What is it? A device about the size of a credit card (depending on make and model) that provides Internet access to areas that do not have it.
How does it work? The device draws on a wireless provider’s mobile network. The hotspot connects to the specific network, then provides an access point to any other device equipped with WiFi.
Most mobile hotspots are sold with a service plan from one of the major wireless networks such as Verizon. Providers such as Virgin and Boost, however, offer mobile hotspots on a pay-as-you-go basis.
How hard is it to use? They are not very difficult to use, especially those that are attached to a monthly service plan. Users first must power the device on and adjust their security settings. Once that’s accomplished, they will be ready to connect.
How well does it work? Some work better than others, with a lot depending on the network. For instance, the 4G LTE network offered by Verizon is brilliant in terms of performance, but is not as widely available as its 3G network.
How do I use it in the classroom? Teachers can bring Internet connectivity into classrooms without getting involved in wiring projects. While there is some cost involved, pay-as-you-go options make mobile hotspots a viable solution for teachers with limited Internet access.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.