Who provides the power for WI-FI hotspots

It wasn’t till after posting this in the ‘Windows 10’ forum that I realised my mistake. So now it’s here.
I have a broadband and wifi setup from BT, which, last year, I upgraded to the faster fibre optic. All the devices I have that require Internet access, including TVs, DVD players etc., I have personally set up, configuring both I.P. and MAC addresses where appropriate, and the PCs on my home network can talk to each other: I am a retired I.T., Techie, or not, as the case may be! Anyhow, I noticed, soon after upgrading and by clicking on the desktop ‘Network’ icon, featured in Windows 10 pro, that my devices weren’t the only ones showing up? While there are a few persistent regulars, there’s also been dozens of other devices, at various times. I initially thought they were interlopers piggybacking on my wifi, as the newly installed BT Smart hub, doesn’t have the facility to filter them out; hence I bought a Netgear Nighthawk, to do just that, but low and behold, they’re still showing up! Though since that first occasion, and over time, I have installed and used various ‘Network traffic monitoring’ software packages, such as ‘Solarwinds’ and Spiceworks,’ but none reported seeing these other devices? My conclusion therefore, is that having BT., as my ISP., a company boasting that it provides over five million wifi hotspots throughout the UK., I am unwittingly, somehow, being used as part of their network and that the owners of these other devices, I guess, are signed up to one or other of the variety of packages, which BT., sell? I also assume that although these devices aren’t necessarily interfering with my intranet, they’re sufficiently close by to enable them being drawn into the infrastructure and have their signal transported through my phone line, to make their connections.

Now it may well be that this is nothing to be alarmed over; nobody being able to hack into your system this way(?), but the burning question for me is, who is powering this wifi network? After all, it doesn’t work by mirrors or magic, and BT’s equipment plugs into my electrical system. As I understand it, wifi’ a bit like an Internet Bot, is constantly patrolling and looking, in this instance, for devices looking to connect, and once found, it latches on and diverts all its energy (or rather mine!) to giving the user the best connection possible. So, it’s not just while the connection is being made that juice is being consumed; it’s a twenty-four seven situation. Now it may be that the consumption is only miniscule, but it adds up; especially (assuming it is B.T.,) when multiplied by five mil! Of course, it could be the network company, Openreach, who’s system most other UK based ISPs, including BT (who once owned it all), use. But whatever way it works, somebody must be accountable. If anyone has any insight and can shed light on this conundrum, I’d be pleased to know.

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Re: WiFi devices

That are your neighbours WiFi-routers you see. If you knew the password you could signin. You neighbours see your WiFi.

Some providers (like Ziggo in The Netherlands) have their modems configured so that they are a free hotspot for their customers passing by. The customer with the modem pays the electricity, which isn't very much since it's already turned on. I think it's reciprocal: you can only use it elsewhere if you allow it at your home. And maybe you can turn it off as modem owner. That should be in the user manual.
But that, of course, is quite something else as seeing your neighbors WiFi.

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comcast does the same

I think it is part of their xfinity package. your router is being used by comcast to create hotspots for their customers travelling your neighborhood and it can be disable and yes, it is using your electricity. It is supposed to be secure but you know how that just have to trust.

Post was last edited on August 15, 2019 9:17 AM PDT

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