cellular hotspot

(redirected from 4G to Wi-Fi)

cellular hotspot

A device that converts cellular 3G, 4G/LTE signals to Wi-Fi and vice versa. As long as a cellular signal is available, the device creates a local Wi-Fi hotspot to provide access to the Internet for some number of Wi-Fi devices nearby. The speed depends on the cellular system.

Smartphone Hotspots
Smartphones have both cellular and Wi-Fi radios built in, and most phones can be made to cross-connect the two and turn the device into a portable hotspot for Wi-Fi-only tablets and laptops. Also called "tethering."

Mobile Hotspots
Small, dedicated units are available from all carriers. Also called a "portable hotspot," "personal hotspot," "mobile router," "mobile wireless router" and "travel router," the cellular fee is either added to the user's existing data plan, or a new plan must be activated.

However, a stand-alone hotspot is one more thing to travel with. To avoid packing yet another product, cellular service can be added to laptops by plugging in a USB dongle (see cellular modem). Tablets can be purchased with a built-in cellular modem in addition to the standard Wi-Fi. Like every smartphone, the tablet's cellular phone number must be activated, although it is used for data only in most cases.

Vehicle Hotspots
Built-in units provide a Wi-Fi hotspot within the cabin of a car or truck for all passengers. In-vehicle cellular hotspots are available for many makes and models.

Stationary Hotspots
Typically called a "mobile broadband router," stationary units include a full-blown Wi-Fi base station that supports more devices over a wider range than a mobile hotspot. See mobile broadband router. See cellular vs. Wi-Fi.


Portable or Stationary
Wi-Fi hotspots can be created when traveling or at home.







Widely Available
These Verizon, AT&T and Sprint devices create hotspots as long as they find a cellular signal. (Images courtesy of Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.)







Put It Anywhere
The advantage of a mobile hotspot is its portability.
References in periodicals archive ?
Enables a seamless access experience from 3G and 4G to Wi-Fi, with no need for the subscriber to re-authenticate
The Clear Spot 4G brings 4G to Wi-Fi devices such as laptops, smartphones, and portable gaming devices.