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Wireless phone vs wireless internet ?

  1. Apr 12, 2005 #1
    Hey everybody,

    i was just thinking today what was the difference between wireless internet and wireless phone service ? It technology and why one provides higher bandwidth than the other.

    ANy links and information about why, what and how are these two related/different is much appreciated.

    Will wireless internet be ever as fast as cable ? why ? (link is sufficient to safe you typing but if its easy to explain go ahead)

    why dont we just build wireless internet all over the globe ? (other than economic issues ?)

    Thank u guys

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 12, 2005 #2


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    Lets see... i assume you mean cell phones as opposed to cordless phones.

    1. The radio spectrum is regulated by various government organizations in different nations. It costs a LOT of money to get some of that spectrum. You have less bandwith purchased by cell phone companies because cell phones dont need much bandwith to operate (although the changing reality... or joke as some might see it... is that cell phones are starting to need a lot more bandwith for the things they are starting to do ie. pictures, video, email, internet service). With wireless internet, since a provider isnt really competing with other providers, they can take up a lot of spectrum space. At least this is what seems logical as far as my knowledge goes (which really isnt a whole lot).

    2. "Cable" as far as it goes now is only as fast as it is because thats the way teh government has regulated it. It could go much faster if its deemed necessary. Wireless internet does have a threshold area because at some point, you cant send the signals at higher frequencies or you start presenting health problems to consumers.

    3. Electromagnetic signals weaken the further away from the transmitter you are. Cell phone towers are up all around you which allow transmission and reception of cell phone calls and sends them to outputs that transmit the signals to satellites to get cell phoen calls around the globe (or at least where theres other cell phone towers). You would need to re-build the same wireless infrastructure but more powerful for the higher bandwith home pc's requirefrom the internet. This all would have to have its own satellites too unless we integrate with ground-based internet service. So theoretically (and becoming reality) you can have worldwide internet (actually, where cell phones work.... not truely global) if you just setup the towers and integrate it into the ground based internet backbones.

    There is currently an IEEE standard going through certification and testing that will do city-wide (i think 30 mile radius) wireless internet. I think one testing zone is Philidelphia. The technology has finally reached a point where basically a station would broadcast out wireless internet just like a cell phone tower does it.
  4. Apr 12, 2005 #3
    SO wireless phones (cell phones) basically use the same technology as wireless internet. The reason we dont have wireless internet (high speed) is that higher speed requires higher frequency of propagation of the signal which can be harmfull to living things? (as i understand it).

    I should than be able to use my laptop anywhere since mobile networks cover pretty much entire USA, why am i than looking for hot spots ?

    Thanx for your answer

  5. Apr 12, 2005 #4


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    Not higher frequencies, but more of them. Say cell phones run at the same 2.4ghz frequency wireless internet does. It might take 300mhz of bandwith (like, 2.2ghz-2.5ghz) while a wireless internet connection might take up 900mhz of bandwith (both figures grossly exagerated). Someone might want to verify what i say because even as i say it it doesnt quite make total sense.

    The reason you look for a hotspot is because for one, cell phone carriers charge you up to the butt per KB of internet data and you might as well give them permanent acess to your bank account if you plan on downloading programs through the cell phone/laptop connection. At a wireless hotspot, pff, you pay 7 bucks an hour for the ability to download probably a few gigs of information if you spent all yoru time downloading. 7 gigs through a cell phone is just unheard of.
  6. Apr 13, 2005 #5
    what is the mechanism how they know who is using their signal ? I mean how can they tell if its just a EM wave ?

    would i need a special hardware to use cell phone wave on my laptop?

    Why is hotspot cheaper ?

    thanx for your answers
  7. Apr 21, 2005 #6


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    haha crap, left this one out in the open like that.

    The reciever will 'tune' into the correct channel to pick up the correct signals. The phones were pre-built to work at the certain frequencies associate dwith the company who sold them.

