A hotspot is a venue that offers Wi-Fi access. The public can use a laptop, WiFi phone, or other suitable portable device to access the Internet. Of the estimated 150 million laptops, 14 million PDAs, and other emerging Wi-Fi devices sold per year for the last few years, most include the Wi-Fi feature.
The Hotspots WiFi History
Wi-Fi hotspots were first proposed by Brett Stewart at the NetWorld+Interop conference in The Moscone Center in San Francisco in August 1993. Stewart did not use the term 'hotspot' but referred to public accessible wireless LANs. Stewart went on to found the companies PLANCOM in 1994 (for Public LAN Communications, which became MobileStar and then the hotspot arm of T-Mobile) and subsequently Wayport in 1996.
A commercial hotspot may feature:
- A captive portal where users are redirected to for
authentication and payment
However, many hotspots are open and free for use, either set up by the public or by a commercial enterprise hoping to use it to attract customers.
ZoneCD is a GNU/Linux LiveCD to easily set up hotspots.
A "poisoned hotspot" refers to a free public hotspot set up by identity thieves or other malicious individuals for the purpose of "sniffing" the information being sent by the user. This abuse can be avoided by the use of VPN. For end-users free VPN services like iPig are available.
Today many universities and schools have wireless networks in their campus.
You can refer to the book, Wi-Fi Hotspots: Setting Up Public Wireless Internet Access, to learn how to setup your own Wi-Fi Hotspot.
What can I do at a Wi-Fi-FreeSpot?
The Wi-Fi wireless broadband connection allows you to do anything you'd do from home or the office. You can surf the Web, check your e-mail, connect to your Corporate network (be sure to use a secure VPN connection), make free Voice over IP phone calls, play online games, update your blog, and IM with your friends. If you just have a modem dial-up account at home you'll probably end up spending more time at the Wi-Fi-FreeSpot once you see how much faster it is. Who knows, maybe you'll give up your dial-up account and just use the Wi-Fi-FreeSpot when you want to go online.(Your ability to send e-mail from a Wi-Fi-FreeSpot is somewhat dependent on the policy of your local Internet Service Provider(ISP) that provides your home/office internet and e-mail access - some ISPs restrict the ability to send email when not connected to the Internet directly through them. If you have a problem ask the Wi-Fi-FreeSpot location owner for their SMTP server info, or consider a web based e-mail account for use at a Wi-Fi- FreeSpot.)
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