A mobile hotspot is essentially a Wi-Fi signal that allows other devices to connect to the internet via the hotspot connection. Most modern phones, such as the latest Samsung, HTC and Apple models now have this capability built in, be it on PAYG, or part of a contract, although it would make sense to ensure you have unlimited data if you want to create a hotspot regularly.
Before doing anything else, it may be a good idea to check if your phone has this function. If you do, it may already be enabled, if not, then check the manual as to how to enable this function, as it will vary from phone to phone. If you don’t have a cell phone with this option, a good alternative is to buy a device specifically made for connecting to the internet via a wireless connection.
This may require you to contact your carrier in order to have the hotspot feature enabled, or you can ‘jailbreak’ your phone, instructions for which can be found in abundance on sites such as YouTube for each model.
Another option is to purchase a Mi-Fi dongle from your local phone shop. Most will then allow you to connect up to around 5 devices, including PCs, laptops, iPods and games consoles. 3 Mobile provide these on both contract and PAYG and also offer ‘all you can eat’ data packages.
However, for those of you who don’t have this capability on your cell phone and who aren’t keen on paying out money for yet more devices that you will inevitably have to carry around with you, there are ways to turn your existing device (such as a router) into a mobile hotspot without too much difficulty.
In Windows 7
- Click on the start menu and choose control panel
- Then choose the network and sharing option
- You then have four options: choose ‘set up a wireless ad hoc network’ and click next
- Follow the instructions to set up the connection and the information will eventually tell you that anyone within 30 feet will be able to connect to your network.
- Be aware that signal strength can vary; if you live in a granite building or are in a very open space this could affect the connection.
A message should then appear warning you that if you have a wireless connection this could be disconnected. This is normal so don’t worry about it. You will then be asked for the network name and security key. If you are in any doubt as to what these are you should be able to find them on the back of your router or already have them set up on your device. Once you have entered this anyone with a built in Wi-Fi device can then connect to the internet as long as they have the network name and security key.
This method for setting up a mobile hotspot is also possible with windows XP or Vista, though settings and prompts may vary slightly.