Top Five Non-Travel Uses For Wi-Fi Hotspots

I'm a big fan of using a mobile hotspot for connectivity on the go, and they're a great thing to take on holidays. But hotspots don't have to be limited to only when you're on a long-distance trip for work or pleasure, as this top five shows.

Picture by Ed Yourdon

1. Students

I would have killed for a portable hotspot back when I was in university. Sadly, no such things existed at the time. If I ever go back to studying, I'll definitely keep one. The appeal of having your own portable wireless cloud that can travel with you, whether you're tapping notes away in a lecture theatre, working in the library or just lounging around in your room, is undeniable, even with campus-wide Wi-Fi in some locations.

2. Commuters

OK, this one does involve travelling — of a sort. But for most of us, the daily commute isn't over a great distance; it's a fixed trip every day. A portable hotspot makes it easy to use everything from a smartphone to a tablet and up to a laptop on the go. Now all you have to do is get yourself a seat on the bus or train.

3. Office work

The office might not seem like the most obvious place for a wireless hotspot, but there's a lot of utility in having one tucked away in a drawer. For a start, they're an excellent insurance policy if your office fixed-line connection goes down and you've got urgent work to do. Equally, if you spend your life in meeting rooms with limited Ethernet connectivity, a wireless hotspot will keep you physically untethered but still active online.

4. Renters

Rental properties come with many interesting quirks, not the least of which is sorting out the incoming communications. In a shared house, sorting out the phone and internet bill can be a challenging task, and a personal hotspot has obvious utility. Even those who live alone can benefit, as you don't need to worry about paying for new ADSL/cable/NBN connections every time you move.

5. Escaping app limitations

Many applications simply won't work — or won't update — over a mobile connection. Apple recently upped its limit from 20MB to 50MB, but the issue remains. If you're in desperate need of an app (or a function only available in its update), then a hotspot can provide you with the wireless connection needed to make it a reality.

Got other key scenarios where you find hotspots useful? Tell us in the comments.


Comments

    At the Hotel, so you dont have to pay like 40$ day to use the internet

    "The appeal of having your own portable wireless cloud that can travel with you, whether you’re tapping notes away in a lecture theatre, working in the library or just lounging around in your room, is undeniable, even with campus-wide Wi-Fi in some locations."

    I don't know, campus-wide Wi-Fi does seem to make that claim pretty damn deniable.

      Sometimes something like this can come in handy at uni if your in a spot where the wifi might be a bit out of range or not quite agreeing with you laptop/ipad at the time. While my uni does have a pretty good wifi network there are some rooms or parts of the uni that doesn't quite have the adequate coverage needed.

      +1
      At least at my uni (uq) the wireless is available throughout campus (with wireless speeds generally 20mbit up and down) Also the towers at my uni receive a lot of load so 3g data is always slow/sometimes drops out

    Why in the world would I pay extra in order to carry another piece of equipment around when my phone (Galaxy S2) acts as a wifi hotsport whenever I need it to? I seriously do not see the appeal.

      +1

      And of course, for the money you spend on the hotspot, you can raise your data limit substantially on your phone.

      Using both a Telstra hotspot and a Samsung Galaxy SII side by side shows how much better a single function hostspot is at starting up, putting out a wifi signal, and locking onto a 3G signal. The Galaxy can do it as well, but it takes quite a bit longer, and has trouble if the 3G signal drops out (as it does when using it on a train). So you do get better service out of a hotspot, but you have to pay more and carry around one more device. If you're sitting at a desk somewhere in a good 3G signal area then you would notice less of a difference.

      So you can download Apps larger than 50MB, obviously.

    I use my iPhone 3G bluetooth thethered to my my ipod touch 4th generation, taped together with duct tape........it's cheaper than an iphone 4

    Creating a dead easy local network between machines while out and about is great! From just transferring files to playing the odd game of soldat or quake, especially between 5 people

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