How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi: Making the most of Google’s streamer when travelling
Google’s Chromecast hooks up to your TV through HDMI and uses Wi-Fi to connect and stream from most networked devices and also uses pre-installed apps that require internet access.
Streaming content from a phone, tablet, or laptop has never been more straightforward, but using a Chromecast while traveling isn’t as blissfully simple as it should be. Google certainly improved things with an update 2014, allowing Chromecast to work via a local network rather than an internet Wi-Fi connection. However, if you want to use it in a hotel via Wi-Fi, it’s still an uphill climb.
Thankfully, you can still get Chromecast working without Wi-Fi wherever you are in the world.
How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi:
Using Chromecast without Wi-Fi is quite simple because Google now allows you to cast locally stored content from your phone or laptop to Chromecast without a Wi-Fi connection. You can also mirror your device without Wi-Fi.
If you haven’t realized the functionality of Chromecast’s Wi-Fi beacon yet, it lets your smartphone’s 4G and 5G streaming apps work directly on your TV. The device beacon serves as a Wi-Fi router, except it doesn’t have internet. You can connect your phone, tablet, or other devices to Chromecast like you would connect to a router. For media stored locally on your smartphone, it saves you bandwidth and allows you to enjoy your videos, movies, and shows on the big screen! You can also mirror devices to Chromecast.
How to use Chromecast on hotel Wi-Fi:
Getting a Chromecast to run on hotel Wi-Fi can be difficult, but it depends on the devices used and the source of the Wi-Fi signal.
Some hotels restrict what you can do on their Wi-Fi network, but almost all of them require you to connect to the network via an online legal statement/agreement and a password.
While the Chromecast can see the wireless network, it won’t be able to navigate past the signup form to receive an active internet connection. This scenario is due to the Chromecast not having the same browser functionality as your smartphone.
When you connect your phone to a public Wi-Fi, it launches the browser and sends you to the Wi-Fi’s user terms and agreement, and Chromecast can’t do that step.
Don’t worry too much, though. If you’re determined enough, you can circumvent Chromecast hotel Wi-Fi issues with the little pocket-sized travel router known as your smartphone.
Using Connectify Hotspot
Connectify Hotspot is a great way to share your laptop’s Wi-Fi or wired internet connection as a hotspot location. While it is a paid-for app, there is a free version with basic functionality.
The website states that the app requires Windows 7, 8, 8.1, or 10. However, the paid Hotspot PRO and MAX editions let you use your smartphone’s hotspot to serve as the router for Chromecast.
Using Connectify on a Windows Device or A Smartphone with Hotel Wi-Fi
- Connect your smartphone, tablet, or laptop to your hotel’s Wi-Fi, completing any forms or accepting the terms and conditions.
- Open Connectify Hotspot and share your connection as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
- Connect your Chromecast to the new hotspot you’ve created.
Using a Travel Router
A pocket-sized travel router (not your smartphone) is a small device that connects to ethernet, mobile broadband, or serves as a secured Wi-Fi extender/repeater, making one perfect for traveling needs and use in hotels.
If you want to use a travel router, here’s the most straightforward way:
- Set up your travel router at home first by assigning it an SSID and password, unless it uses mobile broadband for Wi-Fi and is already set up.
- Connect your Chromecast to the pocket router/mobile router/hotspot device via the Chromecast app on your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.
- At your hotel, connect the pocket router to the Ethernet connection if required and an outlet or USB port to power it. Some devices have rechargeable batteries, mostly if they use 3G/4G/5G as the internet source.
- Connect your devices wirelessly to the pocket router’s connection, which is generated by the ethernet from the hotel’s internet service, or by the mobile broadband signal, or by repeater functionality.
In closing, Chromecast is unique from other TV streamers/casters because it contains and uses a Wi-Fi beacon, whether it has access to the internet or not. That allows your devices to connect to it the same way as with a router. Even though there is no internet, it makes the necessary connection to allow streaming from your device to the Chromecast, and then to the HDTV.
Portable routers (a.k.a pocket routers, mobile routers, portable hotspots) offer actual internet to the Chromecast device as an alternative, whether they obtain internet through an ethernet connection, mobile broadband, or by serving as a wireless repeater/extender. This option is just another way to use your Chromecast when it cannot access an internet source directly. Some pocket router models have an ethernet port for connecting to a device, or link to an internet source, such as a hotel’s ethernet wall jack. In any case, you CAN connect Chromecast to devices without an internet signal!