What is a WiFi hotspot?

WiFi hotspots are internet access points that allow you to connect to a WiFi network using your computer, smartphone or another device while away from your home or office network. 

Many cities, businesses, and other organizations have begun offering WiFi hotspots, which help people stay connected to powerful, fast internet connections, which are often much faster than wireless cellular networks.

But what is a WiFi hotspot? How does it work? Are hotspots safe? Get all the information you need below. 

How does a WiFi hotspot work?

A public WiFi hotspot works just like a Wi-Fi connection that you might find in your home or office. WiFi hotspots work by taking an internet connection and using special wireless equipment, such as modems and routers, to create a wireless connection, to which you can connect a tablet, smartphone, computer, or another device.

The range, power, speed, and price of a WiFi hotspot may vary, based on where you are. But the overall idea behind a WiFi hotspot is exactly the same as a home-based WiFi network, and you can connect to and use a WiFi hotspot just like you would use a home WiFi network.

Types of WiFi hotspots

Though WiFi hotspots are broadly similar, there are a few different types of hotspots available, and they do have some distinct differences. Let’s discuss these common types of WiFi hotspots now, and how they work.

Public WiFi hotspots

A public WiFi hotspot is exactly what it sounds like. These hotspots are usually – though not always – free to use. Places like coffee shops, libraries, retail stores, and other such companies and organizations may offer a free, public WiFi connection for patrons. In some cities, municipal governments or ISPs may also provide free public WiFi connections in some areas. These are usually free, but in some areas, like hotels and airports, you may have to pay for access to a public WiFi hotspot.

Mobile WiFi hotspots

There are a few different types of mobile hotspots. For example, did you know that you can use your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot? The same is true of most Android smartphones. By turning on this feature, your phone uses its cellular data to create a WiFi hotspot. Then, you can connect to this hotspot with a computer or another device that does not have cellular data.

You can also buy purpose-built mobile WiFi hotspots, which are designed to turn a cellular data connection into a strong WiFi connection. People who travel a lot for work or always need access to a reliable WiFi connection may be interested in one of these devices, which can be purchased from most cell phone companies.

Pre-paid hotspots

Prepaid WiFi hotspots are similar to mobile hotspots, but have a limited amount of data that you can use. You can prepay for this data, then when you run out, you can automatically pay for more. This is a good way to get a mobile hotspot without a long-term cellular data subscription.

Additionally, CenturyLink WiFi Extender Kits are service supported by CenturyLink.

Are WiFi hotspots safe?

Private WiFi hotspots, such as mobile hotspots and prepaid hotspots, are completely safe. However, the security methods used to protect your data can vary widely between public hotspots.

As a rule, it’s not recommended that you do anything on a public WiFi hotspot that could compromise your personal data, such as shopping online, using online banking apps, and other such things. For web browsing, checking email, and social media, though, public WiFi hotspots are usually very safe.

How to find WiFi hotspots

The easiest way to find WiFi hotspot is to open up your computer or smartphone and start looking! In many public areas, you’ll find that there are a lot of open, public WiFi hotspots you can connect to, free of charge. You can also look for WiFi hotspots provided by your own ISP. 

How to create a WiFi hotspot

Wondering how to setup a WiFi hotspot? The easiest way is to use your Android or iOS smartphone as a mobile hotspot. Read this guide from Google to give it a try on Android, or read this guide from Apple to try it on your iPhone or iPad.

CenturyLink WiFi

At CenturyLink, we provide high-quality secure WiFi to commercial and residential customers. To see what internet speeds are available near you, click the link below.

Need more help? Contact Us

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