How to Go Online Using Your Laptop’s Cellular Network

By Nancy C. Muir

If you find yourself needing to use the Internet in a sticky situation and there is no Wi-Fi available, it’s possible to use a smartphone’s 3G or 4G connection to connect your laptop to the Internet. You may have to pay your phone service provider a monthly fee for this service, called tethering or personal hotspot. In addition, your laptop has to be Wi-Fi capable (newer laptops all are).

Check with your service provider before tethering. Each provider differs on how they charge for this service and you don’t want to incur unwanted fees.

  1. Start by turning on the hotspot feature on your phone (typically this is found in Network settings).
  2. On your laptop, press Win+I, and then click Network & Internet.
  3. Click Show Available Networks and then click your phone’s Wi-Fi connection.
  4. Click Connect and enter the security key.
  5. Click Next.

Be aware of the drain on your phone’s battery when tethering. Connect your phone to a power source when tethering, if possible, and turn off hotspot when you’re not using it.