I’ll admit it: now that I’m on my second iPad, I’m never going back. Combine that with LTE tethering, and my ministry travel for April was a breeze.
I was in Chicago, Washington DC, and Detroit for 2.5 weeks during April with the need to work on the road the entire stretch. Sure I had wifi sometimes, but one hotel was going to be a $20 extra daily fee (the nicer places always get you!), and the Missio Alliance conference where I was representing Great Commission Ministries had public wifi for 800 attendees all at once. Eesh: good luck connecting or getting much throughput. Not that this is unusual: at the Verge Conference or Exponential or others, I’ve usually found the available wifi to be iffy at best.
Personal Hotspot to the rescue! iPad tethering worked even better than I hoped for. Thinking of trying it? 4 tips:
- Verizon was a good choice for me. You don’t need to jailbreak anything, and Verizon doesn’t force extra fees or higher plans beyond the actual data charges.
- The data cost may be less than you think. Just the thought of the bill had scared me away from trying it at first. I am paying for only 1GB for $20 a month, and I thought surely connecting my MacBook Pro would burn through that in seconds. Not true. As long as I was mindful not to jump on Netflix, I was able to keep up with ministry e-mail, post on our internal wiki and issue tracking system, and generally keep my head above water. And I didn’t even use the full gig! Plus, at a contract-free $20 a month, my $85 smartphone bill on a different carrier is starting to look like a bad investment.
- It’s not just a backup option: it’s almost better than wifi! Here’s the best part: the LTE I was using was blazing fast. In DC, I was getting 30 Mbps +, even at less than full signal strength. Try getting that from shared wifi! The ping speed was initially a little slower if I let the connection sit for a while (say 160ms), but it never felt like a big deal. Sometimes when I had an available wifi access point, I found myself switching to tethering anyway, just for the speed.
- Maybe it’s overkill, but the iPad can be a nice “second screen” while working on the laptop! I’d have it out of my bag anyway. Instead of missing my multiple monitors in my home office, the iPad not only played hotspot, but let me google around while keeping my writing screen front and center.