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What does the "link" () mean in the Wi-Fi network list on iOS?

Example (see red rectangle):

enter image description here

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It means it's not a regular WiFi, it's a computer-to-computer network. In this case, it means that your the Wifi network host is an iPhone sharing itself as a Hotspot and other properties may be available.

See also this Apple Support article.

For personal hotspot on iPhone 8 or earlier, you can also see how many devices joined your Hotspot.

personal hotspot icon

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