Hot Spot

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.

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.