How to Use Your Windows Phone as a Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

A data connection on your Windows Phone can go a long way to enhancing your productivity while on the go. But it can't meet all your needs at all times. Sometimes you need your laptop. While there's no shortage of Wi-Fi hotspots these days, there isn't always one available when you need one. In those instances, you can use your Windows Phone as your own personal mobile Wi-Fi hotspot by sharing your phone’s internet connection. Here’s how.

NOTE: This guide applies to Windows Phone 7.5, 7.8 and 8.

How to Enable and Configure Internet Sharing

In order to use your Windows Phone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and share your internet connection, you'll need an active data connection. Our previous article How to Connect to Data Networks & Wireless Networks on Windows Phone shows how to enable the data connection on your Windows Phone 7 device. For Windows Phone 8, we will provide a separate article sometime in the future.

To access Internet Sharing, tap Settings.

Windows Phone Settings

Then, tap internet sharing.

Windows Phone Settings

Switch the slider from Off to On. Activating Internet Sharing will automatically turn on your device's Wi-Fi.

Windows Phone Settings

Tap setup to configure your Internet Sharing.

Windows Phone Settings

You can set the Broadcast name for the Wi-Fi network and the password that will be used to connect to it. Tap on any of the items to change them. To save your changes, tap the Checkmark. To exit without saving, tap the X or the Back button on your phone.

Differences between Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8: Even the process for turning on internet sharing is the same in both versions, there are some small differences you might notice. First, Windows Phone 8 allows for up to 8 guests, instead of 5. Windows Phone 7.5 on the other hand, allows you to set the kind of security you want for the Wi-Fi connection. In Windows Phone 8 you are not allowed any choice. The Wi-Fi network is using WPA 2 encryption (the most secure at the moment) and the wireless network is using the 802.11n standard.

How to Connect Your Laptop to the Wi-Fi Network

With Internet Sharing enabled on your Windows Phone, you can now use it as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Your laptop will detect will detect the wireless network like any other. Select it from the list of available networks and connect to it. If you need some help, we have published two details guies, one for Windows 7 and one for Windows 8. You can find them here:

On the internet sharing screen of your Windows Phone, you can verify how many other computers and devices have connected to the Wi-Fi you just created.

Windows Phone Settings

As a note, you will also be able to connect to the network other devices, including smartphones, not only your laptop.

Connected Anywhere

Using the Internet sharing on your Windows Phone device, your laptop now has an Internet connection no matter where you are. No longer reliant on dedicated hotspots, you can maintain connectability and productivity at all times. The only downside is the cost charged by your telecom provide for the data plan.