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printed October 24, 2014
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Hot Spot

(Hotspot)

An area where wireless service is made available for Wi-Fi enabled devices or computers to access the internet.

Most hot spots charge users for access by the day or month, however some are free.

The area size can vary. A hot spot at a coffee shop, for example, might be accessible from across the street, but not the next block. At an airport, a hot spot might cover just a few gates, or the whole airport.

Mobile devices can also create their own small hot spots, including phones and dedicated data devices.

See: Mobile Hotspot

The service is enabled by one or more Wi-Fi "access points" set up by whoever offers the hot spot. The access point is a small electronic box connected to the Internet, with a Wi-Fi radio and antenna.

The term "hot spot" was popularized by T-Mobile, and is often used to refer to an access point owned and run by a company as opposed to an individual.

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