How to set up a mobile hotspot and tethering

ZTE-Axon-Wi-Fi-Hotspot-ta

If you’re taking your laptop somewhere and need a wireless connection, your smartphone can be a reliable mobile hotspot. So we’re going to show you how to set one up the right way.

Mobile Hotspot

Setting up a mobile hotspot is very easy. In my case, you head to Settings > Wi-Fi Hotspot. Then just flick the switch on and your broadcasting. It’s as simple as that. Some smartphones, specifically carrier-branded ones, will have a dedicated mobile hotspot app that you can use. Also, keep in mind that just flipping the switch to turn on your hotspot is great for quick access, but not secure access.

It’s good practice to set a secure password. Simply using “password” as your password isn’t going to keep you away from someone even casually trying to access your hotspot. Usually something with upper case letters and numbers will suffice.

Next, under “Configure” make sure your network security is set to “WPA2” and not something like “WEP,” which is an older and much less secure encryption level. Anyone could download an application or script to easily access your hotspot, something you definitely don’t want.

After all of this is configured, your mobile hotspot should be ready to go!

Tethering

android-tethering

Tethering works much the same as broadcasting a mobile hotspot, only it’s more private. It doesn’t publicly broadcast the network, as it’s only available to you while plugged in via a USB cable. Just head into Settings and under Wireless & Networks, turn on USB tethering.

With some phones, you might have Bluetooth tethering. You’ll need to make sure that your phone’s Bluetooth is turned on along with your computer’s Bluetooth. Again head into Settings and under Wireless & Networks, turn on Bluetooth tethering.

Finally, go to your computer’s Bluetooth settings, and begin the pairing process with your phone. Once it completes, you should be good to go.

Virtual Private Networks

If you want an extra level of security, setting up a virtual private network on your connection could be a good idea. We put a handy guide together on doing this awhile back, and it’s full of great information. But, in my case, one can be setup rather quickly by going following Settings > Wireless & Networks > VPN.

You then hit the ‘+’ button to begin setting up a VPN, providing a name and a server address.

Keep in mind that a VPN does give you a lot of security, but it can also slow down your connection to a crawl, a problem if you need to rely on a fast connection.

It all depends on what your needs are, but chances are your smartphone can meet all of them whether you need a fast Wi-Fi connection or a slower and more secure one.

Wrap Up

As you can see, it’s insanely easy to setup a secure mobile hotspot or tethering connection. It can be handy in a variety of situations, especially if you aren’t around free Wi-Fi access (e.g. a Starbucks or Tim Hortons). Keep in mind that you can really push your data plan to its limit, and I say that from experience!

If you had trouble setting up your mobile connection, be sure to let us know in the comments and we’ll help guide you through the process!


About the Author: Brad Ward

Brad is a tech enthusiast, writing and tinkering with all things technology since 2011. He currently bounces between the LG G3 and his beloved Moto X! His interests include reading, entrepreneurship, the gym, and of course, queso.


  • russell conrad lewis

    The one thing to remember is your carrier (in my case Verizon) restricts your phone from being a Hot Spot unless you pay j($30., per month) AND (still) have an unlimited data plan.
    If someone knows a way around paying for the “privileged” of using my own phone as a hot spot for free… PLEASE let me / us know.

  • mckaylabrewer

    I can get back to see you are you today