    You need a cord to connect to the cell phone is your cell phone even supports the feature. I think it woudl attach to a USB port on your laptop.

    Hotspots are cheaper because they run through the grounded system of tellecommunications. You can send a LOT more data through fiber optic lines at a much more reasonable price hten sending the information through the satellite system cell phones use throughout their networks. The lines used for the internet are designed to send just, masisve amounts of data.... so its cheaper to get on the hotspots.
  8. Apr 21, 2005 #7
    Thanx a lot man, im little bit smarter now.

    Do you know any links, books, anythink related to this where i could get good handle on this...?
  9. Apr 21, 2005 #8


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    About what? The whole physics behind telecommunications or about the industry or hte internet or what?
  10. Apr 21, 2005 #9
    im sorry, about the wireless internet technology and the telecommunication technology (cell phones). I want to understand how they split the radio spectrum etc.

    I was looking on the internet but they all are vague on the details.

  11. Apr 21, 2005 #10
    My wireless internet is as fast as my DSL cable, so i don't what you're talking about. (Maybe not in its max speed, but in the speeds it actually gets).
  12. Apr 22, 2005 #11
    well the max wireless you can get nowdays is 54 kbps, and if you wanna get expensive its 108kbps. I dont know what kind of DSL you using but it should be faster.

    The actuall speed is always slower though, thats true. Plz note that, i was impling the fastes connection of T3 and faster.
  13. Apr 23, 2005 #12
    I have been reading this whole discussion and I have not been able to clearly what the comparison is between. Because lets take a PDA for example, you can purchase a GPRS card from a GSM cell phone company and you can get onto the internet with the wap protocol; and you can get a WiFi card for a PDA and connectto a WiFi hotspot. So i am unclear about the comparison between wireless phone and wireless internet.

    I know that I must be sounding confusing but isn't GPRS service called wireless internet?
  14. Apr 25, 2005 #13
    Actually you are more on track... GPRS is a Wireless Internet connectivty protocol! (WAN protocol)
    What they are talking about seems to be WLAN the 802.11g/b/a protocols, which arent internet connectivty protocols but Local area connection protocols...

    if you want true speed for wireless internet connectivy (WAN) look at OFDM

  15. Apr 28, 2005 #14
    I'm not sure what you are talking about. I have an 11 Mbps wireless connection back home.
  16. Apr 28, 2005 #15
    I think he might be referring to wireless internet service via one's cellular provider. (Not sure what the latest and greatest available speeds are though) The effective range of this is obviously way better than your wireless connection at home.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2005
  17. Apr 28, 2005 #16

    Oh, ok.

    I was talking about a wireless LAN that was connected to a DSL modem, rather than a long range cellular based connection, range on my WLAN is something like 300 feet.
  18. Feb 4, 2006 #17
    lets say you live 500ft from a cell phone tower. can i pick up internet on my desktop with it? my pda phone gets excellent internet, email, IM, reception so i wonder how i could grab that onto my desktop. any ideas?
  19. Feb 4, 2006 #18


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    You just need a wireless connection card and data plan from your cell phone provider. For a desktop, you'd need a PCI to PCMCIA adapter for the card. Unless your cell phone provider is Verizon or Sprint, your connection will be slower than dial up. Those are the only two cellular networks that offer broadband wireless speeds in the US.

    Other than that, you can use your cell phone as a modem, if you have that capability.

    Get a laptop.

    And to answer the question about wireless (cellular) max speeds. If you are in an EVDO (highspeed wireless broadband) footprint, average download speeds are 400-700k, with max speeds up to 2MB, but some people say they have gotten up to 2.4MB.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2006
  20. Feb 12, 2006 #19
    thanks for the info... i think just getting dsl off the phone line will be cheaper than the sprint wireless plan though.
  21. Feb 13, 2006 #20


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    The benefits of the wireless plan is that you can go virtually anywhere in the country and stay connected to the internet.

    Since you only need it at one location, you're right, DSL would probably be cheaper
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