Wireless data communications are an essential component of mobile computing. The various available technologies differ in local availability, coverage range and performance.
Supporting technologies include:
Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network that enables portable computing devices to connect easily to the Internet. Standardized as IEEE 802.11 a,b,g,n, Wi-Fi approaches speeds of some types of wired Ethernet.
Cellular data service offers effective coverage within a range of 10-15 miles from the nearest cell site. Speeds have increased as technologies have evolved, from earlier technologies such as GSM, CDMA and GPRS, to 3G networks such as W-CDMA, EDGE or CDMA2000.
Mobile Satellite Communications may be used where other wireless connections are unavailable, such as in largely rural areas or remote locations. Satellite communications are especially important for transportation, aviation, maritime and military use.