I have been using the personal hotspot feature on my iPhone for about two months now, and it’s one of the “greatest things since sliced bread.” 🙂 I’m sitting in a hotel in Charlotte right now at the Southeast Regional Educause meeting, doing a bit of email and general web surfing. Downstairs the conference provides nice WiFi, but it doesn’t reach the 9th floor. I could go down to the meeting room floor, but it’s much more comfortable to have a desk and a regular chair to sit and type. I fired up the iPhone, opened up the MacBook (and authenticated WPA2), and it’s good to go. Yes, I brought my MacBook instead of just bringing the iPad, since I thought I was going to have to work on some slides, but one of my co-presenters is doing that. The iPad is here, tho, and it a great conference device due to the form factor and battery life…anyway, this post is about the hotspot, and the thing to say about it is that it just works, and gets decent thruput.
We’ve also used the hotspot for traveling to the beach, for getting traffic reports and for general web surfing (by Jan, while I drive!). My iPad is the AT&T 3G iPad1, and I had a data plan since May 1 of 2010, but have dropped that now in favor of the iPhone. There’s not a time when I have my iPad with me and don’t have my iPhone, so it just made sense. I can say that the Verizon iPhone hotspot connectivity is far superior to the AT&T connection on I40 between Chapel Hill and eastern NC. I’d lose 3G in several spots, going to Edge on the iPad, and now with the iPhone and Verizon, solid rockin’ 3G all the way. It’s very empowering to know that you can set up connectivity like this, virtually wherever you want.
I’ve not had more than two devices connected simultaneously, but I don’t anticipate problems going up to the limit of five. Also, I’ve not found the battery consumption to be horrible in hotspot mode. It does go down faster, but no more so than if you have other active data-hungry apps running in the background. The bottom line is a big “thumbs up” from me. Try it on your iPhone or your Droid…it’s a cool feature.