Sluggish Wi-Fi hotspot? Changing one Android setting can make a big difference

Changing a easy setting might allow you to higher share your cellphone’s 4G or 5G reference to others. 

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Using your cellphone as a hotspot offers you an web connection anyplace, and one that is far safer than utilizing free public Wi-Fi. But in case you have an Android cellphone, you may not be getting the quickest speeds you can, which implies that web sites in your laptop computer or pill, for instance, load a lot slower than they may. 

Testing out Sprint and Verizon’s 5G networks in Chicago in 2019, I used to be curious to see what would occur when sharing the speedy connections with a 4G-limited iPhone over Wi-Fi. While the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G on Sprint pulled in pretty constant obtain speeds between 100 and 200Mbps all through the day (and an S10 5G on Verizon getting between 400Mbps and 800Mbps) the iPhone was having a exhausting time getting previous 30Mbps. 

So what offers? After confirming with Samsung and the carriers that no one was capping speeds, and testing different units together with the OnePlus 7 Pro ($987 at Amazon) and LG V50 ThinQ 5G, it appeared that the problem lies in an Android setting that has Wi-Fi hotspots broadcast Wi-Fi over a slower 2.4GHz frequency, as a substitute of the a lot sooner 5GHz. 

Switching to 5GHz on the cellular hotspot, I noticed obtain speeds leap. After struggling earlier to interrupt the 30Mbps barrier over Wi-Fi, switching each Sprint and Verizon’s S10 5G hotspot settings allowed the iPhone XS Max ($850 at Best Buy) to get speeds above 300Mbps on every service’s respective 5G community.  

While this was in 2019, you can nonetheless be encountering the identical concern in 2021 with 2.4GHz because the default hotspot setting.

Connecting an iPhone 12 Pro Max to a Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G on T-Mobile’s 5G community in New York noticed obtain speeds of 33.6Mbps over 2.4GHz. A fast change to 5GHz almost tripled the throughput, boosting the connection to 116Mbps in the identical location. 

Here’s the best way to make the change in your units. 

Table of Contents

Why is there a difference? 

As with mobile 5G, there are a lot of completely different flavors of Wi-Fi and a few frequencies that can be used. The 2.4GHz band is nice for pushing the Wi-Fi sign to distances removed from the router, although it does so at slower speeds and is extra vulnerable to interference from different units like cordless telephones, child displays and even microwaves. 

The 5GHz band (often known as 5G) is far sooner and operates with much less interference, although its vary is way shorter. 

Because nothing is ever easy, for this reason your router at house could present 2G and 5G variations of your community, although these Wi-Fi networks are completely different from the 5G being deployed by wi-fi carriers. In quick, when at house use your router’s 5GHz connection when out there for the quickest speeds, notably on units like 4K TVs or recreation consoles. 


When streaming to a 4K TV attempt to use 5GHz Wi-Fi when out there. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Given that, in lots of instances, your cellphone might be pretty near the machine you are connecting to, the vary limitations of 5GHz should not be a lot of a problem. 

Most trendy units are able to connecting to Wi-Fi on both band, although some older units solely acknowledge 2.4GHz which is why it will make sense for it to be the default possibility. 

Here’s the way you can make certain your cellphone’s hotspot broadcasts in 5GHz. We give examples for 3 completely different producers, however in case you have a completely different Android cellphone that helps 5GHz the steps must be fairly comparable. 

Samsung telephones

Step 1. Go to Settings.

Step 2. Tap Connections after which Mobile Hotspot and Tethering.

Step 3. Click on Mobile Hotspot after which faucet on the three dots within the higher righthand nook. 

Step 4. Tap on Configure Mobile Hotspot. This allows you to change the community title and Wi-Fi password in your hotspot, however scroll down and choose Show superior choices.

Step 5. Select Use 5GHz band when out there or 5GHz most well-liked.


Selecting the 5GHz band will enable for a lot sooner hotspot sharing. 

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

LG telephones

Step 1. Go to Settings.

Step 2. Choose Tethering.

Step 3. Tap Wi-Fi hotspot then click on on Set up Wi-Fi hotspot.

Step 4. In the pop-up that seems, scroll down and click on on Show superior choices.

Step 5. Switch from the preselected 2.4GHz Band to 5GHz Band.

OnePlus telephones

Step 1. Go to Settings.

Step 2. Choose Wi-Fi & web or Wi-Fi & community.

Step 3. Select Hotspot & tethering adopted by Wi-Fi hotspot.

Step 4. Under AP Band, change 2.4GHz Band to 5GHz Band.

What about iOS? If you’ve got an iPhone 12 it can default to the 5GHz band except you activate Maximize Compatibility within the Personal Hotspot part of Settings (as noticed by YouTuber Aaron Zollo). Apple in any other case does not enable iPhone customers to alter which band Wi-Fi is broadcast on by means of iOS’ Personal Hotspot characteristic.

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