Tethering has been around for years. The process allows a smartphone to share its data connection with other devices, including laptops, tablets and even other smartphones. Despite having existed for years, it’s really only begun to gain popularity over the last half decade. Part of this has been caused by advances in technology that allow for wireless tethering, while part of it is due to the popularity of the iPhone and Android devices. When the iPhone and several Android phones started to become ubiquitous, consumers outside of the tech world began to really see the benefits of tethering.
Major cellular carriers also made a gradual transition into offering tethering options. With official support and multiple ways to connect devices, tethering is now more popular than ever. For many people, though, there is a big question mark as to whether it’s worth it.
Although tethering has become an option for those needing Internet access when they’re on the go, there are still a few hurdles that a person needs to clear in order to tether. Setting up tethering can require calling the carrier and adding it to a person’s cell phone plan. This is a move that usually costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 per month, and the extra cost just might not be worth it to some people.
Options for free tethering require iPhone users to jailbreak their devices and for Android owners to root their phones. For people who aren’t familiar with the process, jailbreaking and rooting is enough of a hassle to stop them from setting up tethering.
With that said, most of the hassle that comes from tethering is only experienced once. If a person can live with the extra charge on their bill, then calling the carrier to activate tethering on their device isn’t too problematic. For those who choose to go with the free tethering route, jailbreaking and rooting are similar to calling the carrier: It might take some time to accomplish, but it only has to be dealt with once. After a phone is set up for it, tethering is as simple as launching an app.
It might not be an option for those who need to run web hosting services from their home, but those who simply need to access email or browse the web will find that tethering is a lifesaver in some instances. Because the hassles associated with tethering are a one-time experience, the answer for most people is that yes, tethering is worth it.