If you’ve bought a new cellphone or a new vehicle in the last few years, you may have been told these items could function as a hot spot if needed. And if you’re like many folks, you may have thought, “That’s great,” and later wondered what that meant. Today, we’re here to talk a bit about what hot spots are and how they work.

What is a Hot Spot?

Simply put, a hot spot is an area where a wireless internet connection is available. They use cellular data to create a Wi-Fi signal. While some phones and newer vehicles have the ability to serve as a hot spot, mobile hot spot devices also exist. This makes connecting to the internet when you’re on-the-go possible, even when you’re in an area where no internet service is normally available.

Public Hot Spots

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant, library, store or hotel that offer public Wi-Fi service, this is often courtesy of a hot spot. While this is often a free service, some locations may charge a fee to access a public hot spot.

Prepaid Hot Spots

Prepaid mobile hot spots work much like prepaid cellphones. You purchase the device and pay for data in advance, adding data as you need more. When using prepaid hot spots, much like connecting a device to a router Wi-Fi signal, you select the hot spot network name and enter your password.

Vehicle Hot Spots

If your car or truck has built-in hot spot capability, just as with any other hot spot, you’ll need a data plan to use it. This data is usually part of the manufacturer’s optional connected service like OnStar®. This feature claims to provide a better in-vehicle connection experience than using your smartphone’s hot spot component.

Hot Spot Security

Understanding a little more about hot spots, now, you may be wondering how secure their connections are. This is wise because as we’ve touted before, not all—especially free and public—Wi-Fi connections are safe. The same is true for hot spots. Private hot spot connections such as cellphone and prepaid options are generally safe. Hot spots open to the public, however, are not as secure. Therefore you shouldn’t open any website or apps (banking, medical records, employment networks, etc.) that could be put your personal information at risk.

Convenient Connection

In general, hot spots are a great way to ensure you have internet access anywhere. This mobile technology keeps us connected in a world where we rely on internet functionality to use more Wi-Fi enabled products and services for everyday conveniences.

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