Maria is looking to get her first smartphone with T-Mobile. She wants to know if she can use her phone's WiFi with her laptop. Leo says yes, she can connect the laptop to the smartphone and use the phone's "hotspot mode." But it may cost extra. About $10 a month. And even if she has unlimited data, hot-spotting may come with a bandwidth cap. So check the fine print. T-Mobile also has home internet. That would be faster and far better
Jan and her husband bought an RV and want to know how to get online while traveling. Leo says there are three ways. 1) There will probably be Wi-Fi at any campground or RV park she can stop at. But it will likely be overloaded and slow. 2) She can hotspot from the cellular carrier. She can open up a phone for it or pick up a MiFi card to handle multiple devices. It'll be dependent on the coverage map though. Lastly, she can get an RV satellite connection. The problem there is they have to re-aim it every time they stop, and they will not work while they drive.
Randy from Las Vegas called in to say that he uses Straight Talk from Walmart because he can specifiy which cellular network to ride on. He also discusses the relevant film Nomadland with Leo, which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
John is traveling around the country in his RV and he has been using his hotspot for internet access and streaming video. But he went through his Spectrum/Verizon 5GB cellular data cap in about three days. Leo says that hotspot data caps have always been limited. T-Mobile has a residential service that has no bandwidth caps or limits. And why wouldn't his RV count if he can live in it? But he should probably call to make sure he can do that.
Jessie wants to know if hotspotting on her phone costs her more money. Leo says it depends on your carrier, but most are including it in the overall service now. It will count against your data though. Even if you have unlimited data, after a set amount, the data bandwidth may slow down.
Jeff wants to know how to create a hotspot. Leo says you can tether from your mobile device. What about security? Leo says you can set a password in your hotspot settings. There's an ellipsis (...), and you click on that and choose change password.
Jeff bought an Senior 55 unlimited plan from T-Mobile, but his data plan is extremely slow. Leo says it's likely unlimited because you get 3G data access, not 4G/LTE. But he's not getting hotspot mode, because it constantly disconnects. Leo says that hotspotting with your laptop is never going to be as good as direct connection. Your phone's connection may go to sleep, dropping the hotspot.
David has a vacation home and has WiFi cameras in it to view remotely. His problem is that when the service goes down, it could be days before it gets repaired. Could he use a cellphone and TING? Leo says that cellphones can be used as a "hotspot" and they can use their data plan to reach you when you need to view it. The question is, would TING let you do that? Other mobile services do, but they charge you and cameras use a lot of bandwidth. So check to see if they only work on movement. In principle, that could work.
When Tony goes camping with his RV, he'd like to broadcast YouTube TV from his phone to his TV. Leo says that in theory, Chromecast will work because he's connected via WiFi. However, it requires being on the same WiFi network, so if the phone is using WiFi, it can't really do that because he will need internet for the Chromecast. Getting a "MyFi" router may be the solution, but it would have a separate cellular connection. But the good news is, it also has its own bandwidth data allotment. Get a MyFi from your carrier, then the phone can join that, and the Chromecast can be on it.
Alan is trying to cut the cord on his internet. He wants to know if he can use Bluetooth with his music service. Leo says no, Bluetooth only works up to 30 feet away. He could cut the cable, but he'll still need to pay for internet access somehow. He could rely on his phone's internet access and stream his music from there. He could also put his phone in "hotspot" mode and run the laptop through that.