What is a Mobile Hotspot? And Why Do You Need One?

What is a Mobile Hotspot? And Why Do You Need One?

If you’re wondering why you need a mobile hotspot for your enterprise, consider these numbers. According to the Ericcson Mobility Report published in June, there are 5.2 billion mobile subscribers worldwide. That translates to 7.6 billion mobile subscriptions and big opportunity for small business.

What is a Mobile Hotspot?

Here’s what mobile hotspots are. Think of public places like libraries and coffee houses where you see people typing away on laptops and busy with their phones. The chances are they’re on one of these mobile hotspots which are essentially wireless (WiFi) areas where people can share internet connections.

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Hotels and airports are other common mobile hotspot hubs. These are 3G and 4G networks people tap into to get connected to the Internet.   Some are free while others are subscription based. After you tap into the bigger network, you can become a mobile network yourself and share your connection with some other gadgets. Recent innovations have made it possible for your smart phone to become its own secure hotspot. Or, you can buy a small separate unit that does the same job.

How to Get a Mobile Hotspot

On Your Phone

You’ve got several options here. The easiest way is to turn on the mobile hotspot on your phone. When you activate one of these, you can create a mobile hotspot that can supply several devices with a secure internet connection. Generally, all you need to do is go to your settings or managed connections area and click on the mobile hotspot tab.

You’ll be using up your data but that should make it easy to keep track of the cost.

A Standalone Device

You might be on the road and looking to stay connected. There are quite a few options when choosing an external hotspot. Some are so small they can even fit into the palm of your hand. Prices range from $50 up to $100 depending on the type of standalone device you use. They also have several data plans available with prices that range from 2GB for $18 per month to others that come with 1GB of data pre-loaded on your account. Looking at the available data plans and overage costs is critical.  You’ll need to be aware while this kind of internet connection makes sense for some circumstances, it’s more expensive than a DSL or office cable setup.

In Public

There are still many public places where you can get connected . There are some security concerns with these mobile hotspots. When you use one of these, your data can be seen by everyone else who is using the connection. You can make these connections a little more safe by going to your control panel and making sure your Windows Firewall is turned on.

Do You Need a Hotspot?

Mobile hotspots come in handy for small business owners and entrepreneurs especially when traveling or when managing a mobile team. They make it easy for traveling team members to send contracts and reports where there might not otherwise be an internet connection. A sole proprietor can stay in touch with clients when miles from home with the device on their phone.

Take a lot of business trips? An external mobile hotspot can save you from wracking up a lot of roaming fees.  If you’re in business, getting one of these devices can save you using your phone data.

Finally, a mobile hotspot is a great option if you’re looking to set up a remote office. Whether you’re waiting for the new digs to be finished or have had a flood or fire, these are a great option to keep the work flowing.

Hotspot Photo via Shutterstock Comment ▼

Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. Rob is a freelance journalist and content strategist/manager with three decades of experience in both print and online writing. He currently works in New York City as a copywriter and all across North America for a variety of editing and writing enterprises.

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