people working open office

How To Setup an Office Hotspot

Setting up a mobile hotspot is easier than you might think. It doesn’t require anything above basic computer and keyboard skills. While setting up zones and other filters on a Wi-Fi router that acts as the entry point for an internet connection can be complex even for experienced users. Setting up mobile hotspot either uses a built in touchscreen or a simple web browser interface on a PC or Mac. Here’s the guide on how to setup an office hotspot.

It might raise the question “Why bother?” when you already have a network running through the router. Yet the answer is important. As well as the setting up of guest access being above the capabilities for many, giving out your company router password to everyone is a very dangerous and insecure thing to do.

Before You Start

Empty meeting room in office

Firstly, you’ll need an unlocked mobile hotspot device. A side note, if the hotspot is locked to a carrier, only a data plan from that carrier will work. Then, complete the very brief setup instructions based on the device you choose.

If you are looking for some recommendations, we can help! When choosing a mobile hotspot there are a few factors to consider. Like, how many devices can connect at once? How long will the battery last? How fast should it be? Coming up with a quick list will make decision making easier! Here are some mobile hotspots that can do the job.

1. Netgear NightHawk Mobile Router

Netgeat NightHawk Mobile Hotspot

This is one of the more advanced mobile hotspots on the market. The Nighthawk would be perfect for larger offices that will have more traffic. This mobile hotspot supports up to 20 devices at once and download speeds up to 1Gbps. An important feature the Nighthawk provides is its large battery, a 5040mAh Li-ion battery, with 24 hours of use.

2. Netgear Unite Explore Mobile Hotspot

Netgear Unite Explore hotspot

The Netgear Unite Explore mobile hotspot unique feature is its MIL-STD 810 compliance. The hotspot can withstand drops on the floor. In addition, it is dust proof, waterproof and can survive more extreme temperatures. The Unite Explore has a 4340mAh battery that can last up to 20 hours. We cannot forget to mention, it connect up to 15 devices with 450Mbps of download speed.

3. Netgear Unite Pro

Netgear Unite Pro hotspot

Simpler than the other mentioned hotspots, the Netgear Unite Pro is still a powerful device. Like the Unite Explore, it can connect up to 15 devices with 150Mbps of download speed. It can last up to 16 hours with is 4020mAh removable battery. The Unite Pro also as a built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network) with the WPA2 protocol.

Which Data Plan?

people in meeting making a plan

All major US carriers have a wide choice of data plans. Some are quite reasonably priced, others can be expensive.

A little bit of searching though, brings a whole swathe of monthly plans offering data for as little as $60 a month. Although that may sound hefty for individual users, as a business expense it really isn’t very much at all. It is probably the cheapest benefit-in-kind that you could offer employees. As well as the benefit in goodwill it can bring from customers and visitors.

All the carriers have a multiple options available to choose from. But for our purposes, we’ll be picking the largest data plans for office use.

1. AT&T

At&t logo

AT&T offers 100GB of data monthly for $55, follow the link to find out more! This data plan is perfect for bigger offices with more traffic.

2. Verizon

Verizon logo

For $65 a month, Verizon offers a 30GB prepaid data plan. Technically, its $70 but they offer a $5 discount to those who enroll in auto pay.

3. T-mobile

t-mobile logo

T-Mobile offers 50GB of data for $50 a month. Just like Verizon, they give a discount with auto pay. In addition, if this data plan is combined with an existing phone plan they offer even more discounts!

Setting Up The Hotspot

desk with papers glasses mug

Finally, we can get to the important part of how to setup a office hotspot, the actual setup! Most mobile hotspots come with setup being in one of two ways, either by a touchscreen on the device itself, or via any web browser. Whichever hotspot you choose, unless you decide to change them at a later date, you’ll only need to set it up once. You don’t have to worry about it from that point on. Our advice would be to change the password regularly for any mobile hotspot used in a business environment. That is in order to stop ex-employees or other previous users loitering outside in the car park and using your connection for free!

Usually, setup can be of just giving your new network a name and password. Yes, really, it’s that simple.

Of course, it’s likely you’ll need more than that. For example, you might want to separate staff and visitor access. This can be done by activating not just the main access settings, but also a Guest network access login. Both sides of the network can be individually setup to provide restrictions as you see fit.

Some Setup Quirks

Netgear Unite Express 2 hotspot

You may need to use a browser to setup your office mobile hotspot. Then you will need to connect via the manufacturer’s website in order to harness the full power of the device. It still isn’t complicated, and the instructions are available for the manufacturers’ website. But this does mean that you need an internet connection to do the initial setup or to make changes later.

Depending on the manufacturer, you may also need the APN (Access Point Name) for your chosen SIM provider. Again, these are readily available from the carrier website, and often simply by Googling  “[carrier name] APN”. The APN is usually no more than an address similar to a normal website address. So it really is nothing complicated.

Other than that, there’s little to do. Even if you do wish to get your hands dirty with the deeper nuts and bolts of the setup, the process has been designed to be done quickly and simply. That is true whether through a browser or on the device itself. If your hotspot does have a touchscreen, the benefit of its compact size means that each screen is well thought out. It will guide you as well through each stage easily.

To Summarize

four people on office computers

The setup of any office mobile hotspot device is as simple as that. Even at it’s most complex, it still doesn’t go beyond a few quick steps.

Once setup is finished, users can login in the same way they would to their home network. They do so by using the details provided by you. Carrier network speeds allowing, your hotspot will work effortlessly alongside your main office network. It will likely pay for itself every month in goodwill alone.

For a few dollars, your visitors and customers will thank you, and your employees will be grateful. At the push of a button, a hotspot can even double up as a backup external WAN access point. This way your office can keep running if the regular network goes out. Where else could you get even the most basic connection backup for such a small outlay?

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