Wireless internet services are offered over wide coverage areas in a dedicated private frequency range. They may be provided either through a fixed point-to-point wireless network or as fully mobile wireless services. Mobile wireless services are offered over most of the US through cellular phone networks, while fixed wireless is more typical of rural and remote areas.
Wireless performance and coverage has improved dramatically in recent years and is continuing to improve. Most wireless providers have upgraded to 4G (4th generation) technology where downloads can reach 10 Mbps, but network congestion, user location and the capability of the computer or mobile device can reduce performance. Practical speeds of 2.0-6.0 Mbps can be expected on a 4G coverage zone while a 3G user can typically expect speeds from 600 kbps to 1.4 Mbps. Uploads are usually one half to one third of download speeds.
INSTALLATION AND OPTIONS
While mobile devices such as smart phones are built to access wireless networks, your computer or tablet may not be. There are a few options for connecting your computer to a wireless data network. The simplest is to use your wireless device as a hotspot, but depending on your plan, your wireless provider may not allow this. In these cases a wireless modem, USB modem or network card may be available from the provider to connect your computer to the wireless network. Lastly, your wireless internet provider may offer a "wireless hotspot" that acts as a both a wireless router and a wireless modem. These "hotspots" are small portable devices that act as a 3G/4G wireless modem for all of your wireless enabled technology within range.
Generally $40.00 to $65.00 per month. Pricing may depend on the length of the contract with the provider. Devices may or may not be included. Data download restrictions may apply and activation fees may also factor into your plan. Be sure to read the fine print and fully understand your total cost.
Wireless internet performance, much like is dependent on a "clean signal" from the wireless provider. If the signal is weak or distorted, performance will be reduced or it simply will not work. The signal can be weakened by local geography and the location of the wireless modem or device in your home or office. Again, like cellular service, dead spots can be found even within a coverage area. If your signal is weak, try moving the modem to a different location. Signal boosters or standard wireless routers and home networking can extend the service range within your home if the modem's ideal location is away from your computer. If a good location cannot be found, contact your wireless service provider for assistance. Your wireless internet service is mobile only within the providers service area.
Be sure to evaluate all options before choosing a high speed internet or wireless service provider.