Hotspot services first hit the market in 2004 in the form of cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Microsoft also introduced the earliest smartwatch – Microsoft SPOT – in 2004. Between 2016 and 2022, global wi-fi hotspots reached about 362 million. Did smartwatches contribute to the increased consumption of wi-fi hotspots?
All smartwatches do not have Wi-Fi hotspots. Although a smartwatch will most likely connect via a hotspot, its design does not allow you to use it as the source of the hotspot. Otherwise, the small smartwatch battery would drain in minutes. Smartwatches have low processors and simple wi-fi radio firmware that makes hotspots impossible.
Maybe you want to hotspot your devices from the convenience of a smartwatch. However, smartwatches have numerous hardware and firmware limitations that cannot sustain a hotspot. But do all smartwatches have a hotspot? Which smartwatch has a hotspot? These are some of the questions I will answer in this article.
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Why can’t I use my smartwatch as a hotspot?
The worldwide increase in the consumption of wi-fi hotspots is due to the increasing number of smartphone users. Unlike smartwatches which connect to wi-fi hotspots, smartphones and routers are the primary sources of hotspots. But if a smartwatch is a tiny computer or a mini smartphone, shouldn’t it also have a hotspot?
Here are some of the reasons you cannot use your smartwatch as a hotspot:
Hotspots consume a lot of power
Enabling a hotspot emits signals for searching and connecting to nearby wireless devices. Once connected, there is constant back and forth data sharing between the paired devices.
Maintaining the wi-fi hotspot signals and connections requires a lot of battery power. Otherwise, a hotspot could drain the tiny smartwatch battery in minutes. But as battery technology advances, we expect to see smartwatches that provide the hotspot service.
A smartwatch has a small antenna
Like wi-fi routers, smartwatches require an antenna for internet connectivity. Router antennas can reach anywhere between one and eight miles because they are extensive and sophisticated.
On the contrary, smartwatch antennas are smaller and less efficient. In addition, smartwatch wi-fi antennas are designed to connect to wi-fi hotspots and not emit wi-fi signals.
Apple Watch Series 7’s dual-core processor runs at about 1.8GHz. The Fitbit Versa 3 can clock up to 120MHz. To push wi-fi signals through a hotspot for long distances, a device’s processor should clock at least 2.4GHz.
Therefore, low smartwatch processing power contributes significantly to smartwatches not having a hotspot. Nevertheless, their processors are powerful enough to connect to wi-fi hotspots from smartphones.
No cellular service
Any gadget that produces a wi-fi hotspot should have cellular service. For example, your phone’s cellular service allows you to subscribe to a data plan. Afterward, you can open your phone’s hotspot and use the data elsewhere.
However, standalone smartwatches with e-sims or micro-sims can have a different data plan. Nevertheless, standalone smartwatches can not share their data plan through a hotspot. The cellular service is meant for calls, music streaming, and other apps on your smartwatch. Similarly, smartwatches without a cellular service cannot work as a hotspot.
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Does smartwatch have hotspot?
No, smartwatches do not have hotspot support yet.no matter which smartwatch you have it does not include hotspot feature. But a hotspot feature may come on the upcoming smartwatches. In my opinion wear os will be first OS that can launch this feature
It is essential to note the difference between creating a hotspot with a smartwatch and connecting a smartwatch to a hotspot. The former is not impossible. It is a piece of technology whose time has not yet come to the wearable domain, partly due to the slow integration of modern batteries into smartwatches.
However, many smartwatches in the market can detect and connect to wi-fi hotspots. Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch Series 7, the Apple Watch SE, and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 can connect to the internet via cellular data or Wi-Fi.
The smartwatches can detect and connect to wi-fi hotspots within a 30 feet range. However, there is no way to share their data plans with third-party devices. Get yourself a cellular smartwatch if you want to stay online with your watch without relying on the phone’s cellular service. It would be best to hotspot your smartwatch from an iPhone or an iPad because they have relatively bigger batteries.
How to connect a smartwatch to a Wi-Fi hotspot
Most smartwatches today are compatible with Android and iOS devices. Connecting your smartwatch to a Wi-Fi hotspot involves turning on your smartphone or router’s wi-fi.
Afterward, follow these steps to connect your smartwatch to the hotspot:
- Access your smartwatch’s menu
- Tap Settings
- Scroll down and tap Connectivity
- Tap Wi-Fi
- Switch Wi-Fi connectivity to Automatic
- Tap Add network and choose your preferred Wi-Fi network
- You will be prompted to enter the Wi-Fi password on the phone (Tap Enter on phone).
- Tap Connect
Once your smartwatch has connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, it will save the credentials for automatic connections in the future. Connecting a smartwatch to wi-fi allows you to use the smartwatch without a phone. For instance, you can initiate or receive calls on your wrist. Cellular smartwatches also allow you to receive app notifications on your wrist and upload any generated health and fitness data to the cloud instantly.
You cannot use a smartwatch to create a wi-fi hotspot for your smartphone or laptop. However, you can create a hotspot with a router or smartphone and pair your smartwatch.
Smartwatch batteries and processors have a lower performance. They cannot initiate and sustain a hotspot. In short, it is not your fault that a smartwatch does not offer a hotspot service. The problem is a result of hardware and firmware limitations.