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What is a smartphone portable Wi-Fi hotspot?

What is mobile data sharing

Most smartphones have a built-in capability of sharing their 3G or 4G/LTE data connection with nearby devices that can wirelessly connect to the Internet.

Sharing your mobile data connection with nearby devices is typically done using one of two methods:

  1. Wirelessly using your smartphone’s portable Wi-Fi hotspot (most popular and recommended)
    • Pro: ability to connect multiple devices to the same data connection
    • Con: consumes more of your smartphone’s battery
  2. Wired connection through a physical cable, such as USB
    • Pro: if connected to a computer, your smartphone’s battery will charge
    • Con: data sharing limited to only one device at a time via a cable connection

All data consumed by a device using your smartphone’s data connection will be attributed to your mobile data plan. If you have a smaller data plan, avoid downloading large files or watching videos. If you plan to use your portable Wi-Fi hotspot often, consider upgrading your data plan, or check out Bell’s mobile Internet devices that provide high-speed Internet access on the go or at the cottage.

Visit Bell’s Mobility Support section to learn how to share your smartphone’s Internet connection. Just select your device and look under the “Wi-Fi and networks” subsection to find a step-by-step guide on using your phone as a portable Wi-Fi hotspot.


When is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot useful?

Your smartphone’s portable Wi-Fi hotspot can be extremely useful in situations where your device, such as a laptop or tablet, does not have a nearby public or home Wi-Fi network to connect to in order to access the Internet. For example, if you are at home during a power outage (and you do not have Bell’s latest Home Hub 3000 modem with a backup battery), you could use your smartphone’s portable Wi-Fi hotspot to wirelessly connect other devices in your home to the Internet.

Using a portable Wi-Fi hotspot drains your smartphone’s battery more rapidly, and since during an outage you may not have a power supply for an extended period of time, you would want to limit your time spent using the hotspot in order to conserve your phone for any emergencies. However, you can extend your phone’s battery life by plugging it into a portable charger or laptop in such a situation.