In today’s hyper-connected world, having a slow hotspot can be a frustrating experience.
Whether you’re trying to get some work done on the go, stream your favorite shows, or simply stay connected with friends and family, a sluggish hotspot can bring your productivity to a halt and leave you feeling disconnected.
So why is my hotspot so slow?
There could be a variety of factors at play, from network congestion to hardware limitations. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons for a slow hotspot and provide you with practical solutions to help you get back up to speed.
Why Is My Hotspot So Slow?
1. Your Network Connection Is Slow
One reason your hotspot is slow is that you are connected to a slow network. When there are multiple gadgets connected to your hotspot, the speeds you experience will waver wildly. Streaming video games and installing software updates will cause the bandwidth to get hogged.
2. Congested Network
Routers transmit their signal on a specific medium. Therefore, if the neighbor next door set their routers in the same channel as yours, it will become congested with excessive traffic and retard the connection speed for everyone. This snag is most common in apartments where many routers are stuffed in tiny locations.
3. Poor Positioning
Positioning your router or mobile hotspot in the wrong place can significantly slow down your connection. For example, a Wi-Fi hotspot router has a standard range of 100- 130 feet while a smartphone-generated hotspot has a range of 30 feet.
This means that the longer the hotspot access point travels, the slower it becomes. However, your hotspot connectivity can also be blocked by huge physical obstacles like concrete walls, doors, and floors.
4. Signal Interference
Hotspots are susceptible to wavelength interference from other domestic appliances. Electronics like wireless doorbells, phones, and microwaves can cause signal disturbance from the hotspot operating on the 2.4GHz bandwidth. Therefore, be ready for interruption if you are streaming a movie in the kitchen while the microwave is running.
5. You Are Using a Slow VPN
Did you know that your VPN can cause a staggering effect on your hotspot speed? Free VPN applications are popular for providing notorious performance.
If you are relying on one and receiving a slow connection, it could be an app that provides you with privacy and security while browsing online. You may try to disconnect it briefly and see if the hotspot speed will pick up. You can also purchase a premium VPN to enjoy better speeds and security.
6. Poor Internet Coverage
When you switch on your hotspot access point, you could expect a 4G internet connection to be really fast, but this isn’t the case.
A slow hotspot isn’t just caused by your phone settings, there are many factors to consider like the weather and your distance to the nearest ISP tower.
You may also experience slow connectivity in crowded places since a multitude of users is trying to connect to a single tower simultaneously.
Connecting to smaller ISP carriers with limited bandwidth might also limit your connectivity speed.
7. Your Phone Is Slow
Your hotspot connection may be perfect but your phone hardware might be the one struggling to keep up with the online resource requirements like configuring the graphics in a webpage.
This is common with older phones and low-priced Android devices. Therefore, the slow connection might be caused by your phone’s inability to keep up with the graphics of an online game.
However, if your device is high-end, your choice of installed apps can also have a significant impact.
How to Make My Phone Hotspot Faster
1. Buy a Cell Phone Signal Booster
If your location is far away from the carrier tower and you experience poor network coverage, or you reside in a place where buildings and natural barriers obstruct your phone hotspot signal, you may consider boosting your internet connectivity.
A good booster will ensure that your connectivity is always strong no matter your location.
The following are examples of some super-fast signal boosters
- weBoost Home MultiRoom Signal Booster
- HiBoost 4K Smart Link Renewed Signal Booster
2. Restart Your Phone
If you rarely switch off your phone, the quickest way to make your phone hotspot faster is to restart your device. This may be an easy fix, but it works; restarting your phone clears up the cache, frees up the RAM, and configures any irregular internet connection changes.
3. Change Network Settings
One of the simple tricks to speed up your phone hotspot speed is to toggle the airplane mode on and off. This helps the phone to choose a faster connection by resetting the previous network settings.
You can also achieve a faster phone hotspot by changing the network connection type on your phone i.e. LTE/GSM/WCDMA. You can access these settings by selecting mobile Network settings.
Similarly, depending on your carrier and your location, you may select the strongest network manually.
