What started as a set of computers connected in a room, turned into a dial-up modem of computers communicating over our phone lines, turned into DSL and cable connections that transferred data much quicker without tying up your phone line, turned into fiber-optic internet transmitted to an entire home through a wireless router, turned into a person wireless hotspot (check out Solis from Skyroam) that delivers high-speed internet in even the farthest corners of the world…. Phew… that was a long sentence, but the internet truly has evolved into something extraordinary over the course of the last few decades.
Let’s take a look at the most recent evolution of the wireless world wide web: The mobile hotspot.
Starting with the basics, a mobile hotspot is essentially a small portable wireless router that pulls internet from the cellular data network and turns it into reliable wireless internet for your laptop.
In fact, if you own an Android or iPhone cellphone you already own one of these hotspots, because there is a setting on both of those phones to broadcast a wireless network that you can control and protect with your own password. Don’t go crazy though, because often times, the data usage for this is tracked and charged differently based on your carrier.
A mobile hotspot can be VERY useful if you work on the road frequently and find yourself in many different environments where you may not always have access to WiFi. Most mobile hotspots allow you to connect multiple devices to one hotspot, so you essentially created your own internet bubble almost anywhere. The big limit is cell reception. Without cell reception, your hotspot won’t be of much use.
As useful as this gadget may be, you have to all consider security. Since you have now created a wireless network within a certain range of the hotspot, that WiFi network could be discoverable to anyone around you as well, so make sure you get a hotspot that can be password protected and encrypted with WEP, WPA, WPA2 encryption. This will make it reasonably safe from hackers, but of course, you can never be too sure, so always be aware of where you are and what you are transmitting.
That’s pretty much the basics! You’ve just completed Mobile Hotspots 101! Before you go off and start cruising on the information superhighway, make sure you get a mobile hotspot data plan that you are familiar with, or check with your carrier to see how your phone bill will be charged if you use your phone as a hotspot. Otherwise, happy surfing!