Types of Wireless Modems

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Wireless modems grant users wireless access to the Internet. These are in stark contrast to old-fashioned modems which require several connections of wires and can only be used with the help of a phone connection.

Conventional modems typically require a phone connection for a user to access the Internet and make use of the services provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP), but this inevitably leads to a clutter of wires and cables which are becoming increasingly difficult to deal with. Moreover, if someone wishes to access the net wirelessly over this mode, a wireless router needs to be attached to the modem which also increases expenditure. Wireless modems have thus been developed to solve all these problems and make people’s lives easier than they already are.

More and more people are using mobile computing devices today, to access the web, and it has become the need of the hour to find a way to grant these users wireless Internet access at the tip of their fingertips. Though the multiplicity of the kind of devices used has led to much confusion, so it is imperative to use a compatible wireless modem that works with the device that one is using. It is for this reason that the act of distinguishing between the different modems becomes more important.

Wireless Modem Types

You should remember that the speed that a wireless modem offers is not close to that of broadband Internet, but it certainly comes close and beats dial-up Internet speeds hands down. The ultimate purpose of a modem is to grant Internet access to your laptop or desktop computer, and here are the different options at your disposal.

Mobile Phones

Most modern smartphones provide this feature which allows other devices to access the data plan of the phone by recognizing it as a hotspot. Modern Android and iOS devices allow up to 5 different devices to log on at the same time, and in connections like this, the mobile device is doing nothing other than acting as a wireless modem. There is a set of programs known as the Hayes Command Set, and this allows a device to act like a modem. Fortunately, almost all smartphones that are manufactured today, come equipped with the Hayes Command Set for this purpose. Most cellular service providers charge an additional fee for this service though.

USB or FireWire Dongles

Dongles are small devices that can be attached to USB ports or FireWire ports on computers, so they can inevitably be used as modems as well. The sizes of these dongles differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, so that depends on the preferences of the buyer. They can then access nearby Wi-Fi networks in the area and act as wireless modems to grant Internet access. Wireless Internet USB modems are in fact some of the best selling electronic devices in the market today.

ExpressCard Modems

An ExpressCard is a means of connecting an external peripheral device to a computer, and this is another method that is widely used for the purpose of granting wireless Internet access. These cards function on the PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association) and were formerly known as NEWCARDS as well. These cards are available in two different form factors, the ExpressCard/34 and the L-shaped ExpressCard/54. Most computers also accept PC cards today, and this is another way of syncing a machine with a wireless modem.

Compact Flash Modems

Invented by SanDisk in 1994, Compact Flash cards are widely used as a means of flash storage in many devices today. Today, developers have integrated the Hayes Command Set into these cards as well, so they can also act as wireless modems and grant a computer user wireless access to the web. Before using any of these methods, one should also find out the nature of the Internet network that will be used. It could be Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD), Enhanced Data rate for GSM Evolution (EDGE) or it could even be General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). Each of these have their own features, benefits and disadvantages as well.

Buying a wireless modem for Internet access has become quite complicated today because of the various choices that are available in the market. The different types certainly add to the confusion, but for a general user, a wireless router should be the preferred option. Setting up these wireless modems can be a little complex for some people, so they should also stick to using their mobile phones as hotspots as far as possible.

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