So you have an entry-level iPad 2 that only has Wi-Fi. You have a smartphone that has a great 3G data connection. But both these devices live in separate worlds. How do you get your iPad to talk to your smartphone so that it can use your cell phone Internet that screams ahead on 3G? If you had a laptop, you could wonder about connecting it to your phone with a wire, or through other means – as ungainly as they would be. But with an iPad? That’s where wireless tethering comes in.
Now that we have iOS 4.3 for our iPhones, there is a whole new world of wireless networking that has been placed at our fingertips. The iPhone now can act as a WiFi hotspot for five people at the same time. If what you have is an iPhone or other smartphone that is capable of tethering of this kind and of turning into a Wi-Fi hotspot, you wouldn’t really need to think longingly about an iPad 2 with 3G. You are easily able to access the Internet just the way things are – and to do it in an elegant and wireless fashion too.
Why exactly would you want to go to all this trouble and use up your smart phone’s data plan when you could just use some public Wi-Fi hotspot instead? To begin with, public hotspots tend to offer unreliable connectivity. And then, you never know what kind of predatory users happen to be online when you come on. Even the free Wi-Fi you get at your airport departure gate or at your hotel is 2 out of 3 times, just slow and bothersome. If you could set aside your worries about your data plan, you’d find that tethering your laptop or your slate to your cell phone Internet has everything you need for smooth and productive connectivity. If you don’t have a smartphone that is capable of this though, you could buy one of the many mini-hotspot devices on sale everywhere. The Verizon MiFi is one such product.
But tethering your cell phone Internet connection to your slate or a laptop isn’t as straightforward a matter as it might sound. To begin with, your smartphone data plan will charge you extra if you are into tethering. On AT&T, for instance it can cost about $45. And if you buy a mini-hotspot device, that can up costing you $150. And of course, many of these devices won’t work outside of North America. And even if you do pay to tether your iPhone to your laptop or something, that little escapade really drains your battery. There’s a price to pay for everything.