What is a Wi-Fi hotspot?


Quick Answer

A Wi-Fi hot spot is a location where electronic devices can wirelessly connect to the Internet. Some Wi-Fi hot spots are free, while others charge a fee to use the Internet connection.

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Full Answer

Locations that offer Wi-Fi service often advertise the fact. Coffee shops, cafes and bookstores that offer Wi-Fi typically have signs in windows or at the register. As of 2014, McDonald's offers free Wi-Fi at many of its locations, as do Starbucks, Tim Horton's and other chain establishments. A person can also often use free Wi-Fi at public libraries.

To access a Wi-Fi hot spot, a pass code is often required to log onto the network. Many establishments that offer Wi-Fi provide users with the pass code upon request. In some cases, locating the network in a device's connections listing, clicking it and following the prompts is enough to log on when the hot spot is open for public use. In other cases, a user must open a Web browser window and agree to terms and conditions before gaining access to the network.

Certain Wi-Fi hot spots may have special content filters in place to control the websites visited by customers. For example, a Wi-Fi connection at a public library may block users from accessing adult content, while a hot spot in a public school may only allow access to a list of approved sites.

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