The flavors of wireless
3:26

The flavors of wireless

Audio
-It's not uncommon anymore to see someone walking down the street with all these stuff in there hands, a laptop, a tablet, a smartphone, and not of it makes any sense unless it's connected wireless, but a lot of people are still unclear on 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, how you use them and where you find them. I'm Brian Cooley here to lay out the flavors of wireless. Okay, in no particular order, the flavors of wireless are Wi-Fi, 3G, and 4G. Wi-Fi is short for wireless fidelity, which tells you absolutely nothing about what it is or what it does, so that's why no one ever calls it by the long name. What it really is a wireless internet connection that you know from places like this, like building lobbies, coffee shops, airport launches. It eliminates this, the internet or Ethernet cable, but gives you similar speed within a wireless range of let's say about 100 feet from one of those. That's a Wi-Fi router. It could also be Wi-Fi access point. Now, Wi-Fi is generally the fastest of the connections I'll show you today, but it also has the most brittle or limited range. Now, when you're devised to text Wi-Fi in the area, you will find what's called a hotspot, but move too far away from that hotspot, you lose your connection. So, here's our snapshot of Wi-Fi, speed, hot; range, 100 to 200 feet, enough to cover a home, office or shop; cost, anywhere from free when you're at home and some hub like places, too free with purchase at some merchants, too really expensive on a plane or other places where it's profit center. Okay, now 3G. 3G comes to you over cellular network like what powers your smarphone. Coverage here is big story. With Wi-Fi for example, you can walk out coverage literally in some few steps in some cases. With 3G, you might drive hours and not leave coverage, but the speed is like night and day. This is just a fraction of the speed you will get on a Wi-Fi hotspot. So, you make a trade off. Now, the way you connect is real different too. Unlike with Wi-Fi, you don't run around scrounging up another network when you don't find coverage. With 3G, you have signed up for a carrier and their giant coverage area should do you. If though, you're in a dead zone, you're stuck, you're not gonna hop on to some other cellular carrier ad hoc. You're just gonna sit there fuming. So, here's our snap shot of 3G: speed, okay, not great; range, up to hundreds of miles or more; cost, typically 30 to 50 bucks a month through your wireless carrier bill. Now, as a mentioned, 3 G speed isn't really all that great. It's mostly about coverage, but that's where its new cousin 4G comes in. It's the coverage of 3G promising the speed of Wi-Fi anywhere you go or put another way it might finally makes smart phones and tablets work as fast as they show you in the TV commercials, but getting you 4G requires you cross 2 big hurdles. First of all, you're a network provider has to offer it. That's a lot of upgrading has to be done across the country. Then, you have to go replace whatever is your carrying with something 4G enabled. You see a 4G network does nothing to improve a 3G device. And we've been talking about all these flavors of wireless as they pertain to mobile devices, but bear in mind. These technologies are doing great things for gadgets and products in your home that never go anywhere as well as in cars that never stop going everywhere, but now wherever you encounter the flavors of wireless, you'll understand how they work and how you get time.

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