Mobile Broadband Explained


What is Mobile Broadband Technology?

Mobile broadband technology can be a confusing concept to grasp – It works like the internet, but it operates the same way a cell phone does. And there are different kinds of the technology, different networks and lots of providers to sort through. Below you’ll find some of the basics on mobile broadband for those less technically inclined folk.

Since nowadays the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, people are finding that they want to have access to it everywhere and anytime. Enter broadband mobile technology – Internet that can be accessed literally anywhere you can get a cell phone signal, inside or outside.

Mobile broadband operates on the same technology that cell phones do, this means that through radio waves and frequencies, packets of information are sent back and forth. In terms of a phone call, the packet would be voice information however for mobile broadband the packets are all data in the form of things like email and web pages.

There are two kinds of technologies that mobile devices currently use: Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). Mobile broadband operates on a third-generation of this technology which is why it is called 3G.

The CDMA version of mobile broadband is called EV-DO ((Evolution-Data Optimized or Evolution-Data Only). This technology runs on the part of the cell network that is used for data. But because EV-DO requires that you separate the data information from the voice information, you can’t actually talk on the phone while at the same time surfing the internet. On the other hand the GSM technology, called HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), can handle both data and voice information at the same time.

Both types of technology require that you have some kind of hardware set up in your device or computer to access the network (like a network card) and both run at varying speeds (between 300-700 Kbps). GSM is very popular in Europe while CDMA is more popular in North America.

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