Turning your phone in to a WiFi hotspot can be incredibly useful. Pushing wireless to a tablet from a phone is much cheaper than forking out for a second data plan.
Activating and connecting to a WiFi hotspot is a little different for every device, though it’s a feature found in almost all new smartphones. You do have to keep an eye on your data use though, as smashing past your data allowance will result in some pretty offensive excess charges.
iPhone 5 (iOS 6)
Go to settings and tap General.
Your phone will have one of the two following options: Cellular or Mobile Data. Tap whichever your device has and select Set Up Personal Hotspot.
You will only need to configure the password. The hotspot itself will be named after whatever you called your device.
Android devices often differ in their user interfaces. If this particular information isn’t correct for your device it still may be close. Have a play around and see if you have similarly-named options.
Go to the main system settings and find the option under Wireless Networks labelled Tethering and Portable Hotspot and then hit the toggle next to Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot to activate it.
Once activated, tap on the text to the left of the toggle and you’ll be taken to the mobile tethering section.
Tap on the Configure button in the bottom right. Here you can set the name, password and protection-type of your WiFi hotspot. The name and password are obviously up to you.
By default the protection-type should be WPA2 PSK. If this is not the case then select it for the best level of security.
Windows Phone 8
Go to Settings and make sure you are in the System tab (not Applications). Select Internet Sharing and then turn it on by tapping the toggle.
More options should appear on the screen after you’ve switched this one. Hit Setup and set your password and Broadcast Name.
Using your phone as a WiFi hotspot can be risky. Many providers offer concessions to services like Facebook, Twitter and even occasionally YouTube for on-phone usage. Once you push that connection out to another device, however, those concessions disappear and you start eating directly in to your monthly cap.
Another risk is simply the extra usage. Suddenly spreading your cap out over two or three gadgets instead of just one can have a marked impact.
Devices like laptops and tablets have much easier interfaces with which to surf the web. As such it’s easier to go through online content at a much faster speed than you otherwise might on a phone.
This is made even more dangerous by the fact that you’re unlikely to be accustomed to watching your internet usage while on a larger device. It’s easy to get stuck in old habits and start streaming HD video. This can be devastating to a standard mobile data cap.
Make sure you know how much data you’re working with each month as well as how much of it you tend to have spare before engaging in regular hotspot usage.