Mobile Hotspot For Xbox – Everything You Need To Know

If there’s one thing that most people want with a mobile hotspot for Xbox, it’s a viable connection point for online gaming. Sure, you can play games on your phone, designed for your phone, with little to no problems. However, connecting an Xbox or another high-end console is not one and the same.

You can connect an Xbox with a mobile hotspot but there are three, important things you have to understand. First, your experience will be dictated by what you’re playing. Second, you really need 5G or a very solid 4G. Third, latency is rarely going to be your friend.

Is A Mobile Hotspot Strong Enough For Xbox Live?

Mobile Hotspot For Xbox

All things being considered, Xbox live will run on a mobile hotspot, however, all things are not necessarily equal when it comes to mobile hotspots.

Where are you located when you make the connection? What is your signal status at the time? What stipulations does your provider place on mobile hotspot usage? Does your mobile hotspot have a data cap? Are you using a phone hotspot or a MiFi?

All of these questions are part of the solution to online gaming while using a mobile hotspot, so let’s go through them, one at a time.

Where Are You Located?

If you’re using a MiFi hotspot then, odds are, you’re at home, which is fine. However, what kind of signal do you normally get while you’re at home, and what are your up and down speeds?

Speed might not be that relevant if you’re playing Divinity 2: Original Sin while using the online multiplayer component. If you’re running an FPS (First Person Shooter), on the other hand, you’re dealing with something entirely different.

For most console and PC gaming, you’ll need a household bandwidth speed of at least 40Mbps. That needs to be a consistent number as well, not bouncing up and down all over the place at all times. Here’s a breakdown of 4G/LTE per provider.

Bandwidth Price Data Allotment 5G Available?
Verizon Wireless  

60Mbps

 

$90/mo.

 

30GB

 

Yes

AT&T 40Mbps $85/mo. 30GB Yes
T-Mobile 25Mbps $40/mo. 30GB Yes

T-Mobile is the cheapest one available from the three, major providers, however, keep in mind that 25Mbps isn’t going to cut it unless you turn off every other >Hotspot Usage

If you’re running with a MiFi from one of the above or another provider, you’ll probably be fine. Just place it somewhere in the house where you are getting the fastest speeds when you run a speed test.

If you’re using your phone as a hotspot, it’s important to talk to your cellular provider because many of them like to choke down the speeds available on mobile hotspots, and it’s something that they’re not very transparent about.

Data Caps

Hitting your data cap is a concern when you’re playing on a gaming console and something that you’ll have to keep an eye on. Most providers charge you an additional $10 for another specified amount of data as soon as you hit your cap.

Can You Use A Phone Hotspot For Xbox?

You can definitely use your smartphone as a hotspot to access Xbox Live and online gaming, however, as we mentioned above, the phone is a little more gimmicky than a dedicated MiFi. 

For one, providers like to choke bandwidth when you’re using a smartphone as a hotspot, something you don’t want when gaming online. Secondly, unlike a MiFi, a smartphone is not a dedicated device.

In other words, your smartphone will do the job and get you online but it’s also running all of its own programs and background tasks at the same time. The signal and speed you get from a smartphone might not be the same as the ones you get from a MiFi.

Incoming calls, other devices trying to connect, background apps, incoming text messages, and many other things are going on as well, not to mention the fact that you will still probably need to use your phone while playing.

How Much Data Does Xbox One Use On Hotspot?

As long as you have automatic updates turned off, your Xbox One won’t burn through as much data as you would think—this is assuming that all you’re doing is gaming. You can expect about 100MB in one hour. 

Things change quickly if you’re adding other components, such as in-game chatting with a Bluetooth device or if you are allowing automatic updates. If your game has a patch before you start, that patch is going to slaughter your data cap in a hurry.

This is what really hurts MiFi and smartphone hotspot usage for gaming consoles. If you’re using it on a very selective basis, such as on the road for vacation or staying in a hotel with shady WiFi, then there’s really no harm.

If MiFi is your only internet access on a consistent basis, the patches and the system updates and upgrades are what kill your data. It’s not hard to do since most major providers enforce strict data cap limitations on hotspots.

Can You Download Xbox Games On Hotspot?

You can do anything with an Xbox on a MiFi or smartphone hotspot connection that you could on a standard WiFi or ethernet/router connection. That includes downloading games through Xbox Live. 

The problem boils down to data caps on mobile hotspots. Above, we listed the data caps for the big three providers. Those kinds of caps are predominant across the industry.

Titanfall 2 70GB
Gears of War 4 100GB
Halo 5 100GB
Forza Motorsports 7 80GB
Quantum Break 80GB
Dirt 5 56GB

Downloading a tenth of Gears of War 4 will eat up ⅓ of your total data limit on any of the big three provider’s plans. Just like system and game updates, downloading games will absolutely wreak havoc on your data caps.

So what’s you’re best bet? Download any games, patches, or upgrades on your standard WiFi network if you have one. If you don’t download them on a friend’s WiFi network if they don’t mind.

Of course, the above-listed games are game file sizes for Xbox One X. Obviously, older Xbox systems aren’t going to have games that take up that much space. However, They can still add up fast.

For instance, the original Xbox, Ninja Gaiden Black is a 6.65GB game. If you’re looking to download a bunch of Indies, you’ll find a lot of games that are very small in size. It does add up though, so you just have to keep an eye on your data cap.

Does Xbox Series X Work With Mobile Hotspots?

The Xbox Series X and S both work just fine when you tether them to a mobile hotspot, whether that is a MiFi device or your smartphone. All you have to do is find the access point in your Xbox settings, just as you would locate the WiFi you want to connect to normally. 

MiFi—or mobile hotspots if you want to encompass both—is just like a WiFi router sitting in your home. Once you get into your Xbox’s settings and search for an access point, your hotspot will show up just as it normally does.

Typically, your smartphone will provide a randomized access password that you will have to enter on your Xbox in order to connect.

If you conduct a quick search across Xbox, Reddit, and various, other gaming forums, you’ll find that the most predominant issue that crops up when using a hotspot, is the Xbox dropping the connection or not recognizing the access point at all.

Not to worry, however, because this troubleshooting fix seems to always work and is relatively simple. Turn off the hotspot option on your phone or reset your MiFi device, while also turning off the Xbox.

Turn on your smartphone hotspot or MiFi hotspot first, then power the Xbox back up and it should resolve the problem by locating the access point and not drooping it randomly.

Is Latency An Issue With Xbox Online Play And Mobile Hotspots?

It can be, simply because there are a lot of variables when it comes to mobile hotspots, whether you’re connected to MiFi or using your smartphone. 

One of those variables is potentially high traffic on the cellular tower that your MiFi is connected to. You’re subject to issues during bad weather, just as you would watching TV with DirecTV or Dish.

If there are a lot of cell phones being used nearby, it could affect your own signal. Lastly, there’s always competition between voice traffic and data links. No one knows how these things are prioritized by providers because the providers don’t go into detail.

It all depends on when you play and what is going on at the time. You could have 30ms one day and 100ms the next.

All Things Considered

Mobile Hotspots are growing in popularity simply because people are constantly on the move. For the most part, they work great for online gaming.

Unfortunately, the biggest drawback is the data caps. That’s not likely to go away any time soon. However, it will eventually improve. If you’re old enough to remember the infamous roaming charges of the 90s, you’ll understand that it will improve over time.

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