Hotspot Issues: What to Know Before You Buy
A Wi-Fi hotspot takes mobile cellular connection and rebroadcasts it, allowing multiple Wi-Fi devices to connect wirelessly. While some people may think this is an attractive option for home internet use, hotspots work better as a secondary connection when someone is traveling away from home. If you’re considering canceling your home internet because hotspots appear more cost-effective, you’ll want to read about potential hotspot issues.
What Is a Hotspot?
A hotspot may seem like a flexible internet option. Still, it’s important to remember that the internet speeds for a Wi-Fi hotspot are the same that are available on your smartphone, which means it broadcasts in 3G, 4G or 5G internet connections, far less than traditional gig internet plans. A portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a smartphone without an operating system or screen, as it can only make a mobile connection. Additionally, portable Wi-Fi hotspots have a battery and require USB recharging, similar to a smartphone.
Let’s dive into the significant hotspot issues that significantly impact users.
1. Limited Wireless Network Availability
One of the major downsides to a portable hotspot is that you’re limited to the same type of cellular reception the carrier can provide. While most urban areas generally have good cell phone coverage, rural areas will likely experience difficulties connecting and maintaining an uninterrupted hotspot connection. Since speeds vary between 3G, 4G and 5G, hotspot streaming will be slow, greatly impacting video games, movies and internet speeds.
2. Monthly Data Cap
Most carriers have hotspot data plans that cap your monthly usage. If you stream movies, play video games or are online a lot, you’ll quickly be out of data. Additionally, some carriers may offer unlimited data, but the internet speed is capped at a certain point in the fine print, rendering your hotspot into a slow, frustrating paperweight. Before committing to a hotspot, read the fine print. Suppose you plan to engage in video streaming or other data-intensive activities online. In that case, you may be plagued with hotspot issues, ultimately determining that a hotspot will not meet the everyday needs of your current lifestyle.
3. Battery Usage
Additionally, while hotspots appear small and sleek, many models feature a short battery life – as few as two to three hours. Additionally, the more devices you have connected and the more data you use, the more battery life the hotspot must expend, causing even more hotspot issues.
4. Limited Connected Devices
Most hotspots can only handle around five connected devices, and having multiple devices connected simultaneously significantly reduces speeds. Keep in mind that five connected devices quickly add up. If you have a smartphone, laptop, tablet, TV or one connected home device such as a washer, dryer, refrigerator, security system, doorbell, etc., you’ll likely reach your maximum connectivity quickly.
Home Telecom Internet Speeds
Before switching to a hotspot, consider the limitations above, which can greatly impact your ability to use the internet or your devices at home. If you’re unsure what internet speed you need in your home, take our quick quiz to learn more.