Difference Between Tethering vs Hotspot

Difference Between Tethering vs Hotspot

Have you ever had that experience where you are outside with no Wi-Fi, but you badly need to have access to the internet? What do you do in this type of situation? Fortunately, in this day and age there are certain methods that easily let you connect and access the web whenever and wherever you are.

We are referring to two commonly used ways of accessing the internet—tethering and hotspot. Surely, most of us confuse one with the other or believe that these two are basically the same thing, but there is actually a difference between tethering and hotspot. Read on, and we will tell you more about this amazing technology.

Definition of Tethering

Tethering is defined in the technology world as the method of using a mobile device such as a smartphone to act as a modem or router. Any internet-capable mobile phone can be utilized for tethering. This method is also known as connection sharing, and it is usually done by creating a direct connection from your phone to a laptop or personal computer through a USB cable.

Aside from using a cable to link your phone to another device, one more way to have a connection is wirelessly through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, which are both especially helpful if you will be using a tablet or another mobile device.

But nowadays, only a few people opt for Bluetooth because it is not as fast and reliable as Wi-Fi or USB connections. If a USB cable is used, most of the time it will require you to install software on your laptop or PC first before it can establish a connection. Web connectivity is surely a lot better through tethering.

Definition of Hotspot

Hotspot is a term used to identify an area or location, public or private, where people can gain access to the internet through a wireless local network or Wi-Fi network. This method does not usually require the use of cables to get connected. Wi-Fi hotspots can be found in different places such as train stations, cafes, or malls. A hotspot allows many people to connect all at the same time.

A mobile hotspot is a Wi-Fi hotspot that relies on a cellular internet connection and typically battery power. With this technology, a cellular internet-enabled device can be used to broadcast a Wi-Fi network. The only difference between the two types of hotspot is that the mobile one uses cellular internet and tends to eat up a lot of data.

Main Differences Between Tethering vs Hotspot

To help you decide which is better for you when evaluating tethering vs hotspot, we have created a table where you can compare the different properties and advantages or disadvantages.

Basis of ComparisonTetheringHotspot
Source of internet accessWi-Fi or cellular serviceCellular service or LAN
Type of connectionWired through USB cable or wireless through Bluetooth or Wi-FiWireless through Wi-Fi
Speed requirementHigh-speed data or Wi-FiMedium to high-speed data
AdvantagesCheaper and does not deplete the batteryComplete mobility since it is wireless and allows for multiple connections at a time
DisadvantagesCan connect only one device at a time and requires a USB cable or a device with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi; may require software to be installed on both devices to workBattery charge depletes quickly on mobile hotspots; might be expensive due to the amount of data being used if it is a mobile hotspot

Difference Between Tethering and Hotspot: Conclusion

By now, you should be able to tell the difference between hotspot and tethering. The question is, between hotspot vs tethering, which one provides a better connection? The answer is that it depends on where you are and what devices you have available.

Other factors are the amount of time you need to have web access as well as the speed you require to get what you want done. If you just need to do a quick post or shout-out to your friends on social media, a hotspot should suffice.

But if you need a more stable connection for a longer amount of time to upload or download files, emails, or photos, then tethering is recommended. As long as you have your mobile device with you, there will always be an efficient way to get connected anywhere, anytime.