We can access internet on various devices with the help of different technologies including wireless(Wi-Fi), cables/wires, satellite and through mobile phones. Tethering and hotspot are also two technologies which are used for sharing internet over devices.
What is tethering?
Tethering is accessing the internet on a computer or other devices through another computer or mobile phone having cellular network functionality. Tethering uses network address translation(NAT) to share internet. The internet sharing device has public IP while other devices connected through tether have private IPs.
We can share internet connection among the devices through tethering. This can be done by means of wireless(Wi-Fi), bluetooth, and physical wire(USB). Windows, android and iOS smartphones have built-in features that allow tethering and hotspot.
- USB Tethering: Tethering over USB is very fast and battery consumption is also low. USB tethering may require some driver or software or configuration for internet sharing.
- Wi-Fi tethering: It is most widely used and popular method for sharing internet among devices. It is also very easy to setup.
- Bluetooth tethering: Bluetooth tethering is difficult one and speed is also lower than Wi-Fi tethering. It is not much used.
What is hotspot?
Hotspots are wireless access points which are usually used at public places for providing internet to the users. The access point is a typical device which is connected to router or gateway.These points provide internet Wi-Fi connectivity within a certain range of area. Computers, smartphones also act as hotspots.
You can connect up to 5 devices(smartphone, tablets or laptops etc) using mobile hotspots. These are wireless connections(Wi-Fi) which are portable.
Laptop and mobile are turned into virtual hotspot access points by turning on Wi-Fi for sharing internet.
Difference between tethering and hotspot
- Hotspot is physical access point which is a device which is connected to a router or a gateway but tethering is a connection among devices (smartphones, tablets, computers etc).
- Hotspot(except mobile hotspot) is easily accessible on multiple devices while tethering may require some software or driver for connection sharing and is limited to few devices.
- Tethering requires high-speed connection while hotspot requires medium to high-speed internet connection.
- Tethering used less battery and is relatively cheaper as compared to hotspot while hotspot uses more battery.
- Hotspot uses a high amount of data as compared to tethering.
Tethering and hotspot both are popular technologies for accessing and sharing internet over mostly used devices like laptops, tablets and especially smartphones. Hotspot is more popular over tethering. Hotspot is preferred because almost every device (such as smartphone, tablet, laptop, and computer) is Wi-Fi.
Mobile hotspot is same as Wi-Fi tethering. In case of mobile hotspot, mobile becomes the virtual access point.
If you want fast and more reliable method and need to tether only one device then USB tethering is preferable.
If you want to tether multiple devices then Wi-Fi tethering (mobile hotspot) is for you. It is not as fast as USB and battery consumption will also be more. But if you have high-speed internet service, then you will not notice much difference in speed.
What method do you prefer for accessing/sharing internet, let us know in the comments?