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Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Guest Writer

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WiFi Mobile Broadband Differences

As people become increasingly dependent upon their smartphones, tablets, and laptops to help them run their everyday lives, it is becoming even more important to find wireless networks in which to connect to the Internet. Words like Wi-Fi and mobile broadband are being thrown around ever more often in advertisements and vendor presentations. Is there a difference between Wi-Fi and mobile broadband? There used to be a clear difference, but the lines between the two are starting to blur as users’ appetites for Internet access continues to grow.

Wi-Fi is a low range local area wireless network. A Wi-Fi router connects to some type of Internet connection, which is then made available via the wireless network to any wireless device within its range. The range of a Wi-Fi wireless network is normally about 50 to 100 meters, but it can be even less depending on the number of obstructions such as walls that it has to penetrate. A Wi-Fi wireless network can be password protected or even encrypted. It can also be left open for anyone with a wireless device to use if the administrator so desires. Wi-Fi wireless networks are operated by many businesses like coffee shops as a convenience to their customers. Many homes now run their own Wi-Fi wireless networks since they are so easy to setup, and there is not much of a cost increase over a regular home Internet network using cables.

Mobile broadband uses mobile telephone technology to allow users to access the Internet wherever they are located. Mobile broadband is a long range network, and as long as your mobile device is within range of a cellphone tower, you can be connected to the Internet. A typical mobile broadband device for a laptop plugs into the USB port of the laptop and allows the computer to use the mobile broadband device for its Internet connection in place of a traditional hardline.

The line between Wi-Fi and mobile broadband has blurred in the last couple of years as new mobile broadband devices have emerged that not only provides a connection to the Internet, but which also runs its own small Wi-Fi wireless network. Thus a user could have one mobile broadband device, but there could be multiple wireless devices sharing the mobile broadband device’s Internet connection. Cellphone companies are even incorporating this technology into their smartphones and allowing them to be used as a small wireless network. Naturally, this is not free, and users will pay a price for the convenience of operating their own mobile Wi-Fi wireless network.

Vendors are continuing to find ways to improve wireless access for users, so in the years ahead, there will probably be an ever increasing number of ways for users to stay connected to the Internet regardless of where they are located. Even now you can find free Wi-Fi Hotspots at hundreds of businesses in just about any major city in the world. And with a mobile broadband device, you can be driving down the interstate while your kids are in the backseat surfing the Internet. Undoubtedly, even better ways to stay connected to the Internet are being created in labs all around the work. The world is definitely getting smaller every year.

The author of this article Jane Collins is amazed by the amount of broadband deals now available.

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