Nowadays, virtually any phone may be used as a modem. Most mobile plans contain Internet access which can be consumed using your smartphone and also shared with other devices. Let’s take a look at the ways you can share Internet from your phone to other devices.
This detailed guide can be applied to all the following models and brands (Android, iOs, Windows): Alcatel, Asus, Lenovo, Meizu, Philips, Nokia, Oppo, Prestigio, Sony Xperia, HTC, Samsung, Xiaomi (Redmi), ZTE, BQ, Vertex, Micromax, Umidigi, Oukitel, Texet, Leagoo, Dexp, Doogie, Huawei (Honor), HomTom etc. Keep in mind, there might be minor differences among Android versions.
- The Simplest Ways
- Via Wi-Fi
- Via USB cable
- Via Bluetooth
- Activating the Hotspot Mode
- From the Notification Bar
- From Settings
- Through External Software
- Windows Phone guidelines
- If the Smartphone’s Hotspot Failed
- Rebooting the Phone
- Wrong Network Settings
- Wi-Fi module breakdown
- You’ve Run Out of Money or Internet Traffic
The Simplest Ways
There are many different ways to share your Internet using various smartphones. However, this article describes methods more suitable for Android and Windows operating systems.
This is the most common way. Practically all modern smartphones have an incorporated Wi-Fi chip. A subscriber gets traffic through a main antenna and shares it via Wi-Fi. The connection on Androids are provided two different ways:
- Through a notification bar,
- Through the main settings.
On 8,9,10 Android:
On old Android:
On Windows devices this option is activated in the «Internet Sharing» menu:
On iPhones, the hotspot option can also be activated in the main settings. Video guide:
Via USB cable
For this connection type you’ll need a USB cable. We advise you to use the original cable that goes with the device.
- Connect the device to your PC or laptop,
- Wait until the drivers are installed successfully,
- Go to the smartphone’s main settings,
- Find the «Wireless and Networks» menu and activate USB-tethering. This option is usually located in the «Hotspot» menu.
There are gadgets which are cable-connected using specific software. For example, some Samsung devices only function with the Smart Switch (Kies) program, and Nokia phones – through Symbian (a native utility software). The latest versions of Windows devices do not allow a USB cable connection.
This is an outdated way and is very rarely used on modern smartphones. To provide a connection you’ll need to go to Settings, then the «Wireless and Networks» menu and choose the Bluetooth tethering option.
Activating the Hotspot Mode
There are several ways to activate the hotspot mode on your smartphone. Most likely it will only take several taps on your display. However, on rare occasions you may have to set the connection manually, as well as insert data via a hotspot. The following options have been ordered from the most simple to the most complicated.
From the Notification Bar
The quickest way is hotspot activation through the Android notification bar. Swipe down from the top of your display and the system will provide a set of pictograms for different functions. Activated options are usually highlighted while non-active programs are displayed in gray. Here you can find the Wi-Fi icon with two elements on either side. This is «the hotspot» feature. By clicking on it, the device will go from «receiving mode» to «hotspot mode».
By holding the pictogram the device will open the main settings where it is possible to set more precise parameters for wireless networks.
It is possible to activate the hotspot via the main menu bar (gear icon). You should navigate to the «Wireless and Networks» menu and choose the «Wi-Fi hotspot» option.
You may see the following parameters in this menu:
- Hotspot on and off modes,
- Hotspot settings,
- Connection code,
- One-time data limit,
- Turn off hotspot automatically when no devices are connected,
- Connected devices.
The first point is in charge of activating the hotspot mode. The second one grants access to more precise settings. Also, there you can find unique a connection code which is required for connecting devices which will utilize Internet access from your phone.
Through External Software
Mobile subscribers have been able to share Internet on their cells phone or smartphones since EDGE and 3G networks appeared. As of 2020, a lot of external software has been developed which allows shared Internet traffic. Here are some of the highest rates in Google Market:
- TTL master:
- Wi-Fi hotspot portable:
- NetShare + Wi-Fi Tethering:
The above mentioned software has various functionalities and are sometimes incompatible with Wi-Fi on your phone. It is highly recommended that you use stock software to activate the hotspot.
