Using hotspots for internet connectivity on-the-go is becoming a common tool of travelers or on-the-road business professionals. Having your own hotspot is not only a way to avoid the security issues that public WiFi presents, but it also allows one to have a personalized network that is tailored to the devices you need to accomplish your goals.
Setting up hotspots for use with different devices is not difficult but there are some things you need to know that will help maximize the potential of using your hotspot with WiFi as a home or office network. This will also help you troubleshoot your network if you find your hotspot not connecting to certain devices.
As I cover different ways of changing settings on various devices, you should remember that your device may work somewhat differently than mine. While I believe that most similar devices operate in similar ways you can expect to run into slightly different wording and organization from one device to another.
You should keep your device manuals handy to translate or don’t be afraid to contact your device technical support for answers.
Connecting Your Router to a Hotspot
Not necessarily the best, but the easiest way to connect devices that are already connected to your router, is to connect your router to your hotspot.
The router will offer you wired and wifi connections, but it could increase latency and reduce performance over connecting directly to the hotspot.
First, you must find out if your router has this ability to act as a bridge or repeater for your wireless hotspot (newer routers will do this). The first step to do this, is to enter the admin interface of your router.
This is accomplished by entering the IP address of your router into the address bar of your browser and then entering your username and password (See your router manual or other articles for directions).
Look for a Settings, Advanced Settings, or something similar. On my device it is Advanced Settings followed by Operation Mode. You will be offered different modes from which your router can act to manage traffic.
These are commonly:
- Router Mode: This setting is for connecting to the internet via a DSL or Cable connection from your Internet Service Provider plugged directly into the router. This creates a wired and wireless network separated from the internet by your router firewall.
- AP or Access Point Client Mode: This mode allows you to create a wireless network from a single wired connection on another network. EX: the ethernet cable in a hotel room.
- WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider) Mode: You can use this mode to connect your hotspot network and allow communication with the router network. You may or may not be able to use the ethernet ports of your router depending on the model and may need to enter your hotspot SSID and password each time you wish to enter the network.
- Repeater Mode: This is the easiest mode for connecting your router to your hotspot as an internet source. This mode simply repeats the hotspot signal. Some routers will You will be asked to enter the SSID (The name of your hotspot WIFI) or select it from a scanned list and enter the Password.
Once your router is using your hotspot for internet connectivity, the system will work like any other network.
Connecting a Printer to Your Hotspot
The steps needed to connect printer to hotspot is relatively easy. Of course, you need to have a wireless printer unless you are connecting through a router like discussed in the paragraph above.
If you know how to connect your laptop to your hotspot then you can likely figure out how to connect a printer to a hotspot.
Here are the instructions from an HP Forum about how to connect HP printer to mobile hotspots:
- Open Control panel
- Go to Network and Internet
- Go to Network Connections
- In related settings go to “Change Adapter options”
- Right Click on wireless network connection” and go to properties.
- Click configure and then Advance.
- In properties, “802.11n Preamble”, selected, select value “mixed mode” And click ok and click done
Chances are if you don’t have an HP printer, the setup will be somewhat different. Check your printer manual about connecting to a wireless network and sign your printer onto the hotspot using the device SSID and password. You may also need to install a driver or run the printer wizard on the device you are printing from.
If you only want to print from one device like a laptop, and your device supports it, the easiest way to connect to a wireless printer is straight to the device you are printing from with Wifi Direct. By selecting Wifi Direct on your printer you may be able to connect two or more devices directly to your printer.
Connecting a Digital Camera to Your Hotspot
First you need a WiFi enabled Camera like my Lumix (by Panasonic) GH4. The first step is to activate the WiFi and the WiFi hotspot camera.
On the Lumix there is a WiFi button on top of the camera. Other cameras may have you navigate to the WiFi interface through the menu screen.
Once you are there you should see some choices of devices to which you may connect. I selected PC and a menu popped up asking whether I wanted to connect direct to my PC or through the network. I selected the network, selected my hotspot SSID from a list and entered my Password and now my camera was available to the network.
I was also able to download an application that allowed me to control my camera from my PC as well as remote view and download from the camera.
If you are having trouble, try doing an internet search for your camera model and the words “WiFi camera mobile hotspot.” This is how I found a LUMIX user’s group that provided useful information.
Connecting Security Systems to Hotspot
If you have wondered if you can use hotspot for security cameras, the answer is yes. For security surveillance, wireless IP (Internet Protocol) cameras are the easiest to set up as there is no need to drill holes and string wires through your house.
You can also put cameras in trees or other places away from what you are guarding without giving away their location with wires running to them.
Wireless systems are also easily portable from one location to another. IP cameras can be signed onto your hotspot and viewed remotely as easily as a wired connection.
To connect IP camera to mobile hotspot just follow the directions for your specific devices and applications.
One of my clients monitors remote job sites with a five-camera security system networked over a Netgear 815s Air Card. The system runs a security application over an 8-bit Arduino PC (about the size of a deck of cards) and is powered by a solar panel. The system has motion detection, night vision, and recording. He can also access all the cameras over an android app on his smartphone.
Mobile hotspot security cameras come in high definition, infrared, night vision and can include sound.
Connecting TVs to Hotspot
Discovering how to connect your hotspot to your TV begins with your Smart TV menu. While the steps can vary a bit by model (f you don’t have a manual you can find it on the internet), the following is a common workflow for how to connect mobile hotspot to smart TVs:
- Turn on Your mobile hotspot and WiFi.
- Open the menu on your TV and select SETUP or SETTINGS.
- Next, select WIRELESS CONNECTIONS, WIFI CONNECTION, or similar.
- Next you will see a list of available WiFi connections in your vicinity. SELECT your hotspot SSID
and click ENTER.
- You will be prompted to enter your WiFi hotspot password. ENTER password.
- If you are prompted to select DYNAMIC or STATIC IP, select DYNAMIC and the device will automatically assign your TV an IP address.
- Select APPLY and your connection will be confirmed.
This should be very similar to ROKU, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV hotspot connections.
Connecting various devices to you mobile WiFi hotspot is made easier when you become familiar with the operation of both the device and your hotspot.
Having your manual on-hand is the first step to make your task easier. The internet is a great keeper of manuals. Even when I know I have the manuals in my file cabinet, I Google the manual because it is faster than looking through my files.
In some cases, it is easier to connect devices together directly by Bluetooth instead of wifi. Consider why you are wanting to network the device to decide if it is necessary. And finally, don’t forget the support available for the devices you are connecting.
IT support, user forums and FAQs regarding your devices will often hold the information needed to overcome the individual quirks one can encounter when exploring the capabilities of internet devices.