You probably connect your smartphone or laptop to the Internet via several Wi-Fi hotspots throughout your day, whether you’re at your office, in your home, or at public locations like coffee shops and airports. Using hotspots is an easy way to keep connected to your busy life.
Connecting to a wireless hotspot is a simple process. Let’s use your smartphone as an example. You want to answer an email at the airport while you’re waiting for your flight, and you don’t want to use your data. You can set your smartphone to notify you when it’s in range of a wireless network, or you can find wireless networks through your phone’s settings. The steps you need to follow to connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot will depend on the device—Android*, iPhone*, or another brand—but here is an overview.
- Click the wireless icon on your device to see the names of nearby wireless networks. Select a wireless network; in some cases, you might also have to click “Connect.”
- Enter the security key or the password. Most wireless networks are secured and require a password to accept a connection. Some networks are unsecured or open and do not require a password; you should take care when accessing them as they could introduce a security risk.
- Select the network type (home, work, or public, if you are on a Windows* device). Choosing the network type will establish a security level appropriate for your location. If you select “home” or “work,” your device will be discoverable to other devices. Be sure to select “public” if you are in a public location like a coffee shop, hotel, restaurant, airport, and other similar locations.
Depending on where you are and the types of hotspots near you, you may be on either an open, unsecured wireless network or a paid/commercial wireless network. You may be asked to sign up for an account or use a paid service like Boingo* or iPass*, which offer various Wi-Fi access plans depending on how much time you plan use the Internet.
Let’s say, though, that you can’t find a Wi-Fi hotspot nearby. Read on to learn how you can use your smartphone as a portable hotspot.