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Computer FAQ Gal
November 10, 2021

Wireless Hotspot - An Internet Alternative?

A wi-fi hotspot works over cell phone service.  You can connect your computer or tablet to a hotspot to connect to the internet without connecting to a home internet service.
Some cell phones can serve as a hotspot that you can “tether” to your computer to get on the internet.  This would come in handy if your power is out and you need to upload a school assignment by the end of the day.  
If you do have hotspot capabilities on your cell phone, your cell phone plan must support it.  Some services have an option to allow hotspot usage, generally for a higher monthly fee.
You can also purchase a hotspot device and a data plan.  StraightTalk, Verizon and T-mobile all have stand-alone hotspot devices you can buy.  You can purchase data by the gigabyte and add more when you run out.
How do they connect?  Once the hotspot is activated, you can connect your computer or tablet to it just like you do with your home wi-fi.  Look for wireless connections that are available and then select the one for your hotspot device.  When I turn on my iPhone’s hotspot, it shows up as “iPhone” under wireless connections on my computer.  You’ll need a password to connect, which will either come with your device or in the case of your phone, be shown when you turn on your hotspot.
The drawbacks to this type of connection are price and connection availability.  You must be in the service area for it to work.  The price of the devices themselves isn’t that high, around $50 for StraightTalk and you can find them at Walmart or a similar store.  Purchasing the data is where it can get to be expensive.  5G of data will run you around $50 (StraightTalk) and we all know that doesn’t go too far.
If you are a very occasional internet user or want some type of backup plan in case of internet outages you may want to consider a hotspot device.  Will it replace your regular internet service?  Probably not.
Stay safe and have a good week,
Kathie Pearce
ReRun- ComputerFAQ #27


Computer FAQ GAL - Previous Columns
Kathie Pearce

Computer FAQ GAL
Kathie Pearce

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