A WiFi® phone hotspot refers to technology that allows a device to connect to the Internet by way of a cellphone. This capability is made possible using the cellphone's broadband service and special software. The device that an individual wishes to connect to the Internet must have WiFi® capability, and the user generally must have a password. A single WiFi® phone hotspot can generally accommodate several devices simultaneously.
If a WiFi® phone hotspot is to work, a person generally needs broadband cellular service. She will also need to download special software to her phone if this was not done before she purchased it. Also, to be able to connect another device to the Internet in this way, both the cellphone and the device that an individual wants to use must have WiFi® capability. A device, such as laptop, does not have to have built-in WiFi®. It is possible to plug a wireless adapter into the laptop, which will give it WiFi® capability.
Before the introduction of WiFi® phone hotspots, it was possible to use a cellphone as a modem to connect another device to the Internet. This was done either by using a cable to connect the cellphone to the device or using Bluetooth technology. The WiFi® phone hotspot is not only a newer method, but one that is considered easier because the setup for Bluetooth connections are often found to be more difficult and a cable connection can be rendered useless if the cable is forgotten or damaged.
A WiFi® phone hotspot generally allows multiple devices to connect to the cellphone simultaneously. This means several people with different devices can use a single cellphone to access the Internet at once. Access to the connection is usually password protected. This allows the cellphone owner control over who accesses her connection. This can be important, because a person generally has a limited amount of information that she can download for a given price.
A problem with some WiFi® phone hotspots is that they are limited to either voice or data connections at a given moment. Voice connections are generally given preference. This means that when a person uses his cellphone to allow another device to access the Internet, the connection is lost if he receives a phone call. Whether a user will be subjected to this limitation depends on the type of mobile broadband technology that his service provider uses.