WiFi or Moble Broadband – What’s the Difference?

WiFi Internet

WiFi or Mobile Broadband?

What’s the difference between mobile broadband and WiFi? This is a question that ISP 1 readers often ask.

The truth is these are two completely different technologies, even though they both are wireless.

Mobile Broadband
Cellular phone providers such as Verizon, At&t, Sprint and others offer mobile broadband. Using mobile broadband  you can get high speed Internet access practically anywhere that has 3G or 4G cell service. The cost is about $20 to $60 a month depending on the type of device you’re using.  Mobile broadband is very convenient for business users or frequent travelers. It gives you the flexibility and freedom to work from pretty much anywhere you like. However, it does have some drawbacks. Most cellular providers impose monthly bandwidth limits of 5 GB or less and charge hefty overage fees. The speed is also not near as fast as your typical home DSL or high speed cable Internet connection.

WiFi Internet
WiFi is a trademark of the WiFi Alliance. WiFi enabled devices communicate with wireless routers or access points sometimes called “hotspots”. To receive WiFi Internet access, you must be within range of one of these hotspots.  WiFi has a very limited range of a few hundred feet or so. This can be extended with overlapping access points, to cover a area such as a college campus. You can connect your broadband DSL or high speed cable Internet to  a wireless router at home to provide broadband Internet to all of your wireless Internet enabled devices.

Free WiFi
Free WiFi is available in some areas such as  airports, college campuses, coffee shops, book stores, hotels, and restaurants.You must be within range to receive the service and possibly need to provide login credentials on secured WiFi networks.

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