Whether your smartphone is an Adroid, iPhone, or Blackberry Bold, they all now include a new feature designed to make your life – personal or business – seamless. This new feature called tethering turns your cellphone into a modem. You can now connect your laptop or any Internet capable device to your phone and access the World Wide Web: the perfect solution for those who travel and always need a connection to the Net.
When there is no Wi-Fi available at your hotel or coffee shop, tethering negates that inconvenience. Here’s how it works: your cellphone service allows you to connect to the Internet even when your laptop can’t. By turning your cellphone into a modem that you connect to your laptop, it can now connect up by making use of your wireless service. Though many locations offer Wi-Fi, many do not offer this convenience. By tethering to your cellphone you are assured of always having access to the Internet when you need it, regardless of whether the service is available or not.
It is best to verify with your cellphone service provider to verify if tethering free with your plan or if costs you an additional monthly fee. If it is already part of your plan then tethering can be an excellent way to save money since you won’t have to pay for an extra mobile broadband service to connect your laptop.
A BlackBerry Bold 9650 cell phone for the Verizon Wireless phone network. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wi-Fi in a public place may be attractive particularly when it is free, but for those with the right equipment who want to steal your data also find it attractive. In most cases, perhaps using free unsecured Wi-Fi won’t be a serious issue for you, but when it comes to proprietary information you may not want to take that risk. The advantage of using your own cellphone based mobile hotspot is that the traffic that passes through it is encrypted. Your data remains secure, which may be a serious plus when conducting business while on the road.
If the cost of tethering is not already included in your plan you may be required to pay up to an additional $20 a month for the service. Usually this will provide you with 4 GB of usage a month. If you travel as part of your occupation this additional cost may very well be worth it. This is particularly true when you consider all the airports and hotels that charge for Wi-Fi service.
Wireless networks don’t have the same performance as wired services. With a cable connection it is not unusual to get a 20Mbps connection. You can’t expect that same speeds with a tethered device. Usually you’ll get around 3 Mbps for downloads and about 1 Mbps for uploads. Though this would be a frustrating level of performance for gaming, for most business uses this is quite adequate. It will sufficiently handle most business applications and including Skype without any serious loss in quality.
Many people find that once they’ve experienced the seamless convenience of tethering it is difficult to do without it.