How to Make Your Smartphone a Portable WiFi Hotspot

How to Make Your Smartphone a Portable WiFi Hotspot

Turning your smartphone into a WiFi Hotspot is a convenient way to get an instant, secure internet connection. It is especially useful when traveling and you need to log into a bank account or other online resource that contains personal data. A smartphone phone hotspot allows you to share your cellular data plan with to other WiFi enabled devices so they may avoid using public WiFi connections.

However, WiFi hotspots are not as secure as hardwired Ethernet connections. There is no physical connection (wire) and therefore WiFi is more vulnerable to hackers. When you are unable to connect to the internet through a trusted connection like your home or office internet connection, it is better to use your smartphone as a hotspot then to use an unsecured wireless connection – the kind you find at airports, hotels, coffee shops or retail stores.

How do WiFi Connections work?

WiFi uses radio frequency technology for wireless local area networking between devices. The technology is based on the IEEE 802.11x standards. It is a common misnomer is that the term WiFi is short for “wireless fidelity.” Personal computers, laptops, video game consoles, digital cameras, tablets, and smart TVs, printers, photocopiers can all use WiFi connections.

To set up your Android Smartphone as a Portable WiFi Hotspot

  1. Go to the settings menu on your phone
  2. Choose Mobile Hotspot and Tethering from the menu
  3. Slide the button to turn on the Mobile Hotspot capability
  4. Tap Mobile Hotspot to view more options
  5. From this screen, device users can see the password to allow other devices to access the Hotspot
  6. Tap the ellipses at the top left corner of the screen
  7. For an added layer of security, choose “Allowed devices” to allow and disallow certain devices to connect
  8. Slide the Allowed devices only button to restrict which devices can access the Hotspot
  9. The system will auto detect other devices which can be either allowed or disallowed

The device’s WiFi will automatically be shut off and your cellular data will be used to provide the access point. Be sure to change the Hotspot password every time it is used in a public area

To set up your iPhone as a Portable WiFi Hotspot

  1. Go to the settings menu on your phone
  2. Choose Personal Hotspot
  3. Slide the button to turn on the Hotspot capability
  4. Choose turn on Bluetooth to use your data for the access point
  5. Set your password to prevent others from accessing your connection

WiFi hotspots have a range of about 20 meters (66 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors It is important to limit the access to your smartphone’s access point so others cannot use it to hack your data. Although no internet connection is perfectly safe from hacking, hard-wired connections like Ethernet are safer than WiFi. Wireless WiFi connections that are secured with a password are safer than those that have no password like airports, stores, and other open connections. Using the “Allowed Devices” option adds an additional layer of security to the smartphone hotspot.

Be sure to turn off the mobile hotspot when you are done using. Just go to the settings menu again and slide the Mobile Hotspot button to off. Alternatively, turning on your device’s WiFi connection should turn off the mobile Hotspot.

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Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers