A Wi-Fi hotspot is an Internet access point that piggybacks on the connection of another device. Wi-Fi hotspots are generated by smartphone apps, computer software or a type of dedicated device called a hotspot that operates using a high-speed mobile data network.
Wi-Fi hotspots have varying limits on simultaneous connections and data speeds depending on the type of device acting as a hotspot and the data plan or Internet connection serving the hotspot. Most Wi-Fi hotspots require at least 3G data speeds but perform best on LTE networks, as of 2015. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are available at some public locations such as libraries, fast food restaurants and coffee shops. Find a nearby public Wi-Fi hotspot using an app such as WiFi Finder on Android.
Portable Wi-Fi hotspots such as FreedomPop's Freedom Spot or the Karma hotspot are standalone devices that provide a Wi-Fi connection on the fly as long as there is a stable connection to the mobile data network. Alternatively, Android and iPhone devices have built-in functionality that allows for sharing mobile data with another device by generating a Wi-Fi hotspot called tethering. Tethering is not supported by all mobile carriers and may require additional subscription fees. Applications such as PdaNet are available for Android and iPhone that allow for mobile data sharing without incurring the additional fees and limitations imposed by carriers who charge for tethering.