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What is the difference between a mobile hotspot and tethering?

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What is the difference between a mobile hotspot and tethering?


Mobile hotspots and tethering services offer similar results for users, but work a little bit differently.

A mobile hotspot is an offering by various telecom providers that consists of an adapter or device that will allow computer users to hook up to the Internet from wherever they happen to be. Mobile hotspots are advertised as an alternative to the traditional practice of logging onto a local area network or other wireless network from a PC. Although mobile hotspots could be used for other kinds of devices, they are most commonly associated with laptop computers, because laptop computers are a type of "hybrid" device that may roam, but doesn’t usually come with built-in mobile Wi-Fi.

Tethering is slightly different. A tethering strategy involves connecting one device without Wi-Fi to another device that has Wi-Fi connectivity. For example, a user could tether a laptop to a smartphone through cabling or through a wireless connection. This would allow for using the computer on a connected basis.

Experts point out that when tethering involves a wireless setup, it can look and seem a lot like a mobile hotspot. One of the differences is in provider models. Most telecom operators offering mobile hotspots sell a box or adapter for a fixed price, and offer the mobile hotspot service on a monthly basis. With tethering, the offer could involve simple cable connectors to hook up an existing mobile wireless device to a laptop, without any monthly charge. However, mobile hotspots seem to be a popular option because of convenience.

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