Discovery Hub

What is a hotspot and how does it work?


There are countless benefits to WiFi hotspots, which provide internet access when you are not connected to your home internet. Staying connected means you’ll never miss an important conversation, a favorite TV show, or a "had to see it to believe it" sports moment. And WiFi hotspots make it easier than ever to work, stream, play, and more — wherever you are.  

Read on to learn more and get connected. 

What is a hotspot?

Hotspots are wireless access points that allow you to connect devices to the internet. Hotspots can be found at coffee shops, universities, libraries, airports, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and other locations. They can even be found from your home if you live within range of a hotspot.  

How does a hotspot work?

Also known as WiFi hotspots, these sites primarily utilize WiFi technology, which allows electronic devices to connect to the internet or exchange data wirelessly through radio waves. 

What are the types of hotspots?

Mobile WiFi hotspots:

A phone-based option — known as a "mobile hotspot" — is a compact 4G LTE or 5G wireless router on one's mobile device that can connect any WiFi-enabled device within approximately 30 feet. Wireless internet hotspots let users connect any WiFi-enabled device to the cellular network of their choice. These hotspots work without any wires because they are connected via 4G LTE or 5G coverage.  

Public WiFi hotspots

You are likely already familiar with public WiFi hotspots, as they are commonly available at coffee shops, airports, hotels, and more. They enable quick, convenient access to the internet when away from home.  

Portable WiFi hotspots

A portable WiFi hotspot is a device that functions similarly to your router. It delivers a personal hotspot and dedicated internet connectivity to your devices instead of the open connection that a public WiFi hotspot offers.

Xfinity WiFi Hotspots

Xfinity WiFi Hotspots

Enjoy WiFi access on the go with millions of free Xfinity WiFi hotspots nationwide while shopping, dining, traveling, and more. Even better? Easy, instant hotspot access is included at no extra charge for Xfinity Internet customers.

Learn About Xfinity WiFi Hotspots

Connect to Xfinity WiFi hotspots

With Xfinity Internet, customers have access to millions of secure Xfinity WiFi hotspots nationwide — included at no extra cost. 

To connect to an Xfinity WiFi hotspot, learn more here. Or, download the Xfinity WiFi app so you can easily locate Xfinity WiFi hotspots in cities across the country, including Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and New York City. This app also provides directions to WiFi hotspots near you and creates a list of your favorite hotspot locations. 

Get internet at home and on the go with Xfinity

The best way to a fast and reliable connection is to subscribe to Xfinity Internet. With a variety of speed choices and prices, you and your friends and family will have consistent service at home and access to all of Xfinity’s WiFi hotspots at no extra charge. Need fast, reliable internet with WiFi hotspot access included? Shop the latest deals with Xfinity Internet.  

Not an Xfinity Internet customer, but want hotspot access? For just $20, NOW WiFi Pass features unlimited data and access to over 22 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots nationwide for 30 days. There’s no equipment required, no commitments, and no cancellation fees. Learn how to get connected.  


Restrictions apply. Xfinity WiFi hotspots only available in Xfinity’s service territory. Xfinity Internet and Xfinity Mobile customers access to Xfinity WiFi hotspots included with their service.   

NOW WiFi Pass only available on WiFi hotspots that are owned and operated by Xfinity. Service not available with other companies' hotspots including those that offer Xfinity WiFi access (e.g., in stadiums or at certain business locations).   

Actual speeds will vary and are not guaranteed and may be impacted by a variety of conditions, including congestion. Xfinity does not guarantee that an Xfinity WiFi hotspot will be available in all locations or that a connection will be obtainable. Xfinity is not responsible for any failed or incomplete connection or for the privacy or security of any data transmitted to or from your device on any Xfinity WiFi hotspot.   

Pricing and services subject to change. No partial redemptions. Not redeemable for cash, except to the extent required by applicable law. Subject to the NOW WiFi Pass Services Terms of Service. For help or more information, please contact the phone number provided on your email confirmation at time of purchase.