Are you ready to move beyond Wi-Fi and being tied to a hotspot? How would you like to use the internet and access your office network infrastructure from virtually anywhere? Welcome to the world of WWANs (wireless wide area networks). With WWANs, you can access the internet, critical network resources and home office files from the front seat of your car, the airport, the local coffee shop, or your recliner at home ...without being restricted to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot.
If you're one of those people who spends a lot of time away from your home or office but needs access to everything back at your desk, a WWAN is the way to go. WWANs extend the range of your wireless mobile devices, such as a Sony VAIO® notebook computer, enabling you to have wireless Internet access whenever and wherever you go. You'll learn all about WWANs in this article.
How WWANs Work
A WWAN uses long-range wireless connections -- the same networks as cellular phones -- to provide access across a large geographic area. In comparison, a WLAN (wireless LAN) covers only one or more buildings located close together. The use of wireless connectivity on a WLAN is simply an alternative to the PSTN (public switched telephone network), which you may have used -- or still use -- to dial into your ISP (Internet service provider) or reach your company's network.
On a WWAN, however, you use wireless connectivity to reach your carrier's data network instead of plugging into a phone jack and dialing into your ISP. Each mobile device communicates with the public carrier's base station, providing coverage across entire states, regions, and countries via cell phone towers.
When you use the built-in wireless capabilities of a Sony VAIO® Notebook computer, for example, you connect to a base station on a wireless network. A radio tower carries the signal to a mobile switching center, which passes the data to your provider's network. Data communications are then established with your network using the wireless carrier's connection to the Internet.
Note: Sony VAIO® computers use SmartWi™ technology to access the Cingular Wireless® national EDGE (Enhanced Data for Global Evolution) network.
Taking Your Information Beyond the Great Beyond
Using a WWAN, you can query a database back at the office and check inventory or prices while visiting your customer's site -- all without wires. As mentioned previously, this connectivity occurs via cellular networks. Examples of these cellular networks are CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data), CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), GPRS (General Packet Radio Service), and GSM (Global Systems for Mobile Communications).
Note: Cingular's EDGE technology is a software enhancement for GPRS. EDGE enables true 3G (third generation) wireless data connections, with data speeds that are generally three times faster than GSM/GPRS networks.
Understanding WWAN Speeds
Based on the technology used, WWAN speeds differ. For example, GPRS networks offer a maximum user data rate of about 115 Kbps (kilobits per second). However, as currently supported by most networks, you can expect a consistent and realistic data rate of 30 to 60 Kbps. EDGE can support peak data rates up to 170 kilobits per second with average data rates of 75 to 135 Kbps.
The Future of WWANs
In the next few years, the data speeds of WWANs are expected to increase to a whopping 384 Kbps. This increase in speed is expected to result in a terrific increase in productivity too. Cingular's EDGE network, for example, will enable you to take advantage of improved audio and video features in mobile devices, use higher resolution photos in wireless communications, and access e-mail and company data much more quickly and efficiently. Plus, EDGE-capable devices are already backwards-compatible with GPRS, so if you travel outside of an EDGE coverage area, your device seamlessly switches to Cingular's GPRS coverage, without you ever missing a beat. This means an increased lifespan for your current equipment.
Sony and Cingular provide the tools you need to stay in touch, and be highly productive, when you're on the go. You can take advantage of the many benefits of WWANs now, and as the lightning speed of data transfer rates increases in the near future.
For product information, pricing, or a Sony VAIO® demonstration at your business, contact Indiana Digital.