hotspots

Can I use my phone data plan with my laptop?

Verizon JetPack

Episode 1503

Brett from Fontana, CA

Brett needs to connect his laptop to his phone and use it as a hotspot. Leo says that the iPhone does have a hotspot mode, but some carriers will want to charge him for the privilege. He can enable it in the phone's cellular settings. Then he can connect his laptop to his phone via Wi-Fi. This will be impacting his data plan though, so he should keep that in mind. But if his connection keeps dropping, that sounds like an issue with the laptop.

Is there an Android app that could simplify the process of logging onto public Wi-Fi?

LastPass on mobile

Episode 1457

Gary from Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Leo says there's a new feature in Android Oreo 8.1 — it will let you know how fast a Wi-Fi access point is before joining it. Leo says any password vault should enter his password into the web portal when he signs in. Leo prefers using password vaults to any mechanism offered by the browser or phone itself. Password vaults will remember all of his passwords, and on Android, it will actually fill in the password automatically.

Why can't I connect to the internet on my laptops in Windows?

Wi-Fi

Episode 1452

John from Biddeford, ME

John is having problems with two Windows laptops (one 8.1 and one Windows 10). They will connect to the hotspots, but they won't connect to the internet. Leo says that's called "captive portal" and it requires logging in to gain access. It could also be a security update that is preventing it. It could be closing down a port that he needs to access the internet. He could try reinstalling the network driver.

How can I be safe using a Wi-Fi hotspot?

Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1430

Joe from New Jersey

Joe wants to know about the Tiny Hardware Firewall. Leo says it's a clever solution for those who want to use open Wi-Fi hotspots safely. Tiny Hardware Firewall will give him an additional layer of protection by encrypting all of his Wi-Fi traffic with a virtual private network. Leo adds that it also adds another layer called the Black Hole Cloud service which gives users their own cloud server. This makes it lightning fast. The Tiny Hardware Firewall is about $35, plus a fee for their VPN, which could be about $100 a year.

Why do I have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi on my phone?

Wi-Fi

Episode 1392

Barney from New York City, NY

Barney travels a lot. When he gets to a hotel, he has trouble connecting to the local Wi-Fi network. It doesn't always work. Leo says that mobile devices use a system called "captive portal," where it goes to a middle man (usually the hardware company) and then connects in order to agree to the terms and conditions. It can take up to a few minutes for that to happen too, depending on the traffic. Most are impatient and give up. It really comes down to sitting and waiting. Barney can also try going to the Safari app and typing in "captive.apple.com," which may trigger it.

How can I safely use a hotspot?

Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1362

Frederick from Detroit, MI

Frederick uses an open access port with his iPhone but it always asks him to sign in. Leo says that's called a captive portal, which is done when using a hotspot. He needs to activate the portal. He should point his browser to 1.1.1.1. Or he can choose to "forget" the Wi-Fi access point. That will reset it and then he can sign back in. Leo actually recommends getting a travel router like the Tiny Hardware Firewall to protect him.

How can I be secure online during a cruise?

Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1326

Jim from Colorado

Jim is about to go on a river cruise and he's concerned with security when using Wi-Fi on the ship. Leo advises using the Tiny Hardware Firewall. It's a hardware firewall that can protect up to five devices because it uses a built in VPN that protects him. It will slow it down a bit, and the internet is slow on those cruise Wi-Fi hotspots, but it will keep him clean from the last mile.