4. Change Your Location
You may have noticed that your phone hotspot is slower in some places, you can try moving several feet away from your present location and observe if your connectivity will improve.
This problem is common in areas with large barriers like houses and mountains. Generally, this method will also help you to shift from a congested tower and increase your overall hotspot connectivity speed.
5. Uninstall Unnecessary Apps
Some applications and widgets may be consuming too much data in the background hence slowing down your phone hotspot speed. Therefore, you may choose to disable the apps from using your phone data bandwidth in the background or uninstall them completely.
To check the apps running on the cellular data for iPhone, select the cellular option on settings. For Android devices, click on connection settings, data usage then mobile data usage. From there you may disable the background data usage.
6. Check For Network Outages
Even the most established mobile carrier may suffer an outage or a technical breakdown once in a while. These network outages may affect internet speeds and reduce your phone hotspot connection.
However, if the outage is widespread, the carrier company will be notified and respond swiftly to resolve the interruption.
Is a hotspot slower than Wi-Fi?
In general, a hotspot is slower than Wi-Fi because it uses a cellular network to provide internet access, which tends to be slower and less stable than a traditional Wi-Fi connection.
Additionally, hotspot data plans typically have data usage limits and may slow down once a certain amount of data has been used, which can further impact speed. However, it’s important to note that the actual speed of a hotspot or Wi-Fi connection can vary depending on a number of factors, such as signal strength, network congestion, and the type of device you are using.
So while a hotspot may be slower than Wi-Fi in most cases, it’s always a good idea to test the speed of both options in your specific situation to determine which is faster and more reliable for your needs.
Is tethering faster than hotspot?
Tethering and hotspot are two different ways of sharing your mobile device’s internet connection with other devices. Tethering involves connecting your phone to another device via USB or Bluetooth, while a hotspot allows other devices to connect to your phone’s internet connection via Wi-Fi.
In terms of speed, both tethering and hotspot can have similar speeds as they both use your phone’s mobile data connection. However, there are a few factors that can affect the speed of each option.
Tethering may have a slight edge in speed if you are using a wired connection (USB), which can be less prone to interference than Wi-Fi. On the other hand, hotspot can allow for multiple devices to connect simultaneously, which may be more convenient in some situations.
Ultimately, the speed of tethering vs. hotspot will depend on various factors, including your phone’s capabilities, the quality of the USB or Bluetooth connection, and the number of devices connected to your hotspot. You should test both options to see which option gives better speed.
How do I check my hotspot speed?
To check the speed of your hotspot, you can use a speed test app or website. Follow these steps to check your hotspot speed:
- Connect the device you want to test to your hotspot.
- Open a web browser on that device and go to a speed test website, such as speedtest.net or fast.com.
- Click the “Go” or “Start” button to begin the speed test.
- Wait for the test to complete, which usually takes around 30 seconds to a minute.
- The speed test will display the download and upload speeds of your hotspot connection. Take note of these speeds, which are usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps) or kilobits per second (Kbps).
How do I know if my hotspot is being throttled?
If you suspect that your hotspot is being throttled by your ISP, there are a few signs to look out for:
Slower than expected speeds
If you’re experiencing slower speeds than usual on your hotspot, even though you haven’t reached your data usage limit, this could be a sign that your hotspot is being throttled. Test the hotspot speeds across several devices to know if the speed limitations are consistent for all devices.
Limited data usage
Some mobile carriers may have data caps on hotspot usage. If you’ve reached your data usage limit and your hotspot has slowed down significantly, this could be due to throttling.
Reduced video streaming quality
Some mobile carriers may throttle video streaming quality on hotspot connections, which could result in lower video resolution and buffering. You may need to downgrade the video streaming quality to get better speeds.
If you notice that your hotspot speeds vary significantly throughout the day, this could be a sign of network congestion or throttling.
If you think that your hotspot is being throttled, you can contact your mobile carrier to confirm if they have a policy of throttling hotspot connections. Additionally, you can try using a virtual private network (VPN) to bypass throttling and potentially improve your hotspot speeds.