What is WiFi HotSpot?
Do you know what a portable WiFi HotSpot is? It simply means your device that can act as a wireless router from which others can access your WiFi networks through your permission from the mobile WiFi device, computer, and/or other capable objects. This can be password protected in order to allow a selected few or left wide open so that anyone in range can access.
Portable WiFi HotSpot enabled device can only connect to the internet when it is within the range of a network if it has been permitted to do so. These spots where you one can find these networks are referred to as “HotSpots” and has variant ranges. They can be enabled to be used within a room or even farther than that like a big corporate building.
These networks can be setup in two ways of which you might be familiar with. They can setup free WiFi HotSpot with no charge or commercially. You might be familiar with MAC HotSpot. The commercial has become very common in hotels, just visit one and try to access the network, you will be prompted to pay a fee.
Apart from that, battery powered routers are commonly included in mobile phones. When an individual subscribes to a cellphone carrier, they are allowed to use internet from nearby WiFi stations over 2G, 3G, or 4G networks. In this modern day, phones have this ability built in and some carriers charge a fee to enable it.
Advantages of WiFi HotSpots
To clear the elephant in the room, it is cheap. It is also very convenient; most laptop production companies build this capability into the HotSpot devices. Nowadays, customers look to see if their device is coming with WiFi capabilities. As the price of chipsets plummets, it is becoming more common by the day. We will soon notice it on every device including watches.
These seemingly amazing tools have their limits in the form of range and you may encounter HotSpot problems. A normal wireless access point using an 802.11g with an antenna (stock) will have a range from 120ft to 320ft in the outdoor. When it comes to the IEEE 802.11n, it can provide a wider range, as much double the range than that of an 802.11g. A WiFi with a 2.4 GHz has more ranger than one with 5 GHz. But hope is not lost, the range can be strengthened/improved from the antenna’s which become stronger based on the direction. You might have to tilt it in different directions before you find the sweet spot or even upgrade to a new one altogether.
Wlan has some reach issues. But WiFi takes a lot more power compared to others. Devices such as the average Bluetooth that use PAN provide shorter ranges from 1 to 90m and so consume much less power than the others and thus having more battery life.
How to make your computer a WiFi HotSpot
Ask anyone who has set up a free WiFi HotSpot before; they will confirm that other people love them for it. Some shops even use that as a way to bring in potential customers. I remember the days when I used to choose a hotel for the service, now I choose it for the wireless internet service. In this modern day, one can even setup a mobile HotSpot because those small devices have that capability. Other small devices such as the pocket WiFi are just as capable. The only difference is that they are cheap in the long run and are dedicated to setting up cheap wireless internet. But mobile broadband devices are not really our concern, a computer is.
How to make a HotSpot
Before we even go there, we must first find out what our computer’s requires to do such a thing. You need is a virtual WiFi mini port adapter. It was made by Microsoft and is normally automatically installed with Vista and any other versions lower.
Let us get on to it:
You need the correct setting to do what you need. But before we continue, be sure you have the requirement as it is very important. Open on command prompt by opening up the start bar and searching for “cmd” or “command prompt”. Be sure to open it as the administrator as you will need admin rights to make some changes.
Now that we have that opened, we are very close to setting up our own spot. The first step is WiFi HotSpot creator phase. In this phase creating a name and password which I highly recommend because you do not want just anybody to go into your network. Besides, when too many people join your wireless network, it can make it very slow for everyone. So keep it between people you know and the select few you want to allow access to.
The second step requires starting the hosted network and to accomplish this, we must type (or copy/paste for some of us) this into command prompt.
- Netsh Wlan set hosted network mode=allow ssid=”insert name of ssid here” key=”insert password here”.
- Press the enter key and it is started
- Netsh Wlan start hosted network
- Press the enter key again and it is officially up and running.
Some of the networks allow you to use the internet to change settings. When prompted to do so, use these settings.
The SSID or the name of the network is normally set to the manufacturers name as the default and can be changed if you want.
The Security is where the password comes into place, set the password to what you want and to make it harder for someone to hack your information, make the password consist of special characters, capital letters, numbers, and be no less than 8 characters.
If you live in an apartment or a house, you are most likely using channel 6 unless under special circumstances.
There is a reason why network security experts are growing in demand. Hackers are becoming more popular and this means security is becoming more important. A friend of mine came out of college in the field of cyber security and immediately got a job. If you set your WiFi to an open PC HotSpot,anyone with the right device can connect and use your signal. For reasons, most individuals prefer to keep individuals out of their network.
Security always needs updating and is important to make sure yours is up to date. WEP was first created to make any wireless network as protected as any other network but hackers found a way around this. Then it was changed to WPA which uses TKIP or temporal key integrity protocol to encrypt and although it is better than the WEP, it is not secure anymore.
So how do I keep WiFi HotSpot private?
In order to keep your network secure, two of these methods can be used (you can also try to download HotSpot download bundles that will save you tons of time):
Media access control or Mac is different from the normal WEP, WPA, etc. Instead of using password as a method of encryption, it uses physical hardware. If you are already aware each computer has its own address (MAC) and MAC filtering allows devices/machines with a specific address to get into the network. In order for new computers to connect, their addresses must to put into a list of approved addresses. Sounds good but has a vulnerability, a good hacker can change their mac address to a known address that has been allowed in order to spoof themselves into your network.
WPA2 or the WiFi Protected Access 2 is right after the WEP and WPA and is now the most recommended method of security for your network. It uses advanced Encryption. Among all, it is highly recommended you use AES method of encryption as it is the most secure.
Another way is WPS which uses a PIN. As easy as it is to setup, it is highly vulnerable in the hand of the average hacker. So I highly recommend you stay away from this method of security.
Now that it is up and running, go ahead and share the ID and password to those you intend to and when they get in range, should be able to activate their WiFi connectors to your device and simply insert the password when asked. After that they are officially using your network too and you might even get a nice pat on the back.
I remember back when I first got USB WiFi, I had people hanging out around my porch to get free WiFi. Then I changed the password and they disappeared. It gave me an idea; I simply put a sign on my front door saying anyone who wants the password to my network will have to talk to me to which they listened. I chose about 4 people to receive the password and got a pat on the back. I became best friends with 2 of those later because it turns out we both have a liking for technology. Anyway, what I am saying is the way you decide to use the WiFi is completely up to you. You can do what I did which is to make friends or you something else. Either way, use your new found power wisely.