Why my computer cannot connect to the Android mobile Wi-Fi hotspot for a long time
After updating Android, I ran into a problem that the computer sees a mobile hotspot, but at the same time:
1. It does not try to connect to it automatically
2. When I select the Access Point manually, an attempt is made to connect, which ends in failure after about a minute
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Additional symptoms of the problem:
3. Before the Android update on the phone, connecting to the Hotspot was fast and without problems
4. The computer can sometimes connect to the mobile hotspot
5. New devices quickly connect to Hotspot on Android without problems
One reason for this behavior could be a new setting that allows you to use an arbitrary MAC address for the mobile hotspot.
How to set permanent or random MAC address for Hotspot on Android
Go to Settings → Connections → Mobile Hotspot and Tethering → Mobile Hotspot.
Click the “Configure” button.
Click the “Advanced” button.
Look for “MAC address type”.
There are two options to choose from:
- Randomized MAC
- Phone MAC
If you select the first option (“Randomized MAC”), a random MAC address will be generated for the created Mobile Access Point. If you select the second option (“Phone MAC”), the permanent MAC address of the phone will be used for the created mobile hotspot.
Select “Phone MAC”, save the settings and check if this solves the problem with the slow connection to the Hotspot on Android.
What is the “Randomized MAC” setting for? Is it safe to turn it off
The question may arise, why is the “Randomized MAC” setting enabled by default, which creates serious problems when connecting to a mobile hotspot? Perhaps it is very important and should not be disabled?
The MAC address of each device must be unique. More precisely, each network interface (one device, including a phone, can have several network interfaces) must have a unique MAC address. This MAC address allows you to distinguish one device from another. You can also find out the manufacturer of the device by the MAC address (for example, Samsung, Apple, and so on).
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Enabling the “Randomized MAC address” setting makes it so that for a hypothetical third-party observer, an Access Point is created each time on a device unfamiliar to him.
But you need to remember that each Access Point has the following identifiers:
- Device MAC address (BSSID)
- Access Point Name (ESSID)
That is, if you are really concerned about privacy issues, then in addition to enabling the “Randomized MAC” setting, you also need to change the network name every time, otherwise the “Randomized MAC” setting loses all meaning.
In fact, most users just do not need to enable the “Randomized MAC” setting. Enabling the “Randomized MAC” setting without taking other measures (for example, changing the network name each time the AP is created) does not make much sense. But at the same time, other devices that, when connected to the AP, can be guided by its MAC address, begin to experience connection problems.
In short, if you do not have a clear understanding of what exactly you need the “Randomized MAC” setting for and/or you do not take other steps to make it difficult for your phone to be identified as an AP and at the same time you are experiencing problems connecting to a mobile AP, then you can safely disable this setting.
If your devices connect to the mobile AP without problems with the “Randomized MAC” setting enabled, you can leave it enabled.
Do I need to enable the setting “Support Wi-Fi 6 standard”
If after changing the MAC address type setting, your computer or other devices continue to experience problems connecting to the Mobile Hotspot, then pay attention to the following two settings.
The first setting is “Support Wi-Fi 6 standard”. This item is located in: Settings → Connections → Mobile Hotspot and Tethering → Mobile Hotspot → Configure → Advanced → Support Wi-Fi 6 standard.
“Support Wi-Fi 6 standard” brings many technical improvements and data transfer speeds. But that's in theory. If, in practice, your devices cannot connect to the Access Point with the “Support Wi-Fi 6 standard” setting enabled, then disable it.
Choose “2.4 GHz” or “5 GHz”?
In theory, Wi-Fi at 5 GHz is faster. This is due both to the technical characteristics of the 5 GHz channels and to the fact that these channels are currently less crowded. However, in practice, the transmission area of a 5 GHz Wi-Fi signal is less than 2.4 GHz. Some older devices do not support 5 GHz operation. Some devices, even those that support 5 GHz, are slower to find the Access Point at these frequencies.
Although it is recommended to select the 5 GHz band in the Access Point settings, if you are not satisfied with the quality of the mobile Access Point, you can change the Frequency Band of your Access Point. To do this, go to: Settings → Connections → Mobile Hotspot and Tethering → Mobile Hotspot → Configure → Band. There you will be presented with a choice of:
- 2.4 GHz
- 5 GHz preferred
Switch to “2.4 GHz” and see if that solves your problem.