What is an Internet Hotspot and When Do You Really Need One?

5G internet gets a lot of hype—and for good reason. We’ve discussed before why it’s so groundbreaking, and how using it can benefit your virtual, in-person, or hybrid event or conference. 

One catch, however, is that 5G Wi-Fi isn’t available everywhere yet. While the three major carriers have built it out in major cities across the country, it may be available on one street and not the next or in one city but not the neighboring one. This is because providers are choosing whether to tap into Sub-6 radio frequencies or mmWave radio frequencies as the means in which to build the best environment for 5G support. This takes careful evaluation—and lots of time. And then, of course, they have to physically build it out as well. 

In the meantime, many people are purchasing 5G-ready devices like the iPhone 12 (and the forthcoming iPhone 13). These devices can tap into other types of connectivity, but they can reach their speed and bandwidth potential by connecting to 5G internet. 

In situations where internet speed matters the most, like events, tradeshows, conferences, and festivals, having less-than-ideal internet simply won’t cut it. If you’re not yet in an area that offers 5G Wi-Fi, there is an option that you can utilize for your event that will provide both a secure connection and one that allows your attendees to tap into ultra-fast 5G: a 5G hotspot.

With that said, today, we’re breaking down exactly how internet hotspots work, so that you can decide whether they’re the right choice for your event. As always, our experts are happy to discuss your specific needs in detail as well.

Image: Lifewire

What Is Internet Hotspot

Let’s start with a quick explanation of how Wi-Fi internet connection works. A Wi-Fi connection is essentially when devices “talk” to each other through radio frequencies. Your router communicates on these different channels in order to transfer data. 

Have you ever been to a coffee shop and signed onto their internet? Then you’ve already logged into a hotspot since they’re generally known as simply “any public internet access point that gives you a Wi-Fi connection.” 

More specifically speaking, however, internet hotspots are another wireless option of connecting to the internet, even when you’re in a place that doesn’t offer standard Wi-Fi or have an ethernet connection available. Internet hotspots connect to cellular data in order to provide a “makeshift” connection option. Your phone, of course, uses cellular data, and most smart phones are built with the ability to become a hotspot when needed. You can, for example, have your phone tap into your cellular data plan in order to provide internet for you when you’re desperate. 

Essentially, an internet hotspot is another means of connecting to wireless internet, either as an addition to your existing connection or in an instance where you’re away from a traditional connection mode.

wifi signal
Image: PCMag

What Is a Mobile Hotspot

While you can use your phone as a hotspot device for a quick solution, there are drawbacks about doing this, and it certainly wouldn’t suffice as a good option at an event or when more than a few devices were using it. 

This is where mobile hotspot devices come in. Mobile hotspot devices are devices that are made to provide internet connectivity in circumstances where the existing internet capabilities aren’t up to par with your needs. Maybe, for example, you’re hosting a conference that is in a rural area and you don’t have suitable internet for your attendees. Or maybe you’re producing a remote conference and your presenters need high-speed remote internet options. There are various reasons why your event may call for enhanced internet in the form of a mobile hotspot.

Mobile hotspots are small devices that, like most smart phones are capable of, tap into cellular data in order to provide a hotspot connection to the internet. They can be extremely helpful in situations like those mentioned above. While most hotspot devices that are currently available use 4G LTE networks, there are some options that work over 5G. 

Image: TechAdvisor mobile wi-fi routers 2021
Image: TechAdvisor mobile wi-fi routers 2021

The Benefits of 5G Hotspots

While most hotspot devices allow users to connect a relatively small number of devices while still maintaining speed, 5G hotspot devices improve the technology—by a lot. 

By connecting over 5G networks, they have a much faster speed than previous models. The upload and download speeds are greatly improved, so that means no buffering for your attendees or users. Plus, they are capable of handling many more devices than previous generations, another boon when it comes to events of any size.

And if you’re renting 5G-capable devices for your event, you definitely want to have 5G internet available for those to tap into. 

When Do You Need a Wi-Fi Hotspot?

You may need an internet hotspot in a variety of situations. These may range from small—you’re on a road trip with no internet and need to send a quick email from the car—to large—you’re at a hybrid conference and need to figure out a way to connect 5G-ready devices to strong 5G internet. 

Generally speaking, though, we recommend Wi-Fi hotspots when: 

  • You’re hosting a conference or event in which many devices will be tapping into the internet connection.
  • You’re in an area that doesn’t yet have 5G internet available.
  • You’re looking for a “backup” plan in the event of unreliable internet.
  • You’re planning a festival or concert that will house a large number of attendees.
  • You’re giving a remote presentation and want to be sure that there are no buffering, connectivity, or speed issues.
  • You’re working on post-production with a team in a remote location and need solid and secure internet. 

In short, there are a number of situations that might require a Wi-Fi internet hotspot. If you’re unsure of whether you need one for your specific circumstance, our experts can advise you on the most appropriate and beneficial options available for you. Internet hotspots can help give the devices you’ll have at your conference, event, or workplace the ability to access the best internet—which is helpful for attendees and planners alike. 

About eTech Rentals

eTech Rentals is a national technology solutions provider located in Southern California specializing in rental technology integration. eTech is committed to long-standing client relationships and consistent, reliable local service, trusted by expert event planners, film and entertainment production companies, and businesses in California and nationwide.
Learn more about eTech Rentals at: https://www.etechrentals.com/