hot spot definition

For users of portable computers equipped for wireless, a hot spot (or hotspot) is a wireless LAN (local area network) node that provides Internet connection and virtual private network (VPN) access from a given location. For example, a business traveller with a laptop equipped for Wi-Fi can look up a local hot spot, contact it, and get connected through its network to reach the Internet and their own company remotely with a secure connection. Increasingly, public places, such as airports, hotels, and coffee shops are providing free wireless access for customers.

The Wi-Fi Alliance provides a list of hot spots through its Wi-Fi Zone program. A number of companies such as Sprint and Cometa plan to provide a nationwide network of hot spots.

This was first published in February 2006

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