what it is, what it is for and differences with hotspot

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Smartphones have become very useful tools for countless tasks. With them we capture our memories, send messages and consume audiovisual content. However, many of these functions are possible thanks to the permanent connection to the Internet. With it, in addition to accessing online services and platforms, it is possible to provide connectivity to other devices, such as laptops or tablets. How is that possible? Thanks to a technology called tethering.

What is tethering?

Tethering is a feature that allows mobile phones to share their Internet connection with other computers. When the operating system is used in Spanish it is usually defined as Internet Sharing or Mobile Data Sharing. The pairing between the mobile device and the external equipment is carried out using various protocols.

  • Wifi. The mobile phone uses its Wifi antenna to broadcast a network to which other devices can connect. In this case, the phone becomes a signal transmitter, or what is the same, an access point. The main advantage of this modality is that it is possible to connect several devices and all of them use the mobile network at the same time.
  • Bluetooth. As with the Wifi connection, in this case it is not necessary to have a cable either. After pairing the two devices via Bluetooth, the mobile phone makes it easy to access the Internet. This mode has some drawbacks. One of them is that it is a short-range connection. Therefore, both devices must be close. It also supports the connection of a single device to the network.
  • Cable. The Internet connection is shared when both computers are connected via cable. In specific cases, it may be necessary to install some additional drivers. This type of connection is ideal for computers that do not have a wireless network adapter or Bluetooth.

What is tethering for?

The main function of tethering is share a mobile phone connection with a computer that does not have network access. The most common is that tethering is used outside the home or office. In this way, it is possible to connect a laptop, tablet or other equipment to the Internet anywhere. It is also ideal for enjoying connectivity on the go.

The shared connection has some peculiarities that you should know.

  • Consume mobile rate data. All actions that require downloading or sending information over the Internet increase the data consumed. It is very important that, if you do not have a contracted flat rate, you limit downloads and the synchronization of large files.
  • The speed of the connection depends on a few factors. If you use tethering while on the move, you may be cut off when passing through areas with poor mobile coverage. In the same way, when you are in a fixed place, the place where you locate the sending device can influence the quality of the connection. The speed can also vary depending on whether you use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cable to provide connectivity to external equipment.
  • Safety in tethering is important. When you use your phone as a Wifi access point, any user can connect. Therefore, we recommend that you set a password and limit the number of simultaneous connections.

How is it different from the hotspot?

At this point, we have already told you what tethering is and what it is for. However, it is likely that another term has come to mind: hotspot. Are tethering and hotspot the same concept?

The hotspot is a term in English that is used to identify the wireless access points. They are devices that provide Internet to phones, tablets or computers. They are often used in public spaces, so it is not difficult to see them in parks, train stations or shopping centers. Depending on the antenna used, the Wi-Fi zones created by the hotspots can range from 30 to 300 meters. In larger spaces, two or more transmitters are used to provide coverage and provide fast connection speed.

There are some differences between tethering and hotspot. The first aims to provide the Internet to devices of the same user. The second is often used as a public access point. However, when a mobile device tethering via Wifi, in a way it also acts as a wireless access point, or what is the same, as a hotspot.

Another distinction between the two terms lies in security. The tethering allows to use a cable to provide connection to the second equipment. This makes it unfeasible for communications to be intercepted by another user. Hotspots, especially public ones, are more vulnerable to this type of attack.

How to use tethering on your mobile device?

Use the function to share data on Android too easy. Visit the phone settings and tap on Mobile Network.

Mobile network settingsMobile network settings

Press on Wi-Fi zone / Share connection.

Activate Wifi zoneActivate Wifi zone

Activate the type of connection you prefer. As in the previous case, you have the hotspot, the connection via Bluetooth or via cable.

Enable mobile hotspotEnable mobile hotspot

Next, connect your computer to the Android mobile device to have an Internet connection.

With iOS, all you have to do is go to the settings and tap on Personal access point.

IOS SettingsIOS Settings

Then activate Allow others to connect.

Activate personal access pointActivate personal access point

From that moment on, the iPhone will share the connection via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or cable. If you use the latter medium in Windows, remember that you must install iTunes for the connection to work properly.