How to Make the Internet Faster Using a Cell Phone As a Modemby Ashley Poland
If you're on the road a lot and you need a Wi-Fi solution, you can use your cell phone as a hot spot to access the Internet. However, much like with Wi-Fi access spots, you're at the whim of the available service and the connection. While you can't make a connection go faster than its physically able, you can maximize what connection you have by choosing the optimal connection type and using your device carefully.
Consider your provider and where you'll be using your phone as a hot spot. When Tony Bradley wrote about using his Verizon-connected devices for Internet on a road trip, he noted that Verizon's connection speed outside of urban areas left a lot to be desired. If you find the connection speed undesirable, look into which provider has the best coverage in the area you live or work.
Tether your connection via USB if you're only using the connection for one device. While most settings also allow you to connect to your phone's hot spot via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, a wired connection will work faster and put less drain on your battery.
Connect to as few devices as possible. If you have three Wi-Fi devices connected to your phone's hot spot, then the data speed intended for one phone has to be spread three ways. The fewer connections, the more bandwidth available for each device.
Use your data wisely. Even if you're on an unlimited data plan, some carriers throttle your data and slow your connection speeds after you've used a certain amount.
Move the hot spot closer to your computer. If you're connected to your phone as a wireless connection (via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), being closer is going to provide a stronger and faster connection. Remove any objects that might interfere with the signal -- such as books, briefcases, or other heavy objects.
- If you use the mobile hot spot feature often, consider purchasing a dedicated mobile hot spot from your carrier. In testing by Mark Sullivan and Ken Biba of PC World, they found that mobile hot spots often performed better than tethered phones on the same network.
- Most carriers require you to pay an extra monthly fee to enable tethering and mobile hot spot services on your phone.
- PC World: Lessons From the Road: Don't Expect Mobile Hotspots to Save You
- Basil Solid Software: Do Not Use Wi-Fi for Tethering your iPhone
- PC World: Use Your Cell Phone as a Modem for Your PC
- PC World: Mobile Hotspots: Which Are Fastest, Most Reliable?
- Computerworld: Wi-Fi Tethering 101: Use a Smartphone as a Mobile Hotspot
- Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images