What is wireless broadband?
Wireless broadband is the new technology that allows you to access internet without telephone wires or cable network. In other words, you are no longer confined to a limited space where wired network is setup, whether in your home or your office. This means, with your laptop, you can access internet from anywhere in your home or office or even on move providing that you have necessary wireless equipment and an access point nearby.
A Wi-fi connection or wireless mode of internet access depends on two things an access point (this is what the so called hotspots provide in public places like restaurants etc) and wireless equipment like wireless router. The hotspot or access point transmits the data in the form of radio waves and the wireless router receives the data and passes on to your computer. Depending on the distance from the access point and the performance of your wireless router, the quality and stability of your connection may vary.
A new kind of emerging wireless broadband is mobile wireless broadband which enables you to get broadband access via mobile phone transmission towers. This wireless technology has made your internet connection possible even without hotspots or access points. However, the quality of service depends on the strength of signal in your area. All your PC or laptop needs are a special transmission card or a USB equipment to access the broadband service from your ISP.
Advantages of Wireless broadband
Basically, the needs of users determine the future course of any technology. When traditional dial-up could not meet the communication needs of users in terms of bandwidth, speed, reliability and service quality, broadband emerged as a solution. The technologies like ADSL and cable network deliver broadband with speeds up to 100Mbps. This makes the downloading of huge files of many Giga Bytes possible in minutes. Moreover, ADSL, the dominant broadband technology and cable network have greater reliability to their credit. Also the setup cost to access broadband using those technologies was significantly cheaper. Despite these factors, the up-take of wireless broadband is increasing nowadays. This clearly shows how the factors like wireless environment and greater mobility make wireless broadband so attractive to the users.
You may like to go for wireless for following reasons:
To get rid of mess of wires: If you have plans to setup home networking, the traditional wired network would run metres of wires around your house making it unsightly and horrible at times. On the other hand, wireless network make your home or office tidy without wires even when multiple users share a single broadband connection.
To enjoy the freedom of mobility: Wireless broadband has another significant advantage. You are connected to internet or other PCs from any part of your premises. So, you can move your PC/laptop to anywhere within the coverage area and continue to work without getting disconnected. Even you can connect to internet on a moving train!
How to go wireless?
To use a wireless network, first, you will require suitable hardware like a wireless router. Secondly, you need to choose the provider who offers wireless router with all the necessary configurations thus making your switch to wireless environment much easier and simpler.
If you consider buying a wireless router, you need to
- Choose the right type of compatible wireless router
- Check whether the encryption key that comes with the router provides full security features. For example, WPA2-AES encryption key offers the best security to your network.
- Check whether it comes with a good firewall
- Check how many PCs you can connect. This you can know by finding how many ports it has
- Check whether it has come with USB key in case you want to use it with your desktop PC.
Please read our networking article, to get more information on networking.
Choose a provider who offers wireless support
Most leading ISPs in the UK offer wireless router with their packages. When you sign up for AOL Wireless or BT Total Option 2 or any Be package, sometimes you get free wireless router free of cost or at slashed prices. As these wireless routers are compatible with the respective provider's service and are also pre-configured, you can go wireless as soon as you get the kit from your provider.
If the installation requires some professional help, you can get it either free or for some charges directly from your trustworthy service provider.
Wireless broadband packages
The leading ISPs in the UK like AOL, BT and Be offer wireless routers when you sign up for their packages. Although wireless environment is optional and depends up on your preference, wireless internet access provides greater freedom and mobility that you can enjoy with your family or in office or anywhere you like.
Check our Broadband Jargon Buster section for descriptions of various terms used in Broadband technology.