Chromebooks to get Wi-Fi hotspot capability in the future – Why?

When we are out and about and need access to the internet most of us reach for our mobile phones. It’s the fact that you can access the internet on your phone that has made them more popular than ever before.

You can of course get access to the internet from a tablet or Chromebook, but this is something that you don’t see as much. Firstly, you’d need to check that the tablet or Chromebook has LTE capability. It’s the LTE capability, which allows you to add a data SIM to your device to access the internet. Not all tablets and certainly most Chromebooks do not have this functionality.

Instead, if you want to get access to the internet from your Chromebook when you’re out and about. You most likely use your phone as a mobile WiFi hotspot. It’s pretty easy to do with a Chromebook and Android phone, and ChromeOS has continued to make the process even easier over the years.

LTE Chromebooks offer a better connection

Although I’ve not owned a Chromebook with LTE capability. I did once own an Android tablet where I decided to take advantage of its LTE capability. It meant buying a further SIM card for the tablet on top of the SIM I already had for my mobile phone. Therefore, this means having to spend extra money as you’re doubling up on your mobile data SIMS.

Apart from the extra cost involved using a data SIM in an LTE device is far better than using your data from your Android phone. It’s far more stable as you’re not relying on a WiFi signal between your LTE device and your mobile phone.

If I were a student and needed access to my Chromebook in places where I did not have internet access. I would much prefer to buy an LTE Chromebook and pay for a separate data SIM plan. Sure, you could use the data from your phone, but from my experience, this isn’t the most stable connection.

Using your phone data on your Chromebook

I’ve recently changed my broadband provider at home. It was supposed to be a seamless process where I’d be without the internet for a day. I had planned it perfectly for my old provider to disconnect me the day before my new provider connected me to their services.

Unfortunately, this didn’t go according to plan because the new provider failed to turn up on connection day. In the end, this meant having to go without broadband in my home for over two weeks.

Luckily I was able to use my phone’s mobile data when using my Chromebox and Pixelbook Go. It was really easy to connect because I had already set up ChromeOS phone hub so I could share my Android pics with my Chromebook.

The issue I had was that I got a really slow internet experience. When my phone was using 5G it wasn’t too bad, however, it was regularly swapping to 4G and this really impacted my browsing experience. I also noticed the connection would regularly drop out, and that’s before you even look at how much data you’re using up.

Using your phone as a WiFi hotspot on a Chromebook eats your data

My mobile phone plan gives me unlimited data when using social media. I can use Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms on the move without it eating into my data. Therefore, the data I get with my plan on a monthly basis is only used when browsing websites. Because of this I only pay for 15GB of mobile data, as most of the time I’m using social media when I’m on the move.

When I had to use my mobile data to access the internet from my Chromebook and Chromebox. I was pretty shocked at how quickly it ate my data. The main reason for this is that websites act differently when you’re using a desktop or laptop. Unlike a mobile phone where websites tend to need a lot less data. Visiting a website from a laptop or desktop eats a lot more data.

If you decide to use your Android phone as a mobile WiFi hotspot for your Chromebook. I’d make sure you have enough data in your plan. If you have limitless data on your mobile plan you don’t need to worry, but if you don’t; then I’d keep an eye on how much data is being used.

Using the data from your LTE Chromebook

It’s great to see Google is looking into adding the functionality to use your Chromebook LTE data as a WiFi hotspot. This is something recently found by 9 To 5 Google. However, I’m not overly convinced that this is something that many people would want to take advantage of.

Unless I’m missing something, I cannot see a situation where you’d want to use your Chromebook data on other devices. Let’s face it, apart from your Chromebook, the next likely device you have with you when away from home is your phone. The fact your phone already has its own data, it’s unlikely you’d need to share your Chromebook data with your phone.

There may be a situation where you also carry around a tablet with you, and you’d like to use your Chromebooks data to access the internet on your tablet. Apart from that, I’m struggling to find a real use for this. That’s before you even consider how much data you get with your Chromebook LTE plan on a monthly basis. Would you really want to share this data with other devices? You’d most likely have more data on your mobile plan to share compared to an LTE plan on your Chromebook.

All new features are welcomed, yet, I’ll make a prediction that this isn’t something that will take off.