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Sluggish Wi-Fi hotspot? Altering one Android setting could make a giant distinction

Altering a easy setting may allow you to higher share your cellphone’s 4G or 5G reference to others. 

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Utilizing your cellphone as a hotspot provides you an web connection anyplace, and one which’s far safer than utilizing free public Wi-Fi. However if in case you have an Android cellphone, you won’t be getting the quickest speeds you possibly can, which implies that web sites in your laptop computer or pill, for instance, load a lot slower than they might. 

Testing out Dash and Verizon’s 5G networks in Chicago in 2019, I used to be curious to see what would occur when sharing the speedy connections with a 4G-limited iPhone over Wi-Fi. Whereas the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G on Dash pulled in pretty constant obtain speeds between 100 and 200Mbps all through the day (and an S10 5G on Verizon getting between 400Mbps and 800Mbps) the iPhone was having a tough time getting previous 30Mbps. 

So what provides? After confirming with Samsung and the carriers that no one was capping speeds, and testing different units together with the OnePlus 7 Professional ($987 at Amazon) and LG V50 ThinQ 5G, it appeared that the difficulty lies in an Android setting that has Wi-Fi hotspots broadcast Wi-Fi over a slower 2.4GHz frequency, as a substitute of the a lot sooner 5GHz. 

Switching to 5GHz on the cellular hotspot, I noticed obtain speeds soar. After struggling earlier to interrupt the 30Mbps barrier over Wi-Fi, switching each Dash and Verizon’s S10 5G hotspot settings allowed the iPhone XS Max ($850 at Finest Purchase) to get speeds above 300Mbps on every provider’s respective 5G community.  

Whereas this was in 2019, you possibly can nonetheless be encountering the identical subject in 2021 with 2.4GHz because the default hotspot setting.

Connecting an iPhone 12 Professional Max to a Galaxy S21 Extremely 5G on T-Cell’s 5G community in New York noticed obtain speeds of 33.6Mbps over 2.4GHz. A fast change to 5GHz practically tripled the throughput, boosting the connection to 116Mbps in the identical location. 

Here is the way to make the change in your units. 

Why is there a distinction? 

As with mobile 5G, there are lots of totally different flavors of Wi-Fi and some frequencies that can be utilized. The two.4GHz band is nice for pushing the Wi-Fi sign to distances removed from the router, although it does so at slower speeds and is extra prone to interference from different units like cordless telephones, child screens and even microwaves. 

The 5GHz band (also referred to as 5G) is far sooner and operates with much less interference, although its vary is way shorter. 

As a result of nothing is ever easy, for this reason your router at dwelling might present 2G and 5G variations of your community, although these Wi-Fi networks are totally different from the 5G being deployed by wi-fi carriers. Briefly, when at dwelling use your router’s 5GHz connection when obtainable for the quickest speeds, notably on units like 4K TVs or sport consoles. 


When streaming to a 4K TV attempt to use 5GHz Wi-Fi when obtainable. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

On condition that, in lots of instances, your cellphone will likely be pretty near the gadget you are connecting to, the vary limitations of 5GHz should not be a lot of a problem. 

Most trendy units are able to connecting to Wi-Fi on both band, although some older units solely acknowledge 2.4GHz which is why it might make sense for it to be the default choice. 

Here is how one can be certain that your cellphone’s hotspot broadcasts in 5GHz. We give examples for 3 totally different producers, however if in case you have a distinct Android cellphone that helps 5GHz the steps needs to be fairly related. 

Samsung telephones

Step 1. Go to Settings.

Step 2. Faucet Connections after which Cell Hotspot and Tethering.

Step 3. Click on on Cell Hotspot after which faucet on the three dots within the higher righthand nook. 

Step 4. Faucet on Configure Cell Hotspot. This allows you to change the community title and Wi-Fi password to your hotspot, however scroll down and choose Present superior choices.

Step 5. Choose Use 5GHz band when obtainable or 5GHz most well-liked.


Deciding on the 5GHz band will permit for a lot sooner hotspot sharing. 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

LG telephones

Step 1. Go to Settings.

Step 2. Select Tethering.

Step 3. Faucet Wi-Fi hotspot then click on on Arrange Wi-Fi hotspot.

Step 4. Within the pop-up that seems, scroll down and click on on Present superior choices.

Step 5. Swap from the preselected 2.4GHz Band to 5GHz Band.

OnePlus telephones

Step 1. Go to Settings.

Step 2. Select Wi-Fi & web or Wi-Fi & community.

Step 3. Choose Hotspot & tethering adopted by Wi-Fi hotspot.

Step 4. Below AP Band, change 2.4GHz Band to 5GHz Band.

What about iOS? You probably have an iPhone 12 it should default to the 5GHz band until you activate Maximize Compatibility within the Private Hotspot part of Settings (as noticed by YouTuber Aaron Zollo). Apple in any other case would not permit iPhone customers to alter which band Wi-Fi is broadcast on via iOS’ Private Hotspot function.

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