What Is Tethering
You hear about phone tethering all the time in tech articles, but have you ever asked yourself, what is tethering? It’s an option that many cell phone outfits offer to their customers, but if you don’t know what it is, you might be missing out if you opt out of buying it with your plan.
What Is Tethering
When one device, such as your phone, has wireless internet capability via your data carrier’s tower, you are sometimes given the option to share that connectivity with your other Wi-Fi capable devices. This might include an iPod touch, iPad or laptop.
Just because your phone has Wi-Fi capability doesn’t mean it can automatically share its wireless connection. Your data carrier must give it a function called a hotspot. This function basically works like a wireless router. In other words, it’s like your own personal internet café, just without the espresso.
How It Works
Some phones share this connection through an app, like a Bluetooth app. Of course, the connecting device must also be Bluetooth-enabled to work. Others just send out a Wi-Fi signal, and that takes care of the issue.
How It Really Works
So what is tethering, in reality? How does tethering actually help you from day to day? Well let’s look at the following scenario. Let’s say you’re on a road trip and your son wants to play a game on the internet. He’s making such a fuss in the back seat that you give in to him. But where do you get the wireless internet? There’s no Wi-Fi signal around! But wait – there is. Just turn on the hotspot function on your phone, and the laptop will pick up the signal. You might have to confirm the new addition to the network on your phone before it will allow the laptop to begin using the wireless signal.
Now how much does a function like this cost? Naturally, it varies based on your carrier and the data plan you buy. Some offer a flat fee for the hotspot function while others charge a monthly fee. Plus, you have to remember that your tethering function will eat up the data in that data plan, so don’t go streaming a bunch of movies from Netflix over your hotspot unless you want to run over your monthly allotment.