USB Tethering Vs Hotspot – Which is Faster

In USB tethering a USB cable is used to transmit internet signals from a mobile device to a computer system. Internet that is transmitted through cable is usually fast and quite reliable when compared to mobile hotspots that share with a connected computer through LAN or Wi-Fi.

USB tethering is among the most reliable methods of sharing a phone’s internet especially when you are in a remote location or in an area where Wi-Fi signals are not available. Back in the day before the discovery of the mobile hotspot devices, USB tethering allowed us to access the internet with our laptops without necessarily having to plug into a landline, and from different locations.

At the moment USB tethering seems traditional but still convenient nonetheless, besides not everyone is into the mobile hotspots and the Wi-Fi craze. Some people prefer to use the USB tethering option; so, it’s all about likes and what you are most comfortable with.

What are the differences between USB tethering and Hotspot?

USB tethering
Offers faster internet speeds
The internet speeds are slow
Uses a mobile device and a USB cable
Only a mobile device needed
Necessary for extended use
Good for short term use
Limited to the USB cable
Not limited

USB Tethering vs Hotspot – How do they compare

Battery usage

Now, this is the first advantage of tethering as you are sure that your phone won’t be going off anytime soon because the connection to the computer also allows charging. In essence, therefore, is that tethering uses less battery when compared to Hotspot which uses more battery, meaning that you must have a charger close-by.

If you want to understand battery usage in relation to internet activities, observe how your phone’s battery, behaves when connected and when not connected to the internet. You will realize that the bars or percentage diminishes faster, the same happens to the hotspots and the reason why USB tethering is better, as it keeps charging the battery thus keeps you connected for hours.

Data usage

Both tethering and hotspot use a lot of data, here is why? A mobile hotspot uses a lot of data more especially if you are engaged in bandwidth-intensive activities, now here is the catch, did you know that most carriers offer a mobile hotspot allowance of about 10GB, and the moment you use it all up then whatever internet you have left in your device will diminish with great speeds.

Tethered internet connection is faster when compared to mobile hotspot but when compared to normal browsing on your phone, it is way slower. Now let’s get the facts straight here, when you browse the internet through your laptop, you use a lot of data, what’s more, is that tethered internet connection tends to be slow but will also eat on your tethered data faster.

So as regards data usage both USB tethering and Hotspot consume a lot of data, but it is better to use the hotspot because even when your hotspot allowance is finished, you will still be able to use data without incurring any extra charges but you must brace yourself for the slow speeds.

Hardware and connectivity

Technology and innovation seek to get rid of cabling and the little hardware devices, used in networking and that is why we have the mobile hotspot device, we have Mifi and the Aircard. The above are the portable options that will ensure you stay connected while on the move. USB tethering, on the other hand, cannot be successful without the presence of a USB cable.

Well, the above could be quite hectic if by any chance you don’t have the relevant USB cable to help complete the connection from your phone to the computer device. Hotspotting on the other hand is quite easy because all you need is the mobile hotspot and all the internet-enabled devices are connected.

Achieving an internet connection with a mobile hotspot is easy and fast mainly because there is no media in between. Besides, by using the cable it means that the connectivity range is limited when compared to using a hotspot where users can maintain a decent distance and still enjoy the connection.

USB tethering vs. Hotspot – A comparison overview

USB Tethering Overview

USB Tethering

Tethering over USB is reliably fast but remember that you might need to configure your driver or software for internet sharing. But once you achieve the connection you can be sure of staying online for extended hours because your phone will equally maintain its battery power through charging by using the USB cable.

To better understand the concept of tethering is that it uses the Network Address Translation for internet sharing, now the device that is sharing the internet usually has a public IP while the devices that are connected through tether have private IPs.


  • Provides fast and reliable internet connection
  • Easy to set up
  • Can be used for extended hours.
  • Tethering helps save on battery


  • Cannot work without a high-speed internet connection
  • Tethering is dependent on the USB cable

Hotspot Overview


The advantage of hot-spotting is that you can turn your smart phone or computer into a hotspot. Mobile hotspots are portable, allow connectivity to a predetermined range, and can accommodate many devices to their network. The mobile hotspots are best used when the user is always on the move but must be connected to the internet.

Important to note is that hotspots consume a lot of data, and you could incur more charges if you were to use the device internationally.


  • The mobile hotspot can be easily accessed by the internet-enabled devices
  • Hotspots are portable
  • Limits users within their data plan
  • Offers greater range coverage


  • Hotspot consume a lot of data
  • Some carriers are not exactly reliable

Verdict: So, which is better, USB tethering or Hotspot

Hotspot is better because it accommodates many devices and is easy to set up and use on the go.


  1. Does mobile hotspot use a lot of data?

Yes, data consumption will be high with regards to the number of connected devices and the activities going on, whether they are bandwidth-intensive or not.

  1. Is tethering safe?

Yes, tethering is totally safe because both devices are connected using a cable.

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