Your Guide to Wireless Hotspots


In this guide, learn about:

  • Wireless hotspots and the various types available.
  • Tips on how to protect your information from hackers and identity thieves
  • Why AT&T hotspots are one of the safest ways to connect to the internet in public

What is a hotspot?

A hotspot is a way to connect to the internet wirelessly. If you’ve ever connected to a public Wi-Fi, you’ve connected to a type of hotspot. Whether you’re at a coffee shop or the workplace, hotspots are instrumental in how we connect to the internet. Depending on what device you use, what bandwidth you need, and what you can afford, you can choose from different types of hotspots.

Hotspots at a Glance

Public Wi-Fi Hotspot

  • Can be found in public places like retail stores and restaurants
  • Often is free; some require payment
  • May require a password, which you can usually get from an employee

Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

  • Comes as a built-in feature on most smart smartphones
  • Can connect Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as your laptop, to the internet
  • Uses your cellular data, which can be costly

Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

  • Boosts your mobile hotspot for better service
  • Can come with prepaid data, so you don’t use up your cellular data
  • Is flexible, with no long-term cellular data subscription

Public Wi-Fi Hotspot

A public Wi-Fi hotspot is the most common type of hotspot. Whether you’re at your favorite fast-food joint or waiting for your tire rotation, there’s usually a public hotspot available to you. 

You can connect to public hotspots on just about any W-Fi enabled device. Not all public Wi-Fi hotspots are free or unsecured. Some require payment or a password to get full access to the internet.

Public Wi-Fi Hotdpot

Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot

Smartphones give you access to the internet through your phone service. But most smartphones can also convert into a hotspot of their own, more commonly known as a mobile hotspot. They allow your other devices to connect to the internet through your cell phone data. 

If you find yourself far away from a public Wi-Fi hotspot but need access to the internet, you may be able to turn on the hotspot feature on your phone, and voila—the internet is at your fingertips.

Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

Similar to a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot can connect you to the internet wirelessly. Some come with prepaid data, so you don’t have to worry about your cellular usage. 

You prepay for data on a portable hotspot, and when you run out of data, you can simply buy more. This eliminates any long-term cellular service contract, and you can pay as you go.

Hotspot Security 101

Wireless hotspots are significant technological conveniences that allow us to connect to the internet wherever we may be. However, hotspots are still susceptible to hackers and identity thieves, so be sure to follow these tips on how to connect to hotspots safely and keep your online data secure:

  • Only connect to reputable hotspots, such as one owned by the hotel you’re staying in, the coffee shop you’re working at, or any AT&T public hotspot.
  • When connected to a public hotspot, avoid going to websites where you wouldn’t want your information compromised, such as your banking accounts or your retirement funds.
  • If you see a hotspot with misspelled words, chances are it’s someone else’s personal hotspot—or more dangerously, a potential hacker’s.
  • For extra security, join hotspots that have an extra layer of protection—ones with passwords, payment options, or sign-in requests.
Hotspot Security 101

AT&T Wireless Hotspots

AT&T has wireless hotspot locations all across the country. If you’re near one, it’ll automatically appear on your wireless devices—all you have to do is connect. 

AT&T hotspots are secure, keeping your data safe from hackers and identity thieves alike. Best of all, AT&T wireless hotspots are free to use and help you not drain your cellular data.

Trust Your At-Home Internet with AT&T

AT&T offers high-speed internet in the comfort of your own home. No need to trek over to the nearest shop when your at-home internet is convenient and safe. 

Choose an internet package today so you can get reliable internet service inside your humble abode. Starting at $35, high-speed internet is within reach with AT&T.

This site is a U.S. Consumer site. You can learn more about our site and privacy policy here.