By Jaime Westman

If you’re like me, you’re tethered to your mobile devices. As agents, we have to be, right? So when I try to use my iPad in a non-WiFi hotspot and find it useless, it can be frustrating, to say the least.

What to do? More tethering, of course – if possible. Some smartphones have the capability to act as a mobile hotspot that supplies Internet access to nearby computers, tablets and other devices. The phones connect to a mobile data network and then act as a Wi-Fi router to send bandwidth to nearby clients. That’s good news for multi-tasking agents who don’t want to drive around looking for a public Wi-Fi hotspot and who don’t want to add to their device stockpile by buying another product. The bad news? Most of the major networks charge from a little to a lot to allow you to tether a notebook or tablet to your phone. Since things can change quickly in the mobile world, check with your carrier for pricing plans before making any decisions.

Getting Started

Make sure your phone and data plan support hot-spot use and has Wi-Fi functionality. If it can be and your provider allows it, then the monthly charge will be your biggest concern. To see if your phone has the capability: www.computerworld.com

The type of program you choose to install will vary depending on the operating system and hardware of the phone.

Pros & Cons

A hotspot is a convenient way to retrofit a tablet or notebook for faster connections, which seem to get speedier every few months.

Many new smartphones allow you to tether a laptop or tablet to the phone through a Bluetooth or USB connection, which, for all intents and purposes, makes it a hotspot.

You can get Internet access in areas where you wouldn’t otherwise, which is handy if you need to quickly download or upload files to show or send to clients.

Your phone’s Internet capabilities while tethered to your computer might not be as strong, especially if you’re using it through a router.

Using your phone as an Internet source for your computer is more likely to rack up the data usage and affect the payment plan with your provider.

The battery on your phone or tablet might drain quicker if you use it for tethering.

Apps for iPhone

If you have an iPhone, there are apps that allow you to tether. Some to choose from include: Apps for iPhone

Apps for Android

The same is true for Android phones. For a list of some apps, visit:

Apps for Android

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