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What is Wireless Broadband?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
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Wireless broadband is high-speed Internet service via wireless technology. It is available in Internet cafes, local “hot spots” within many cities, private businesses and many homes. The advantage of this type of Internet connection is that the computer receiving the signal need not be tethered by an Ethernet or network cable to the broadband modem or router. The modem receives the service and transmits it via radio waves to the immediate surrounding area. Any computer equipped with wireless capacity within receiving distance can pick up the signal, making the Internet "portable."

The most common way to take advantage of wireless broadband is by using a laptop computer. The computer will need a wireless adapter, commonly available in a portable computer (PC) card format. This is a small credit-card style device that slips into an external port on the laptop. With a little configuration of the software, the laptop will start searching for a wireless signal. Once detected, a handshake is required between the laptop and the network. If the network is not protected by a secure password or other firewall protocol, the laptop will be able to connect to the wireless broadband signal.

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In Internet cafes and other public access areas, there is sometimes a fee required before the wireless laptop is granted access. However, many cities have installed wireless broadband as a courtesy to their citizens, and public access is free. A user might need to find the right spots within the city to obtain access, as the signals get weaker the farther they travel from the source.

Since wireless broadband is transmitted via radio waves, secure passwords and firewalls are used on private networks to ensure unauthorized people cannot connect to the network. Unwanted users can slow network traffic by using up valuable bandwidth resources and may create other more serious problems. Home users with wireless networks are also well advised to install security measures. Unknown users who can connect through a personal network might download illegal materials or commit other online crimes that, if investigated, would point back to the person who is sending the wireless signal. Taking proper precautions will help ensure that only the owner and those that he or she authorizes are able to use the wireless connection.

To set up the hardware for a wireless network, one needs a wireless broadband modem, router and switch, which can come combined in a single inexpensive device. A phone line is required for Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service, while cable television is required for cable broadband. A desktop usually serves as the main computer where the devices are connected. There may be physical cables that must run from the modem to the desktop, but the Internet signal itself is broadcast wirelessly and can be picked up by remote computers or laptops within the home or office.

Wireless broadband makes the Internet more convenient. When purchasing PC cards, consumers should be sure they support the speed of the wireless network since inexpensive cards might only support slower speeds.

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Discuss this Article

angeljulie3
Post 30

A wireless card is good, but I have some problem in my network services. It may be due to my location or another reason. Does anyone have a better solution?

ElmaSherry
Post 28

Without the internet technology, we can't survive in modern age of technology. Love this article.

bradpowell10
Post 25

Internet is really an urgent need for us.

gauravks
Post 8

A fixed wireless network link is a stationary terrestrial wireless connection, which can support higher data rates for the same power as mobile or satellite systems.

anon189406
Post 6

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this. I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me.

anon116719
Post 5

I'm a victim of the cross fire between Dish Network and Fox, particularly the BB games I want to watch Rockets, Mavericks and Spurs. Is there a way I can use my AT&T wireless connect to watch the games on my computer?

anon74627
Post 4

can you play online based games using wireless broadband?

anon15375
Post 2

I am a senior citizen that travels from the north east to the south for the winter...If a bought a wireless card and inserted it into my dell laptop computer, will i get service in florida and for how long ..Is it like prepaid hours ...Does it work like a prepaid cell phone...Thank you

anon3518
Post 1

When to use the different kinds of antenna?

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