What is wireless Internet connection?
Wireless Internet connections are a good option when you need a certain level of flexibility and mobility. There are several types of such connections on the market with different speeds and coverage ranges. Some of them have data transfer speeds comparable to cable Internet, some of them are slower. So general advice would be to determine what you will be doing with it and what speed you need for your particular purposes.
How does wireless Internet work?
All wireless connections are based on one and the same principle. There is a unit transmitting the signal (such as radio tower, antenna, satellite, Wi-Fi router, etc.) and some receiving unit (mobile phone, tablet, laptop, satellite dish, dongle, USB modem, etc.).
Popular types of wireless Internet connections
Generally there are several most popular types of wireless Internet connections. All of them have their features, advantages and disadvantages. You need to check them all in order to understand what type will best suit your particular needs.
Wireless satellite Internet
Satellite Internet suits well for rural areas where there is no cable Internet and no mobile phone available. It requires only a small dish antenna and a satellite modem. However, the speed of such a wireless connection is relatively slow. Besides satellite Internet is sensitive to weather conditions and the receiving unit should be positioned with a clear view to the south (that’s because an orbiting satellite is located over the equator area).
There are public Wi-Fi networks that you can access with a Wi-Fi-enabled device. But a more popular option is an individual Wi-Fi hotspot. It is used as an add-on to your cable Internet. So you have a wire Internet at home connected to a Wi-Fi router. It gives you a certain freedom and flexibility. But the coverage of such a spot is quite limited – usually just several dozen feet from the router.
The speed of Wi-Fi Internet is lower than DSL or cable Internet but it is usually enough even for HD video streaming and playing games online. So it perfectly suits for the majority of homes.
WIMAX is similar to Wi-Fi, but it has wider coverage range (up to 50 km in radius). This technology also requires hardware with WIMAX support.
Fixed Wireless Internet
This type of wireless broadband Internet access is based on mounted antennas pointed at signal transmitting towers (ground stations). The receiving equipment is called transceiver and it is usually installed on your building. The main disadvantage of this type of connection is that it requires line of sight access between the transceiver and a ground station.
Wireless mobile Internet
This type of Internet connection is available for all users of mobile phones. The signal is being transmitted via the same cell phone towers that are used for providing voice and SMS services for mobile phones.
There are two most popular standards for this type of Internet connection – 3G and 4G. They are based on a similar principle but differ in speeds. 4G is an upgraded version of 3G and has much higher data transfer rate. You can access mobile Internet from your cell phone, tablet, laptop and even from your PC (however, you will need special card or modem to access it from your PC).