broadcast its internet wirelessly.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing Hotspot or Tethering
There is a thin difference between hotspot and tethering. That fact can make it a bit difficult to choose between the two. Here are some of the factors you can gauge your assessment to help you select the best connectivity mode;
The number of devices you want to connect
The number of your devices should guide you in choosing between the two methods. If you have many devices, the hotspot is the best connectivity method. The reason is that hotspot is capable of supporting many devices. For example, a mobile hotspot can connect up to five devices. On the other hand, tethering is useful only if you want to connect a single device. Since the connection is physical, tethering can allow only a single connection at a time.
Hotspot consumes a lot of power compared to USB tethering. Although hotspot is reliable when you have several devices, tethering has low consumptions of power. The advantage of tethering is that it charges your phone while providing internet.
Mobile hotspots drop the signal fast than tethering. The reason why signal frequency drops fast and not reliable is mostly due to the firmware. The other reason why mobile hotspot signal drops are the phone being used by other processes. For reliable internet, you can consider having the tethering if you have a computer.
Do you need voice or data?
This service varies depending on the carrier of your choice. For example, with Verizon and Sprint, tethering does not provide voice services. It means when you cannot make a call while and such attempt leads to data disconnection. When the call goes off, the data connection returns.
Security-wise, mobile hotspot is more vulnerable to security breaches than tethering. The reason is that the mobile hotspot connection is wireless. On the other hand, tethering is more secure because it directly links the USB tethering. So, you should make your choice considering how sensitive your data is.
Advantages of Mobile Hotspots Over Tethering
The data bandwidth
If you need a lot of internet data, mobile hotspots are the best solution. Mostly mobile hotspots do not have data limits exceeded a common phenomenon with tethering. Also, hotspots tend to be considerate when your work is consuming a lot of data bandwidth.
The battery life of the phone
Mobile hotspot is only accessible via a wireless connection. It doesn’t require the use of USB tethering, which sometimes leads to battery overcharge. Such incidences lead to battery damage altogether. So, hot-spotting helps you to secure your phone’s battery life.
The ability to use with multiple devices
Tethering is reliable when you have a few devices. The disadvantage of tethering is that it affects the performance of the internet supply. When you use Wi-Fi, tethering is not much better despite being accessible wirelessly. It gets weaker the more you continue adding other devices.
Hotspot does not get weaker on adding devices. It assigns every connecting device its bandwidth. This helps to strengthen the device’s signal connectivity, and you can limit the number of connecting devices.
Tethering has a lot of call drops when used for long. The reason is because of the firmware used. This is independent of the data package you buy because even the unlimited package has call drops when it reaches certain limits. The hotspot is more reliable because you pay as you use it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you tether and hotspot at the same time?
No. Simultaneous tethering and hotspot are not possible. This can only be possible on a rooted device. In that case, you can use both Bluetooth and USB tethering when you are using Wi-Fi.
How do I share my data without a hotspot?
You can share your data without a hotspot via tethering. We have several ways in which devices support tethering. We have Bluetooth tethering and USB tethering. If you have a USB cable, you can easily use it to share the internet from your phone to your computer. If you do not have a USB, you can tether your data using a Bluetooth hotspot.
Why does my hotspot say no internet access?
There are several reasons why you can get this error whenever sharing your data via hotspot. It is a common problem with Android phones. If you get this error, in most cases, the solution is carrying out a troubleshooting process. Some of the common causes of this error include turning on an airplane mode, having obsolete files, etc. Below are some of the troubleshooting procedures you can undertake to sort out the error;
- Turn on and off your Airplane mode.
- Clear your system cache.
- To the professional, you can try to select the IP to be static.
- Delete obsolete files.
Is tethering bad for your phone?
No. There is no clear evidence that tethering can damage your phone. All devices are made to handle all the processes in the system without damaging their hardware. The only challenge when it comes to tethering is overheating or overcharging the battery. This may damage the battery life, but it cannot damage the phone.
What is better between tethering and hotspot?
Both technologies are okay, depending on the situation. The only aspect which can be used to differentiate between the two is security. Tethering is more secure than hotspot. This is because its connection is over cable, unlike hotspot, which is wireless. A hotspot can easily suffer an attack through Wi-Fi sniffers. The only way you can secure a hotspot connection is by use of WPA2 passwords.
Can my phone be hacked through hotspot?
Yes. When you connect to a public hotspot, you are vulnerable to attacks. This means that the hacker can send malware or monitoring tools via the public hotspot. These tend to monitor your phone activities, gather the data, and send it to the hacker.
Is there a way to get unlimited internet?
Yes. There are carriers which offer unlimited internet. If you are a T-Mobile subscriber, you can log in to your account and choose the unlimited plan. Mobile Internet Plan gives you unlimited data for the hotspot. It has high speeds of data like 2 GB data. The plan depends on the package you choose.
Tethering and hotspot are crucial internet sharing processes that you’ll come across. Tethering is a process where you share the internet between one device to another via Bluetooth, USB, or Wi-Fi. Internet sharing is critical, and that’s why it’s good to be conversant with these processes. Depending on your need, you can settle on any of these processes to connect your devices.
A hotspot is a wireless sharing of the internet between devices. The internet on the hotspot is from access points connected to a gateway or router. In most cases, most people use them as backups. Tethering requires a high-speed internet connection. The hotspot is highly used because many devices can connect without call drops. Both tethering and hotspot are good options you can use to connect to the internet. Tethering can be favorable when you are in a business that needs only one mobile connection.