For many, using a hot spot can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. You'll find here the questions most asked about using hot spots and how to be prepared when you do use a hot spot. Make sure that you have the right equipment and information to successfully make use of your time in a hot spot.
When I'm using Wi-Fi in a hot spot such as a coffee shop or book store, will there be any technical support available if I have problems? What can I do if I have problems?
I'm setting up a (2) desktop (1) laptop wireless network in my home. My wireless router will be the NetGear ProSafe 802.11g. My question is this; I plan on getting the NetGear ProSafe Dual Band Wireless PC card for the laptop. It will support 802.11a, b and g. Will this same card work in various WiFi spots when I travel, and if so, will it have to be re-configured for the home network every time I come home?
Public hot spots do not normally have any security in place. It is your responsibility to have a firewall installed on your laptop or use a VPN when connecting to your office network. You should make sure that you have disabled file sharing on your mobile gear before connecting to a Wi-Fi network in a public place. Failure to do so can allow someone else on the network access to your files.
In order to use a wireless hot spot you will need a wireless enabled laptop or PDA. If your mobile gear is not already wireless ready, you will need to purchase an adaptor card. There are three types of 802.11 access points available in hot spots. The most common is 802.11b although some locations offer combinations of access points. If you use Windows XP it should automatically pick up the network. If you run another OS, you will need third-party software.
Most locations do prefer that you make a purchase and some places such as McDonald's and coffee shops only offer the Wi-Fi access to customers who have made a purchase. Using a location only to use the Wi-Fi access could be deemed loitering and you could be barred from that establishment in addition to receiving a ban from all their locations. Remember, for many hot spot locations, the Wi-Fi access is a secondary business - selling their products is their first business.
Mobile office professionals can do the same work they normally do in the office using Wi-Fi access in a public hot spot. You can send emails, connect to company networks, make free voice over IP calls and use instant messaging. It is important to remember to be discreet and ensure that others can not see your data or what you are working on. It's not the time to show off and display protected company information.
No, a cell phone is not required to use a hot spot. Hot spots use wireless connections which require a wi-fi enabled laptop or PDA for a connection. A cell phone would only be required for Internet access in an area where there is not a wi-fi hot spot or other method of connecting to the Internet.