How to Set Up Wi-Fi Hotspots

By John C. Erianne

A Wi-Fi hotspot is an access point that allows users to connect to the Internet wirelessly. Wi-Fi hotspots are usually found in large urban areas, libraries, hotels, Internet cafes and some restaurants. Most notebook computers now come with wireless access capability. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi coverage is sparse in many areas. As such, Wi-Fi hotspots --- particularly free wireless hotspots --- are in demand. Providing a free wireless hotspot is not only a good way to expand Internet access in your own home, but is also an excellent service to provide customers of a small business establishment with.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Broadband internet
  • Wireless router
  • Ethernet cable

Steps

Step 1

Decide on the coverage area. Most commercially available routers come in two basic flavors: the 802.11g (Wireless-G) and the 802.11n (Wireless-N) type. For a small Wi-Fi network, you can get by with a Wireless-G router. However, if you don't mind spending a little extra money, the Wireless-N type is faster and offers a wider coverage area.

Step 2

Set up the router. Connect your broadband cable into the router. Plug the Ethernet cable into the router and the other end into the Ethernet port on the back of your computer. Connect the power cable.

Step 3

Set-up your network. Your router should come with installation software and a handy set-up guide. Run the installation software. Type "ipconfig/all" and hit enter again. You should now have access to your router's network detail, including the default gateway address. Type this address into your web browser. Enter your user name and password when prompted (this should be included with your router documentation). Configure your network settings.

Step 4

Separate your personal network from your personal network. Many wireless router models allow guest networking. (Prior to purchasing your router, make sure it has this feature.. Create a new guest network separate from your personal network. This guest network will serve as your public hotspot secure from your private network.

Step 5

List your hotspot in a public hotspot database such as Wi-Fi HotSpot List.

Tips & Warnings

  • Finding a good signal with a wireless router is often hit or miss. Position the router so that it's unobstructed by objects that might interfere with signal strength such as concrete or metal.
  • Hotspots with a range larger than 200 yards will likely require mounting an external high-gain antennae and connecting it to the router.
  • Public Wi-Fi hotspots are vulnerable to hackers. When configuring your hotspot, choose to encrypt the connection and disable file sharing. As an added measure, enable the firewall.