In many ways, the cell phone is the Swiss army knife of the 21st century—not just because they’re indispensable, but because makers seem to constantly add features to a robust platform. One of the most popular value-added features is the mobile hotspot function, which has been adopted by most mobile phone manufacturers. While a phone’s mobile hotspot function may look similar to the features of a standalone hotspot, the benefits of the latter become quite evident with a bit of digging.
The biggest benefit of mobile hotspot devices concerns data usage. Data management is easier and more effective when done via a hotspot, and consumers have options during the provider selection process. By comparison, customers are often locked into phone carrier data plans, and overages can get expensive.
With unlocked hotspots, these issues are no longer present. Unlocked GSM devices allow owners to swap SIM cards when traveling overseas, and prepaid options offer subscribers a cost-effective solution for their Internet needs.
Dedicated data devices offer higher upload and download speeds. While all modern phones have 4G hotspot functionality, not all offer optimized network data speeds. Mobile hotspots are designed to allow speeds up to 150Mbps, which means they can handle higher download speeds and accommodate more devices at once without any degradation in connection speed.
Today’s new mobile hotspots have high-capacity batteries which can support up to 16 hours of continual usage. A mobile phone’s hotspot will drain its battery in a few hours, as broadcasting a WiFi signal requires a significant amount of power.
Dedicated mobile hotspot devices have a host of other benefits. While text messages and phone calls interrupt the broadcast WiFi signal from a phone, there’s no such issue with a hotspot device. Data-only devices can be customized via a GUI screen, which allows network optimization, port forwarding and other features that aren’t found on phones.
While cell phone hotspots have certain benefits, they’ll never replace data-only devices as far as performance is concerned. These devices will become ubiquitous among frequent travelers and budget-conscious home Internet users, among other groups.