Tablets have quickly become an important device for many businesses. While they are useful, some tablets, especially those in the Android family, don’t have a mobile data connection which means you have to rely on Wi-Fi to be online. But fear not! If you travel with another mobile device that does have a data connection, you can share it with your tablet through a process called tethering.
The following is an overview of tethering. It focuses on Android tablets, but this process can be applied to almost any Android device.
What exactly is tethering?
You’ve probably seen this term mentioned in marketing collateral or contracts from your mobile provider, or heard users talk about it. In the most basic sense, tethering is sharing one device’s Internet or data connection with another. The most common type of tethering is someone using their smartphone’s data connection to surf the Internet on their computer or tablet.
When it comes to tethering on Android devices, there are three main options:
- Portable Wi-Fi hotspot – Turns your device into a Wi-Fi router, allowing it to share its data connection with up to five other devices.
- Bluetooth – Shares the device’s data connection with one device over Bluetooth.
- USB – Shares the device’s data connection with one device via cable. Usually this is a computer.
A word of warning: As you share connections, the speed of data downloads on all devices will be diminished. Some devices are data hungry, and if you have a certain amount of monthly data as a part of your contract, you can easily use it up. If you go over the contracted amount of data, you may be in for a bit of a shock when you see your next bill.
Can I tether on my tablet?
Technically all Android tablets and devices can share their connection as long as they can connect to mobile data. The ability to tether actually hinges on the provider of the data connection – some allow it, others don’t – while some will apply extra charges. Before you try to tether any device, you should check with your device’s data/mobile provider to ensure tethering is allowed. As a rule of thumb, if you are already paying for a data connection with a set amount of bandwidth (often 2GB a month), tethering is likely ok.
How do I share my data connection?
If you have a smartphone with a data connection and would like to share it with your tablet, you have a couple of options:
For iPhone/iPad (with a data connection) users
- Open Settings on your phone.
- Tap on General followed by Network.
- Select Personal Hotspot followed by Wi-Fi Password.
- Set the Wi-Fi password and select Done.
- Slide the button beside Personal Hotspot from Off to On.
- On your Android device, open the Wi-Fi settings and look for the network with the iPhone’s name. Tap on it and enter the password you set above. It should connect within a few seconds.
For Android users
- Open your phone’s Settings app.
- Press More under Wireless & Networks (Android 4.2)
- Tap on Tethering & portable hotspot.
- Select Set up Wi-Fi hotspot and enter a network name under Network SSID.
- Enter a password under the Password section and press Save.
- Select Portable Wi-Fi hotspot and the device will create a wireless network.
- On your tablet, open the Wi-Fi settings and look for the name you have set in the Network SSID field above. By default it’s Android AP.
It would be a good idea to use a password when setting up tethering to ensure that no one will be able to connect to your network without your permission.
If you are looking for more ways to get your Android tablet online or wondering how a tablet can help you, contact us today.