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 via an active Wi-Fi connection via a router. However there are alternatives worth considering, if this is not feasible.
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 internet data connection to hotspot 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. 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 your mobile hotspot! Congratulations!
How to use Alexa as a Bluetooth Speaker
The Alexa speakers’ Bluetooth connectivity allows you to enjoy your music and audio recordings as well. You can use your Alexa Echo or Alexa Echo Dot speaker as a bluetooth speaker to playback content from your phone.
You can also use either one 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. This is delivered via “Natural Language Processing (NLP) which is a form of artificial intelligence using neural networks.
The Echo and Echo Dot device that Alexa operates from does not have the capacity to process voice commands directly so instead it sends 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 back to the device to be spoken by Alexa.
An active internet connection is needed from this transaction to take place, and that is typically delivered via a fixed Wi-Fi network. However it can also be provided via a mobile hotspot as detailed in this article.
What can Alexa do without a Wi-Fi connection?
Whilst Alexa needs Wi-Fi to fully function, there are actions you can execute without being connected to Wi-Fi.
For example, Alexa can trigger numerous 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 as a communication means 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 Mobile Hot-Spot work?
Mobile hot-spot works quite 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 ho-spot. You must ensure that the internet connection is strong.
With the Alexa Echo 3rd generation, you can customize your audio experience to your liking. The 3rd gen speakers feature a Dolby audio sound quality which delivers 360 degrees surround audio with crispy vocals. The speakers are also powered to provide a dynamic bass response.
Dolby audio sound system for 360 degrees surround audio quality
Equalizer settings to personalize the audio experience
0.8-inch tweeter and 3-inch woofer speaker system
Inside the speakers are a 76.2mm neodymium driver woofer and 20mm tweeter which complement the speakers’ sound and bass quality. You can even further personalize the sound delivery by adjusting the equalizer settings.
When you are using it, you can also set up your preferred privacy options. The built-in multiple layers of settings include the mic off buttons – which disable all the microphones. At the exterior, the speakers mimic a round tower with a classy fabric surface. You can choose from up to 4 subtle fabric finishes in the colors twilight blue, sandstone, charcoal or, heather gray.
The speakers measure 5.8 inches high and 3.9 inches in diameter. They also weigh 27.5 ounces. But, really, does Alexa need wifi? Whilst you can use the speakers without a wifi connection, having it enhances your experience.
Plus, the Alexa Echo 3rd generation is equipped with a dual band wifi capability. The speakers can support both 2.4 and 5GHz networks. The speakers also don’t support peer to peer wifi networks.
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 its improved sound quality. At the exterior, the speakers feature a sleek and classy fabric design.
Built-in 16-inch audio speaker for voice feedback
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 speakers measure 3.9 inches in diameter by 1.7 inches high and weigh 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 is also powered with an audio/video remote control profile which allows voice control for connected mobile devices. Keep in mind however, the Echo Dot Bluetooth connectivity doesn’t support speakers with pin codes.