How do I stop my BT router being a hotspot?

Whether you’ve just signed up to BT recently or you’ve been with them for a while, you’ve probably noticed their BT Wifi networks all over the place. You can easily find them when you’re trying to connect to a public network.

The truth is that these public networks often piggyback off of your own wifi router at home. This means that when you look in your network tab (depending on what device you’re using), you might find some other devices in there that you don’t recognize.

These are all devices that are using your router, but they are not actually using your private wifi network. Even so; how can you stop your BT router being a hotspot for other people? Well, here’s the easiest way to do this.

How do I stop my BT router being a hotspot?

If you want to stop your BT router for being a hotspot for other people, then you can do so in your BT account. Just head over to the My Extras section, where you can opt out from having your router being part of the BT Wifi network.

Bear in mind that if you do decide to do this, then you won’t be able to use BT Wifi yourself when you’re out and about. Plus, it won’t happen overnight – it could take up to a month for you to be disconnected from the service officially.

But, it’s very easy for you to opt out from the service. You can disable BT wi-fi with Fon within your settings quite easily, and if you can’t find how to do that, then you can just call BT customer service for a little help.

Before you do though, you should probably learn exactly how BT Wifi with Fon and the BT public wifi networks actually work. Then, you can make a more informed decision.

How does BT Wifi work?

Something that’s often misunderstood is how BT Openzone actually works. Many people think that the Openzone network is provided by the green electricity boxes on the side of the road, but this isn’t actually the case.

Actually, nowadays we refer to it as simply BT Wi-fi, or BT Wi-fi with Fon. The company have essentially merged the Openzone name and the Fon name into one larger network, which we now refer to as BT Wi-fi. Though, some people will still call it Openzone.

Instead, the BT Wifi/Openzone network actually piggybacks off of its customers routers, including yours if you’re with BT, to send out the BT Wifi signal. This is free for all BT broadband users, and is a good way to use wifi when you’re out and about.

But, doesn’t this affect my wifi usage?

It’s a common misconception that when your router is being used essentially as a hotspot for other people, that you might be charged for this. This isn’t the case.

Your private network is still completely separate to the public BT wifi network – there’s no crossover between the two. This means that there’s no chance that anyone logging into the public network can use your data. And more importantly, there’s no way that they could access your personal information.

People that are just switching to BT often have concerns over the way that this Openzone system works. The good thing about BT wifi is that it tends to be pretty reliable, but this isn’t always the case.

If you’re struggling with a poor connection at home, then there’s a few different things you can try to fix this. One is to purchase a wifi adapter, which you can use to increase the connection between your router and your device.

You can also consider the typical advice that’s used for anyone with slow internet speeds. This includes turning your router off and back on again, as well as performing a factory reset if necessary too. Let’s look at more questions about BT routers and BT wi-fi in general.

Are people using my Plusnet Router as a hotspot?

If you’re concerned about people using your Plusnet router as a hotspot, then you’re in luck. None of the Plusnet routers that are actually available to the public can be used as a hotspot. So, for you folk, this is something you won’t have to worry about.

How can I tell if someone is using my BT wifi?

It’s very easy to see whether someone is connected to your BT router. You can do this by using the BT app, and checking your home network. If you go into Connected Devices, then you’ll be able to see all of the devices that have connected to your home wifi.

Does BT hotspot use my bandwidth?

No, it doesn’t matter how many different devices have connected to BT wifi via your router – this will still have no effect on the speed of your home network. This is because the other devices are using a completely separate network to your home one.

Why does my BT hotspot keep disconnecting?

If you’re out in public using the BT Hotspot, then there are a few different reasons why you may have been disconnected. Of course, the person who’s router you was connected to may have turned it off, but more than likely, you’ve moved out of proximity of the router you’re connected to. Try moving back to your previous position and see if this reconnects you.

How can I use BT hotspot for free?

Anyone who’s with BT can connect to a free BT wifi hotspot when they’re out and about. You just have to connect via the app to do this. You’ll need to log into your BT account to do this. Those that aren’t with BT can still use their hotspots, though you’ll have to pay a fee for the privilege.


Honestly, in my opinion, the benefits of having the ability to connect to BT wifi when you’re out and about completely outweigh the negatives of having other people connect to the BT wifi network via your personal router. These two aren’t intertwined, so there’s nothing bad that can really come of this.

But, for those who really don’t want anyone piggybacking off of their wifi network, then you can easily resolve this by just turning the option off in your account. This will make sure that no-one can use your wifi network as a hotspot.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

6 thoughts on “How do I stop my BT router being a hotspot?”

  1. “No, it doesn’t matter how many different devices have connected to BT wifi via your router – this will still have no effect on the speed of your home network. This is because the other devices are using a completely separate network to your home one.”

    Correct, your LAN bandwidth will not suffer but you may see glitches/short slow downs on your WAN side. Although BT claim to prioritise your internet traffic over any member of the public that connects to your router, there is always the potential for a spike in bandwidth and it’ll take the BT router a few seconds to police the traffic of the public and then prioritise yours. I cannot imagine the traffic policing/prioritising/QoS feature on BT home routers is good enough to provide a 100% guarantee your traffic will never, not even for a second, be affected if both you and members of the public fully utilise your bandwidth a the same time.

    If would be difficult to say how much of an affect this would have (very minimal for 99% of BT customers) but it would be nice if BT provided a page to show how many public users are currently connected to your router for BT-WIFi and how much bandwidth they are utilising. It could also help with diagnostics, i.e. you may be able to correlate the occasional online gaming lag when 1 or more public users are connected to your router,

    • Can you be more specific, Lesley? Do you mean you simply can’t use the public btwifi SSID at home? If so, I think that’s an acceptable, and expected, tradeoff.

  2. The only sure way is to get a sheet of lead and make a box that fits over the router. You then connect via cable to the router. End of problem, even works with so called non hot spot routers by plusnet.

    • Novel solution, Bill. I like it! I suppose one could also build a small Faraday cage around the router to accomplish same effect without having to deal with lead, etc 😀


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