Tethering: How to Limit Data Usage

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were in dire need of an Internet connection?  I’ve been there myself quite a few times.  Whether it’s to submit an assignment at the last minute or email a project to your manager, it can be beneficial to have a smartphone that has the ability to provide internet access to a tablet or computer.  This technology is called tethering.

At Republic Wireless, we’re excited to offer tethering with our phones.  This is just in time for summer when there will be lots of traveling, enjoying days in the sun at the beach, and hanging out with friends.  Whenever you aren’t near a public WiFi network, you can save the day by turning your phone into a portable hotspot and provide internet access everywhere.

In order to tether on your Republic Wireless phone, you must have a Refund plan that includes cell data and your phone must be operating on Android Version 5.1 (a.k.a. Lollipop). You’ll also have the option to tether with our new Clear Choice plans when they are available.  Now that we have discussed what is needed for tethering let’s talk about how to tether and some useful tips to limit data usage.

There are three ways to tether: USB, Portable WiFi Hotspot, and Bluetooth. Now, we’ll go over the steps to setup tethering on your phone for each method.

To set up USB tethering:

  1. From your Republic Wireless app, select the icon for Settings.
  2. Tap Cell Data settings.
  3. Tap Mobile Hotspot.
  4. Tap USB tethering.  (The switch to the right should illuminate green.)

Note:  You must have a USB cable in order to use this method. USB tethering does not work over a WiFi connection.  This only applies to sharing a cell data connection.

To setup Portable WiFi Hotspot:

  1. From your Republic Wireless App, select the icon for Settings.
  2. Tap Cell Data settings.
  3. Tap Mobile Hotspot.
  4. Tap Set up WiFi Hotspot.
    • Input your own Network Name
    • Make sure your security is set to WPA2-PSK.
    • Select your Broadcast Channel.
    • Create your own Password. Tip: Place a check in the box next to Show password in order to make the password visible.
    • Tap Save.
  5. Tap Portable WiFi Hotspot (The switch to the right should illuminate green.)

To setup Bluetooth tethering:

  1. From your Republic Wireless App, select the icon for Settings.
  2. Tap Cell Data settings.
  3. Tap Mobile Hotspot.
  4. Tap Bluetooth tethering (The switch to the right should illuminate green).

Ok, so your phone is now set up to tether and you’re ready to connect your laptop to your phone. Once your laptop or other network phones are connected, make sure you are taking the right measures to decrease the usage of data.

The following helpful tips will show you how to keep your data in check when tethering.

Set Metered Connections

The very first thing you should do to reduce the data usage when tethering is to set your connection as a metered connection*.  By doing so, you can set the amount of data usage that is used.  In addition to setting a metered connection, we advise turning off any apps that are running in the background and disabling PC syncing which may perform actions that will also gobble up your data.

*For Windows 8, 8.1, and 10, click here. For Mac, there are unfortunately no options within the operating system for setting a metered connection, however there are third party apps in the App Store that can help with setting a metered connection.

Browse Responsibly

Another useful tip to reduce data usage is choosing a browser that doesn’t eat up all of your bandwidth from downloading images.  Google Chrome and Opera are great options that allow you to disable the download of images, browser updates, and videos from playing automatically.  These two browsers use extensions and other free features that will help you reduce the amount of data usage that is used when connecting your phone to your laptop or other network phones.

Disable images in Chrome:

Select Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content settings… > Images > Do not show any images

Activate click-to-run plugins:

Select Show advanced settings > Privacy > Content settings… > Plug-ins > Click to play

Monitor Data Usage

An additional tip is to watch your activity while web browsing.  Streaming music and videos, as well as downloading large files can burn through your data very quickly.  Therefore, it is best to avoid doing these while tethering.  Disabling cloud services such as Google Drive and/or Dropbox will also help to decrease the amount of data usage.

Tethering Checklist

We have put together a small checklist that will help when you need to use your phone to provide internet access to your laptop or other phones.  This checklist may be of assistance when running into any issues with tethering.

  1. Make sure you’re on a Refund plan that supports cell data and have a Lollipop phone.
  2. Make sure the cellular strength is strong enough for tethering.
  3. Make sure tether is set up using one of the three methods.
  4. Make sure you limit data usage so that you will not use up all of your data.

We Gon Save Dat Money!

With Republic Wireless, there is no additional cost when using this new feature.  You can save that extra monthly fee that other providers may charge, in order to use this service.  With this new ability on your phone and a little extra money in your pocket, we are hoping it will help you to enjoy your summer.

Happy Tethering!

Now you can use your Republic Wireless phone to connect other devices to the world wide web! If after going through this checklist and you are still experiencing issues, please reach out to our support team for further assistance by clicking here.

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  • bitflung

    so… how do you:
    1. set metered connections?
    2. configure chrome/opera to not download updates or images?
    3. set an alarm or similar to best monitor data usage?

  • Nieves Montana

    This is helpful, thanks! I am also grateful that the policy on tethering changed; it has already saved my hide on a couple of occasions!

  • Tuttleman

    Hey Larry, great article. But in your stream of directions to turn on tethering, you might want to amend steps one and two. 1) Republic App 2)Settings, then 3)”Cell Data Settings” to get to the Mobile Hotspot setting. The 62% will never find it. Thanks

    • Laurie King Urbanoski

      I almost didn’t.

  • Rob Chang

    Not having to pay for tethering is awesome! I work remotely and had to travel for a bit so I was able to use my phone on the Outer Banks to work half a day and then be on vacation! Thanks RW!

    Looking forward to more updates on the big initiatives…supposed to be one a week right? I don’t think there’s been one since May 10?

    • https://republicwireless.com/ Shannon O

      Hi Rob, glad to hear you’re excited about what’s to come! We’re done making all of our big announcements weekly. Now you’ll be updated with our Product Recap blogs. Teaser: We will have a surprise in the next few weeks!

  • Vincent Simon

    So this is an article on saving data usage, and you tell us to “Set as Metered connection”, but you don’t ell us HOW.

  • Marlene Altman

    THANK YOU! RW is always watching our wallet for us – a big SHOUT OUT TO REPUBLIC WIRELESS! Yay!!!

  • Laurie King Urbanoski

    I have a moto e. How do I turn on web search when on cell.

    • Doug McGraw

      unless on WiFi it’s not possible
      CDMA does not have the feature
      Even the second Gen can’t do this with LTE due to how Spark Network works (hijacks the CDMA radio for better speeds on LTE but loses all data when CDMA is used for calling
      (only the Moto X 1st Gen could do this with a LTE network )

      • Laurie King Urbanoski

        How do I turn on web search when on cel tower. When I’m in the car riding down the road and I want to go on Facebook I can’t because I don’t know how to get on the web when on cel tower.

        • Doug McGraw

          Make a sure you have cell data,
          1.0 plans that’s the $25 or $40 plans
          2.0 that’s the base plus data or an data add on to the base p,an.

          T hen make sure data is turn on in the Republic app->cell bar icon top center the slider should be blue when enabled [while the scroll down to chrome and enable data for that app if not already turn on]
          Then make sure data is on in the settings/data usage

          Open TG he chrome app ant you should be good to go