A common question people ask is: Does Alexa need Wi-Fi to operate? The simple answer to this question is YES, Alexa needs an active internet connection via Wi-Fi to use all its functions.
The primary way to deliver this internet connection is through an active Wi-Fi connection via a router. However, there are alternatives worth considering, if this is not a feasible option.
1. Mobile Hotspot
The first alternative is using your smartphone as a mobile hotspot to operate as a Wi-Fi connection. You simply use your smartphone's data connection to support your Alexa devices.
You can use Alexa via a Bluetooth connection to stream audio from your smartphone or tablet. It means you can use a Bluetooth connection to access items such as your music playlist.
However, with a Bluetooth connection, you can not access all Alexa features such as voice commands.
How to connect Alexa to a mobile hotspot
Using a mobile hotspot is perhaps the simplest way to connect your Alexa devices to the internet without having to use Wi-Fi. After all, the principle is the same as using a dedicated Wi-Fi connection for your home or office.
All you need to have is a smartphone that has its own data internet connection and data package with a provider. So, below is a step-by-step outline on how to connect Alexa to a mobile hotspot.
- Activate your smartphone’s mobile hotspot.
- Open the Alexa App.
- Select Echo & Alexa.
- Select your device.
- Select the change option next to the Wi-Fi network.
- Continue to follow the app instructions and pick the name of your smartphone to connect to its hotspot.
- Enter the hotspot password and continue.
- Alexa now works off of your mobile hotspot! Congratulations!
How to use Alexa as a Bluetooth Speaker
The Alexa speaker's Bluetooth connectivity allows you to enjoy your music and audio recordings without using Wi-Fi.
You can use your Alexa Echo or Alexa Echo Dot speaker as a bluetooth speaker to play content from your phone.
You can use either to connect to another bluetooth audio device, if you want to improve your audio quality. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to use Alexa as a Bluetooth speaker.
- Go to your smartphone’s Bluetooth Pairing screen.
- For iPhones, open settings > Bluetooth, turn on Bluetooth, scroll down to “other devices”.
- For Android phones, open settings > Connections > Bluetooth, turn on Bluetooth, then tap to scan or pair a new device.
- Say “Alexa pair” or “ Alexa Bluetooth on” to your Alexa speaker.
- The Alexa speaker will appear on the pairing device list of your phone.
- Tap on the Alexa speaker name to pair and confirm pairing.
- The Alexa speakers should begin playing the music or audio from your phone.
Why does Alexa not work without Wi-Fi?
Alexa devices function through voice commands. Processing these voice commands relies on a form of artificial intelligence that uses neural networks, called Natural Language Processing or NLP.
The Echo and Echo Dot device that Alexa operates cannot process voice commands directly. Instead, they upload audio clips to Amazon servers for the voice clip to be processed.
Once processed, Amazon’s servers determine the best answer to provide and relay that to the device to be spoken by Alexa.
For this “transaction” to take place, an active internet connection needs to be available and is typically delivered via a fixed Wi-Fi network. However, using a mobile hotspot is also easy if you need an alternative.
What can Alexa do without a Wi-Fi connection?
While you need to have Wi-Fi to take advantage of all of Alexa's features, there are things that you can do without it.
For example, Alexa can trigger many smart home devices and execute several actions. If you use an Amazon Echo device with a built-in smart home hub, some of the actions you can execute without the internet include operating compatible devices such as switches, lights, and plugs, and asking for info such as date and time.
You can also operate alarms and reminders, and control the device’s volume. If you are still confused about what you can and cannot do, you can even ask the Alexa device: “what can you do offline?”
How does Wi-Fi work and how much bandwidth does Alexa use?
Wi-Fi, also known as WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) is a device that belongs to a group known as IEEE 702.11 devices.
These devices are used to communicate between a local environment and a global environment. Using Wi-Fi, you can send data from your location to other locations and vice versa. Wi-Fi works via radio frequencies which send your data as signals back and forth over wireless or Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Typically, bandwidth usage on Alexa varies according to the activities you engage in. Additionally, the bandwidth usage also depends on the installations on your devices. For example, on an idle day, it can use 1 Mbps per day.
How does a mobile Hot-Spot work?
Mobile hot-spots work similarly to a Wi-Fi connection. Your smartphone uses its hot-spot online connection to a data network as if it were a broadband data source.
Your mobile phone hot-spot uses its 4G cellular network to power its internet connection and then, share this connection with other devices that don’t have an internet connection via Wi-Fi.
So, if you are in a home with no broadband connection, you can instead use your smartphone’s 4G data to power electronics such as your smart TV, laptop, and Alexa devices through the mobile hot-spot. You must ensure that the internet connection is strong, though.
Amazon Echo 4th Generation builds on the success of its predecessors. It has all the classic features of the famous Amazon speaker in a new and improved package.
- The Amazon Echo 4th Generation comes in 3 stylish colors: Charcoal, Glacier White, and Twilight Blue.
- The speaker delivers impeccable sound. Whether you’re listening to music, watching a movie, or just giving Alexa a voice command, the sound is fantastic.
- Use voice control to improve the quality of your entertainment. Listen to music using your favorite platform, use the speaker to watch movies, set a timer or an alarm, and so much more.
The speaker is there for you and ready to serve your every smart home need! Do you need to call a taxi, set a timer for the oven, check the weather, or listen to the news? Just ask Alexa!
The device is compatible with other smart devices and appliances in your home. Therefore, you can use it to keep your entire house under control. The speaker can serve as your phone for when you need to call someone. It can be your alarm and wake you up at the desired time. Most commonly, Echo is used as a speaker to play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more.
The Alexa Echo Dot 3rd generation is designed with a larger 1.6-inch speaker for improved audio delivery and sound quality. Inside the speaker is a larger driver, which complements the improved sound quality. At the exterior, the speakers feature a sleek and classy fabric design.
- Built-in 16-inch audio speaker with improved voice and audio quality.
- Advanced audio distribution profile (A2DP) for supported audio streaming.
- Audio/video remote control profile (AVRCP) for mobile device voice control.
On its virtual fabric surface, a modern styled LED clock is displayed for easy viewing. Overall, the speaker measures 3.9 inches in diameter by 1.7 inches high and weighs only 10.6 ounces. This compact size allows you to easily carry it with you and use it anywhere.
With Echo Dot’s superior Bluetooth connectivity, you will also enjoy the experience more. This is thanks to the integrated advanced audio distribution which supports audio streaming from your mobile device to the Echo Dot or even from your Echo Dot to your Bluetooth speakers.
Additionally, the Echo Dot features an audio/video remote control profile which allows voice control for connected mobile devices. Keep in mind that the Echo Dot's Bluetooth doesn’t support speakers with pin codes.