Windows Phone guidelines
Sometimes, in order to setup Windows devices, a hand adjustment is required. For this reason, the following steps are necessary:
- In the smartphone, menu choose «Settings» – «Wireless and Networks» – «SIM cards and mobile networks»,
- In the «Mobile networks» menu activate the «Data connection» option,
- In the active SIM card settings choose «Access point» – «New access point»,
- Set the following parameters for: «Profile name» and «Access point». You may find the precise meaning of these parameters from your network operator. Also in «Connection data type» you have the option to choose «no» and in «IP type» you can choose «IPv4»,
- Apply this profile and save it.
It is advisable to reboot the phone after setting all the parameters.
If the Smartphone’s Hotspot Failed
It is possible that the phone will stop functioning as a hotspot. There are several reasons that can cause such situation. More often than not, such a malfunction is caused by an incorrect operating system functioning.
Rebooting the Phone
The first thing to do if you experience a slow or lost Internet connection is to reboot the device. Operating system failures can even happen with sustainable systems like IOS. There is no need to panic. Just reboot the smartphone and reconnect the hotspot.
Wrong Network Settings
As soon as you insert a new SIM card into your gadget you will receive text messages which will set all network parameters on their own. Also, the smartphone will receive the proper settings for the correct worldwide network connection. But, failures do occasionally occur. Text messages may miscarry or the parameters may reset after a software update.
In this case, you will have to set the parameters manually. Current parameters can be found on the mobile operator’s website or on a hotline. In most cases, such network parameters as name, APN, proxy, port, username, password, authentication type, and APN type are required.
Wi-Fi module breakdown
In rare cases, your smartphone’s radio set can break down; for example, due to a hard fall or water exposure. Certain functions might still operate correctly, but Wi-Fi might lose the ability to be activated. In this event, the pictogram will become dark grey, which means that physical failure has taken place.
You’ve Run Out of Money or Internet Traffic
Sometimes a user does not keep track of their mobile Internet usage. At the most inconvenient time the subscriber can run out of traffic and lose access to the Internet. To avoid this it is possible to:
- Create an operator widget which mirrors real time tariff usage,
- Activate auto-payment to refill the account automatically,
- Check your traffic balance and account daily; for example, in the morning.
By following this advice you are much less likely to lose your Internet connection.
There are common questions users ask related to sharing their Internet connection with other devices.
- Extend your network coverage area,
- Enhance the signal,
- In the event the phone only receives a 4G signal at a loft or in a certain room but you need the whole house connected.
Step-by-step guide for the Zyxel Keenetic Lite III example (an approach is one and the same for all routers):
- Search for 192.168.0.1 (there may be variations of 192.168.X.X kind – look for the IP address in your network connection settings) via browser, on a computer, or by phone,
- Click on the Internet tab card,
- Choose the WifiMaster0/WifiStation0 interface and activate it,
- Open «Network Overview» (see «SSID name» line), click the name of your device's Wi-Fi,
- Enter the pass key for SSID,
- Don't forget to tick the «Use to connect to the Internet» box,
- Click «Apply».
The setup is complete, and network equipment can be used as a private router; that is, with devices connected via LAN cable (stationary PC, television sets, TV receiver, etc.).
Apart from this restriction there may be a P2P (peer-to-peer) connection limit set by your network operator. It is particularly common among «unlimited Internet plans». To learn about restrictions you should search the hotline for this technical feature.
Provided averaged parameters, it is possible to get a minimum signal level in an open area within a distance of 30-45 meters. In an apartment or house, this number is half as much.
Sometimes speed drop is the result of a Wi-Fi chip breakdown. This problem may be only solved in a repair shop.
Here are approximate rates for unlimited tariff plans set by four of the largest mobile operators. Search the website of your network operator for current tariffs.
It is quite simple to apply an Android or Windows smartphone as a hotspot for mobile networks. It is enough to click a corresponding icon in the notification bar or set parameters manually in the main settings.
Practically all modern cell phones receive Internet configurations automatically. If for any reason parameters are not set it can be done manually. The point is to search for correct parameters required by your smartphone.