Advantages and Disadvantages of Wi-Fi Hotspots

There has been a large increase is Wi-Fi hotspots over the last few years. These allow people to access the internet using laptops or other devises when they are away from their home or office. There are a number of advantages to being able to connect to the internet via Wi-Fi hotspots but there are also some disadvantages.


The main benefit is that people can access the internet from a variety of different locations. Most of the time they are not that far from somewhere they can obtain internet access, so if they need to catch up with their emails, for example, they can. Café’s, airports and on trains are amongst the places that tend to have Wi-Fi hotspots. This means those who regularly travel during the working day can use the internet for work while on the train, making them more productive and meaning they won’t have to catch up at another time. Wi-Fi means that if you need to do something online and have your laptop with you, you might be able to find a Wi-Fi hotspot and can therefore access the internet.


There has been a growth in ways of accessing the internet. People are using other devices apart from traditional computers and laptops, with mobile phones and smart phones the most common of these. People, these days, want access to their emails and the internet as easily as they can check their voicemail, and Wi-Fi is extensively used for this.


Some businesses have used Wi-Fi as a marketing tool, giving customers free internet access. These include Starbucks and McDonalds. Customers being able to access the internet while drinking their Coffee or having a meal has become one of their selling points.


While many benefit from being able to gain Wi-Fi internet access, especially when it is free, there are also some disadvantages. Access can be limited and coverage intermittent. It is not always as simple and reliable as accessing the internet from home. There are also security issues. Accessing the web from a Wi-Fi hotspot is not always secure, which could be an issue if you are dealing with sensitive information such as bank details and important passwords or working over a business network. Some criminals have seen Wi-Fi as an opportunity to hack into personal information others are dealing with. This is a lot easier when people are using Wi-Fi hotspots and this behaviour is more difficult to track as the guilty party is using the same network as many other users.


While security can be a major issue with Wi-Fi, there are things that can be done to reduce the risk. All business networks should have security measures in place, with a VPN being the best option. A VPN is a virtual private network which uses encryption so data cannot be easily intercepted. For other users, individual devices can have a VPN installed to prevent private information from being hacked into. They can also use WPA/WEP encryption. This will encode data transmitted between your computer and the wireless router. This will mean data travelling between your computer and the internet is encrypted so hackers cannot interpret it.


Andrew Marshall ©