This is a great question. Numerous factors are involved here. There are two components to wi-fi software, a client, and a server. Most phones come free with wi-fi client capabilities, that is, the phone itself has the capability, even without a cellular phone plan, to connect to a publicly available wi-fi connection, such as at a public library. Pads, and most laptops come with similar built-in wi-fi network cards. This is the client-side use of wi-fi.
Wi-fi capable printers are also wi-fi clients. Every client must be able to connect to a wi-fi server in order to communicate with other clients also connected to the same server. In other words, even though there are no wires, the invisible wire-less connections still have to be made to the single point of contact–the server router. That server router is like an old-fashioned telephone operator who plugs this call into that call so the two can communicate, and if the device is already communicating to someone else, tells the third caller to wait because the line is busy.
A cellular “hot-spot” is simply a miniature wi-fi server/router. Most cellular companies charge a fee for this service, because it effectively turns your cellular phone into an Internet router service provider (expensive for airwave use). With home or office Internet services, turning your phone into a hot-spot wi-fi (server) is generally unnecessary. Within an office environment on wi-fi, a cell phone hot-spot is the MOST expensive and temporary way to go. The most effective method is to setup a private wi-fi network, and connect all your devices to it. Use your phone as a wi-fi client to connect to the wi-fi box, and save some dollars by eliminating the wi-fi hot-spot function of your phone.
Even so, once a wi-fi router server is in place, still a number of settings must be correctly configured to get everything talking the same language. Call BA’s 903 243-9588 for an appointment and we will evaluate and resolve your need*.
*Conditional on your devices’ capabilities. Printers that are not directly wi-fi compatible can be used with proper configuration.