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    What is a Wi-Fi hotspot?

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    Judit Llordés

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    Connect to the internet wirelessly when away from home or office. Wireless hotspots are wireless access points, typically in public places, that provide Internet access to mobile devices such as laptops or smartphones when away from the office or home. Locations with Wi-Fi hotspots are usually cafes, libraries, airports and hotels. Hotspots allow you to go online wherever you go, but they have some security concerns.

    How to find a hotspot

    Your wirelessly connected laptop and other devices, such as tablets and smartphones, may alert you when you are within range of wireless networks. If you don't get a notification that there are wireless networks available in the area, go to the network settings to find the area hotspots.

    You will find hotspots in many places. For instance:

    • When you enter a bar, your smartphone notifies you of the presence of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Each shop has a main screen for its hotspot. After accepting the terms of the hotspot agreement, you are connected.
    • Restaurants that offer a hotspot post information at the entrance. It may be necessary to request the password from the owner to access the service.
    • When you are at the hotel, ask the receptionist for the Wi-Fi password or login procedure. The service may be free or you may be charged a daily fee for its use.
    • Most airports offer free hotspots and view the login process in all terminals. There are hotspots in malls too, and they can post login information in the mall.
    • Many bookstores have hotspots for their customers.
    • Libraries and other public buildings often have Wi-Fi hotspots.

    A quick internet search of hotspot in [la your city ] (or in a city you are about to visit) will show a list of places where you can access the internet. While many are free, some hotspots require a fee or subscription.

    Connect to a hotspot

    When you connect to a hotspot to use the Internet, the web browser displays a web page that identifies the hotspot and lists the terms of use. If the Wi-Fi hotspot network is encrypted or hidden, obtain the security key and network name (SSID) information from the hotspot service provider to successfully locate and establish the network connection.

    When a password is required, enter it and agree to the terms of use, which usually require you to be a reputable and law-abiding Internet citizen. Then, accept or initiate the connection to the hotspot's wireless network, identified in the network name.

    How to use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot

    Take security precautions when using a hotspot

    The problem with using public hotspots is that they are open to the public. You could share a connection with anyone at any time. A hotspot is not your password-protected home or office Wi-Fi router.

    Here are some precautions you can take before joining a hotspot:

    • Understand how your laptop or mobile device shares files and increases privileges. Mac laptops, for example, use AirDrop. Depending on your settings, a hacker could send a file to your Mac via AirDrop without your knowledge.
    • Turn off file sharing for public access folders on your laptop and other devices.
    • Install virus protection for your Android phone, iPad, or any other device you use with a public hotspot. Also, enable the firewall on your device to prevent the transmission of malware from an infected device that is also connected to the hotspot.
    • Install a VPN on the device. A virtual private network encrypts all your web traffic, so even if you get hacked, your data is impossible to read.
    • Disable automatic connections to nearby networks.

    Disable automatic network connections

    Some laptops and mobile devices automatically connect to a hotspot when it's in range, but this is a bad idea for security reasons, particularly when the hotspot isn't password protected. In most cases, you can use a menu setting to avoid this. Location varies by device.

    Its an iPhone, fai click its Settings > Wi-Fi and activate the Enable option / deactivates connection networks.

    Many Android devices have a network notification setting in Settings > Connections > Wi-Fi > Advanced which can be disabled.

    On Macintosh computers, go to System Preference > Network and select the checkbox Ask to join new networks.

    Learn about mobile hotspots

    When you're in a location that doesn't have a hotspot and you need to be online, your smartphone may be able to act as a cellular Wi-Fi hotspot. If your smartphone has this feature, connect to the internet using the cellular signal on your phone, then share that connection with your laptop.

    Most mobile phone providers require mobile hotspot functionality to be configured in advance.

    Using a mobile hotspot drains your phone's battery much faster, and the hotspot can use up a significant portion of your data limit. Depending on your cellular network (3G, 4G, or LTE), the connection speed may not be as fast as home speed (with any other than LTE), but when it's the only internet connection available, it can be worth it.

    How to turn your Windows PC into a Wi-Fi Hotspot

    Further Reading:

    • How to use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot
    • How To Set Up Wi-Fi Hotspot On Galaxy A50s
    • 7 Ways To Fix When Android Hotspot Not Working
    • How to activate Personal Hotspot on iPhone
    • 5 solutions for when the Android hotspot keeps turning off
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