Wireless Internet is a commonly used phrase in place of wireless broadband or mobile broadband. But wireless internet can also mean many other things, which can make it a very confusing term indeed!
This page gives brief descriptions and explanations of the types of wireless internet that are available and what they can mean. You’ll soon work out the type of Wireless Internet that is most of interest to you.
3G Mobile Broadband – this website provides a comparison of 3G mobile broadband plans and deals. This is the type of wireless internet you get with either a monthly subscription or on a prepaid recharge system. For example you may join up on a plan that gives you 1GB of mobile broadband for $15 per month. This is wireless internet that is available within mobile phone company coverage areas.
You generally need a USB modem, a datacard or to have inbuilt 3G in your laptop, netbook or iPad. A sim card will connect you to the mobile phone company’s 3G network. Telstra calls their 3G product NextG, which is essentially a fast 3G network based on Telstra coverage.
Home Wi-Fi Network – you can create a wireless local area network (WLAN) at home with a wireless modem. 802.11 is the most commonly used Wi-Fi technology – and you may have seen it on the side of the box for your ADSL2+ wireless modem.
This sort of wireless internet taps into your home broadband connection – whether it be ADSL, ADSL2, Cable+ or Naked DSL – and distributes the internet within a local area. For 802.11b or 802.11g modems with a standard antenna, the range is about 30m indoors and about 90m outdoors. Local conditions can obviously effect these distances. A 802.11n modem can create a WLAN with up to double the reach of these distances.
Home Wi-Fi networks are popular as they allow multiple devices to access the one internet connection including laptops, iPods, mobile phones and iPads. Any data that is used comes off the home broadband allowance and there are no additional monthly fees or charges to access this convenience.
Home Wi-Fi networks have become increasingly popular with console game players with online gaming now available on the Nintendo Wii, XBox and other systems. Playing Mario Kart against people throughout the world is a lot of fun!
Wi-Fi Hot Spots – local area networks that can be used to access the internet in public places are known as Hot Spots. The most common technology used to deliver this wireless internet is Wi-Fi.
This form of wireless internet can be commonly found in university campuses, coffee shops, cafes, hotel lobbies, airports, train stations and many more locations. It can either be free or commercial when payment is required to access the internet. McDonalds for example has rolled out Wi-Fi Hotspots in its restaurants throughout Australia – presumably to keep some customers in the restaurant longer and also as a competitive advantage marketing ploy.
Corporate Wireless – wireless broadband has become increasingly popular in recent years as a primary broadband link for some businesses or as a redundant link for others.
Some businesses cannot get access to ADSL2+ or adequate broadband services in their locations due to Fibre RIMs, sub exchanges, full exchanges and other reasons. Corporate wireless internet becomes a very attractive option for such businesses as it can deliver high bandwidth broadband services without worrying about the typical infrastructure issues.
One of the benefits of corporate wireless internet is that providers such as BigAir can provide speeds from 1Mbps up to 100Mbps – much greater bandwidth than traditional ADSL2+ services.
Corporate wireless internet is also used by larger companies as a redundant broadband connection. If copper or fibre cables in the street are damaged, broadband connections may be crippled for days and even weeks. How long could your business survive without internet? 10 minutes of downtime usually sends businesses into panic, let alone days or weeks!
A redundant wireless internet link with a provider like BigAir can scale up to 100Mbps within minutes. So if your business doesn’t have a back up solution for the internet, it would be a worthwhile investment of time to look into getting one.
WiMax – is a region wide wireless broadband service. For example several ISPs have been rolling out WiMax to areas where traditional ADSL is unavailable – some in regional areas and some even in metro locations.
For example Internode has rolled 10 WiMAX base stations using the 3.4 gigahertz licensed spectrum on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia. According to Internode reports, customers are downloading at 6Mbps even 30km from the base stations. Adam Internet has launched a WiMax network throughout several Adelaide suburban areas where there is no ADSL availability. This WiMax project was jointly funded by the South Australian government.