What is Mobile tethering and How Does It Work?

Tethering is a term that is being used frequently nowadays and seems to go with the advancement of mobile phone technology. Some of us have indeed heard it but may not know quite what it is. Here we seek to understand the term and look into its applications in our day-to-day lives.

Tethering is a process of turning your smartphone into a Wi-Fi router or internet hotspot enabling other Wi-Fi enabled devices to access the internet. This is done by turning on the tethering option in your phone settings.

One of the main benefits of tethering is when you need to access the internet on a much larger device than your smartphone such as a PC or Laptop, perhaps to work or watch online streaming videos on BBC iPlayer or Netflix.

How Tethering Works

There are basically three ways that you can enable tethering, by turning on enable tethering option in your phone settings, via Bluetooth or via USB cable. When you enable the tethering option, you create a small Wi-fi network that will be visible on the list of available networks on your other devices such as PCs or tablets.

This option is also fairly fast as far as connection speed goes compared to using Bluetooth but the fastest connection speed involves using the USB cable.


How to Turn on Tethering on an Android Phone

On your phone go to settings and tap Wireless and Networks. Then go to Tethering and Portable Hotspot and begin the process of creating a hotspot name and password.

To ensure other people do not steal your network, pick the WPA2-section.

How to Turn on Tethering on iPhone 

Go to settings and tap Personal Hotspot and turn it on by pressing the toggle at the top right corner of your phone. Then fill in your password.

There is also the option of connecting via Bluetooth or USB. The next time to open the list of available networks, you should be able to see your network on that list.

Tethering and Battery Life

Using USB cable is convenient in that your smartphone will be charging as you use the internet. While using the wireless options, the battery can drain quickly so it is best to have a power supply close by.

Cost of Tethering

While tethering on your laptop or PC, webpages load in their full desktop version and will therefore consume more data than if you are using a tablet. Some networks will also not allow tethering while those that do allow will not include it in your monthly data allowance. It can therefore be quite expensive.

Considerations for Choosing a mobile Tethering Policy

As we can see tethering can use up a lot of mobile data allowance. Different networks in the UK offer different packages and the most ideal for you will depend on your internet usage.

If you are planning on doing it often, then it would be wise to keep certain things in mind to help you choose the most convenient network and the best plan for your needs.

  • What you use the internet for

While tethering using a PC, websites will open in their desktop version which includes more features. This will use up more data than if you are using a tablet or smartphone.

If you plan on streaming videos online or downloading music and videos, then the data usage will also be quite huge compared to opening websites and sending emails.

  • Number of devices tethered

The data usage rate will obviously increase with the number of devices that are accessing your network. The more the number of devices connected the more the data usage.

  • Travelling

If the nature of your business requires you to travel often then it would be best to consider a network with a wider coverage. This will ensure consistent connection.

  • Restrictions and Data Limit

While some networks will allow data usage via tethering, they may have restrictions o the amount of data you can use in a month. Depending of your data requirements, you can select the network that provides the best package.

Remember to always turn off the tethering function on your smartphone when not in use to conserve battery life.