What can I use my phone as a mobile hotspot? This is one of the questions I get asked a lot from my peers who have also recently invested in smart phones. Some of them are more tech savvy than others, and some of them are not. And I get it all. I use my smart phone to download stuff, check for the weather, play online games, access the news, and most of all, stay connected to the internet wherever I go (in the car, on the plane, at home, etc).
I am pretty sure that most (if not all) of us would agree that a mobile hotspot is a must have gadget. Why? Let's face it. With the increasing popularity of Wi-Fi hotspots at cafes, restaurants and public restrooms, a mobile phone is a great way to stay connected when you are on the go. You can easily access Wi-Fi networks in parks, malls and other public places - provided you have an available signal.
And this is exactly the same with cell phones. Having your own cell phone is like having your own personal broadband connection. In addition, you can store unlimited data or downloaded files in your phone directory. If your phone has an internet browser and you have internet connectivity, you can browse the net via your cell phone.
Now that you know what you can do with your phone as a mobile hotspot, let's see what you can't. Well, you can't use your cell phone as a portable hotspot. There are limitations of course. If you want to surf the net while you are out travelling, you can always use a laptop/tabletop. However, if you need internet connectivity for work-related tasks, then you might be better off with a tablet, smart phone or a wireless hotspot PC.
Let's see what else you can't do with your phone as a mobile hotspot. One of the most obvious limitations is the fact that you can't surf the net while you are on the move. Accessing the internet from a hotspot usually means that you will need a mobile connection. This means another expense. And, while some providers offer packages that can provide free mobile internet for particular plans, the actual charges are often costly.
And speaking of costs, another thing you can't do with your mobile hotspot is to use it to make calls. It works just fine in that respect. But if you need to make international long distance calls, you will still have to use a cell phone - or you can use one of the many VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services that can send voice calls over the internet. These services are usually less expensive than a call plan and you can talk for as long as you want. Plus, their convenience makes them very popular.
Another thing you can't do with your cell phone as a hotspot is to use it to receive or send data. This includes using it to send emails and text messages. While it is possible to configure your computer to use IMAP for this purpose, most people use their cell phone instead. Even if you configure your email account settings to use IMAP, most people still prefer to use their cell phone.
Finally, you can't use your mobile hotspot to access online data such as banking, weather and sports updates. This can pose a security risk. The same can be said for information found on your phone such as contacts and messages. Even if you manage to clear your cache and cookies, there is still no guarantee that the data you've looked up or the messages you've read will remain private. So be careful what applications you choose to use to access online data or services from your phone.