There are a number of scenarios you might be in where friends, family and colleagues need to jump on a (read: your) wireless connection, but they’d rather not pay a connection fee. So if you have the goods right in front of you and they can connect for free, they may buy you a cookie. Here’s how to be a good pal and earn their gratitude and occasional baked goods:
- MiFi ($50-$170 for the device and $50 monthly): There are a number of devices, data cards or USB plugins available through the major phone carriers that offer fast mobile internet speeds for up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices, including laptops, tablets, e-readers or music players. Many are powered by your laptop, while others stay charged up to 12 hours before recharging.
- Mobile phone tethering (free to $60 monthly): Tethering is when you use your phone as a hotspot. While iPhones, BlackBerrys, Windows Phones and Androids all offer tethering, not all phones support it. Still, most carriers offer tethering on most of their smartphones; some phones offer tethering through an application, while others go through the phone’s settings. Search out the term “tethering” and the name of your phone to determine your options.
- Pocket router ($30): At about the size of your thumb, the Asus WL-330NUL is the world’s smallest pocket router. Whenever you’re traveling or simply at a cafe, getting online becomes so easy as all your devices can use this USB-stick-sized router. Whether only WiFi or wired LAN is available, the pocket router creates your own private network and allows speedy cross-device communication, making it extra useful in staying connected anywhere.
- Virtual hotspot with your laptop (free to $30): There are two programs that work very well: Thinix WiFi Hotspot and Connectify. Connectify Hotspot lets you share your computer’s internet connection with other devices over WiFi. As long as your computer is online, your other nearby devices—and those of your friends and colleagues—will be, too.
Each of these connectivity options should contain a degree of encryption on its own. However, a virtual private network, such as Hotspot Shield VPN, is a free option that can encrypt all your wireless communications.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.