Wi-Fi to Ethernet adapters
Wi-Fi to Ethernet adapters are devices that bridge Ethernet and Wi-Fi networks. Initially, these adapters were popular in the console gaming community as a way of connecting consoles with Ethernet ports to home W-Fi networks and the Internet.
So how can users of portable mobile LTE or WiMAX hotspots benefit from using a Wi-Fi to Ethernet adapter? Easy -- instead of using an adapter to connect a single machine (or game console) to a hotspot, connect it to an Ethernet switch instead. This in turn gives each machine on a home Ethernet network an Internet connection.
There are benefits to the arrangement. Hardware costs savings is one: Wi-Fi cards or adaptors don't need to be purchased for machines using Ethernet as the sole method of network connectivity. Setup time is also reduced because the Wi-Fi to Ethernet adaptor is the only device that needs initial setup. This is because most computers using Ethernet connect using the DHCP protocol, which assigns a network address, and consequently will likely see little difference connecting to the Internet through a bridged hotspot connection.
Finally, most portable hotspot devices permit a limited number of Wi-Fi connections at the same time. Therefore, using a Wi-Fi to Ethernet adapter to connect multiple Ethernet devices through one Wi-Fi connection "frees up" the number of available hotspot connections for tablets and mobiles.
The following image shows a "real world" working example of two Ethernet cables connected to a switch, in turn connected to a mobile hotspot via a Wi-Fi to Ethernet adapter. The adapter is at bottom-left, with the hotspot near the top of the image and Ethernet switch at right.
So if you have older Ethernet only devices or computers -- but don't wish to purchase multiple Wi-Fi cards or USB sticks in order to connect to a mobile hotspot, perhaps a Wi-Fi to Ethernet adapter may be an acceptable solution for your needs.
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