One of the news features introduced with the Verizon iPhone is personal hotspot. Personal hotspot allows you to connect up to 5 devices to Verizon's 3G network through your iPhone 4 via Wi-Fi. Watch the video above for a quick look at how to connect a Mac and iPad to Wi-Fi with personal hotspot.
Connecting with Wi-Fi personal hotspot is a breeze. After enabling it in the iPhone 4's settings, you just find the network with the device you want to connect with, enter in the password, and you're good to go. Check out our tip on how to use Wi-Fi personal hotspot for more details and follow on after the break to see how it works...
So, personal hotspot is easy and convenient, but is it fast? Absolutely. I am very impressed with how quickly websites load on both my MacBook and iPad while connected with Wi-Fi personal hotspot on Verizon's 3G network. I was expecting much slower results. Ally's doing speed tests so check back soon for more details on the exact numbers,
Personal hotspot does make an impact on the iPhone 4's battery. In 20 minutes, I lost 7% battery life while connected to my MacBook. Because of this, when using a device that can double as a power source for your iPhone, like a laptop, I recommend doing so. You might think this defeats the purpose of Wi-Fi and doesn't make it any different than tethering via USB - the speeds are comparable. However, the biggest advantage to Wi-Fi personal hotspot over USB tethering is the ability to connect devices like iPads or other mobile phones that don't have USB ports. Additionally, Wi-Fi personal hotspot allows the connection of up to 5 devices at once. So if one device is helping power your iPhone that still leaves room for up to 4 others over Wi-Fi.
Personal Hotspot requires a 3G Mobile Hotspot plan on Verizon and is an additional $20 on top of your required voice and data plans. This plan includes a separate 2GB reserved just for 3G Mobile Hotspot and if you exceed 2GB, it'll cost you an extra $20.
Because Verizon's CDMA EVDO Rev A network is incapable of handling voice and data simultaneously, the personal hotspot connection will be unavailable for the duration of any incoming and outgoing phone calls. You can ignore calls and continue using data but if you accept a call, the data gets paused. Once the call is ended, personal hotspot will automatically reconnect.
As of now, Wi-Fi personal hotspot is not available on AT&T, but it has been announced that the feature will indeed be available soon, but no dates have been given yet, and it will require an iOS 4.3 update. However, AT&T does offer tethering over USB and Bluetooth.