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I just bought a 9" d2 android tablet and it has both. When I turn on the hot spot it shares my connection with other tablet -- but doesn't give me a conection.

So I guess my question is: why have a wifi and be able to have a wifi hot-spot only to be able to share my conection -- in which, I don't have on my tablet that I'm using to share that -spot?!?!?!

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Wi-Fi Adapter = Wi-Fi connection adapting capability of tablet.
Using it, you can connect with an existing Wi-Fi hotspot (which broadcasts the network).

Wi-Fi Hotspot = Wi-Fi connection broadcasting capability of tablet.
Using it, you can create a portable virtual hotspot similar to Wi-Fi routers which other devices can connect to.
Unfortunately, when hotspot is turned on, Wi-Fi adapter is turned off. So, the device can't be used as Wi-Fi Repeater.

What're the uses of Wi-Fi hotspot in tablet?

  • Share mobile internet connection if your tablet has GSM, WCDMA, LTE etc capabilities.

  • Share mobile broadband gained by USB dongle attached with the tablet.

  • Share files and folders.

  • Share other networking services to enjoy multiplayer gaming etc.

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Lets break down the 2 features here, with the Wi-Fi connection option, 'Your Device' can connect to the internet using someone else Wi-Fi (that's straight forward enough).

However the Wi-Fi HotSpot option will let other devices use your internet connection through Wi-Fi.

Now let us take 3 examples to clarify the difference:

  1. You are connected to the internet using your phone's Cellular Data (GPRS/EDGE/3G etc). IOn this case you are not using your Wi-Fi connection option, but you can still share your internet connection through Wi-Fi Hotspot. Keep in mind anyone connecting to your hotspot is now using your phone's internet connection, so they are actually increasing your phone bill.

  2. You are not connected to the internet at all. In this scenario, the Wi-Fi hotspot (if turned on) will still be visible, and people will still be able to connect, however they won't be able to access the internet as your phone is not. Think of it like an outage from your ISP, your home's router is working but the internet connection is not.

  3. In this case your are connected through Wi-Fi, and are also using your Wi-Fi hotspot. This works like a chain, your phone is connected to something (probably a router) which is connected to the internet, other phones can now connect to your phone and in return be connected in-directly to the router. This unfortunately is not possible in android device as pointed out by @Sachin.

So basically currently Wi-Fi can be used either to let your device use someone else's connection OR let others use your device's connection.

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Your point 3 isn't possible with Android devices, yet. When you turn on hotspot, Wi-Fi adpater is turned off. OP has also mentioned this in the question. – Evil Angel Nov 26 '12 at 11:37
@SS Turning on Hotspot doesn't turn off Wi-fi Adapter as Hotspot itself used AP capability of Wifi adapter. It only seems OFF so that user doesn't get confused in why Wifi is ON but not working. – Firelord Mar 7 '15 at 7:20
@Firelord I am talking over logical layer. It doesn't just seems OFF. A user can't connect to a Wi-Fi network at all. – Evil Angel Mar 7 '15 at 7:43

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