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Difference Between Hotspots and WIFI- Complete Guide

Last Updated Oct 3, 2022
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An internet connection is needed in most homes so that people can work, study, and stream content online. When looking at the many options for supplying your home with internet, you have probably come across the idea of getting a WIFI router or a hotspot. 

WIFI is a type of wireless communication technology that allows you to connect phones, computers, and printers to the internet. A hotspot is a wireless device that serves as an access point for the internet through a WIFI connection. 

If it’s your first time reading about WIFI and hotspots, it can be confusing to read the above and know the difference. Don’t worry. This article will explain the differences more in-depth and provide some examples of each 

What Is WIFI? 

When you get WIFI in your home, a technician from the company will usually come and install a router. You will have a router name and password. 

WIFI uses electromagnetic waves to bring wireless communication to your devices. 

When using your devices, you can connect to the WIFI by finding the WIFI name under your device’s internet settings. Then, you can enter the password for the router. A WIFI router allows you to connect multiple different devices including phones, tablets, and computers. 

If your home is large or you have many people living in the house, you might need to get more than one router. The internet company should be able to tell you how many devices can be connected to the router that’s being installed and then you can determine if you need more than one. 

What Is a Hotspot? 

A hotspot is created using WIFI, so you cannot have a hotspot without first establishing a WIFI connection. The hotspot will provide internet to your devices through the WIFI connection. Some people also refer to hotspots as access points since they are accessing the WIFI for your devices. 

Hotspots are usually small mobile devices that you can carry around with you. Whenever there is WIFI available through the hotspot and WIFI company, you can connect to the internet. 

Some hotspots are also routers but they are connected to an ISP. This means there is a larger internet connection in the public space and then there are hotspots that allow users to be connected within the area. 

For example, many airports use hotspots. They have a larger WIFI connection but then each terminal or airport area has a hotspot so there are not as many users through one WIFI router. Hotspots are also common for coffee shops and hotels. 

Differences Between Hotspots and WIFI 

As you can see from the definitions above, there are differences between hotspots and WIFI. You might be wondering how these differences affect you though. 

Security 

WIFI routers can be hacked, but generally, it’s rare. Hackers need to have a wide range of technical skills to be able to infiltrate the network. You should always be aware of hacking though and secure your router with a password. You also shouldn’t give the password to anyone but those in your family who are using the network. 

Hotspots can often be hacked much easier. Hotspots are often used in public places so you are connected to the WIFI without having to enter a password. When using public WIFI and hotspots, don’t visit websites with your personal or financial information 

You can also use a VPN to hide your real IP address to protect your devices and information from hackers. 

Range 

Both routers and hotspots have limited ranges. The exact range will depend on the brand you own and the frequency that the router connects with. The location can also affect the range. 

For example, there might be some internet companies in your area that have better signals than others. The location of the router also affects the range. You need to put your router located in a central room of the house with no large walls around it. 

Access

If you own a WIFI router, you’re able to decide who can access the WIFI since you control the router with a password. People will need to ask your permission before using it. This prevents neighbors or nearby businesses from stealing your WIFI. 

Hotspots are usually in public areas like hotels, airports, and cafes. Usually, you only need to enter your email address to gain access to the internet. This makes them less secure and allows more people to access them. 

Hotspots also usually offer free service so there will be many people connected at the same time. 

Final Thoughts 

WIFI operates through radio frequencies and can connect devices through a fixed range. The router receives the signal and then allows you to connect your devices. Hotspots are a type of wireless access point established by a larger WIFI network as you see in large public places like airports.

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