There are lots of hot spots throughout most cities, where anyone can take a laptop computer and surf the internet. Coffee shops and book stores are common sources of wireless hot spots. You can also set up a wireless network in your own house. This is a good idea of there are several people living there and each has a computer being used for the internet. Rather than having 5 cable or DSL modems and paying for each one, you can have one computer connected to the modem and act as the server. Connected to a router, it would then transmit the internet signal over radio waves to the other computers in the house and they can each share the internet. Multiple computers sharing the network will slow down the internet speed, however, especially if someone is doing something that uses a lot of bandwidth, such as downloading a large file.
If you are out of town and need to find somewhere to get online, check the internet for hot spots in your area. There are some websites out there dedicated to locating hotspots across the globe. Of course, you need to check this before you leave town if there is no other internet where you are going. Otherwise, it would be like trying to call the phone company on your land line to tell them your phone is out.
Not long ago, the idea of talking on a phone that is not connected to the wall seemed crazy, but this is the wireless age, where people commonly take their laptop computers to their favorite coffee shop and sip on some java while uploading their new blog to Thoughts.com. Most laptops now come with a built-in wireless adapter. If not, you can buy a wireless card and use it to connect to wireless internet, also called Wi-Fi. You can also use wireless internet for your desktop computer if it bothers you having a bunch of wires lying around. Also, if you have a large family or roommates living under the same roof, it may be beneficial to create your own in-home network and have everyone in the house share the wireless connection.
Wireless ISPs have connection speeds ranging from 384 kbps to 2 Mbps. The wave of the future is WiMax, which delivers up to 7 Mbps to anywhere—laptop, cell phone, car or home. With WiMax, you aren't limited to basic email and text messaging with mobile internet. You can download streaming media and other big file formats similar to a broadband connection at home or at the office. It used to be a competition between DSL and cable, but with the development of fiber optics, wireless internet and WiMax, there are plenty of high speed internet options for you these days. It just depends upon your budget and service needs. In the future, more cities may offer city-wide free Wi-Fi like Sunnydale, Ca., which became the first city to offer this in the United States in 2005.
Wi-Fi, Cable and DSL
The three most popular types of high speed internet access are wireless internet (Wi-Fi), cable and DSL. You can use a router connected to your cable or DSL line to access Wi-Fi. In the debate between cable and DSL, cable has the edge on speed and popularity but DSL is cheaper and historically more secure. Rural areas may only have satellite internet available, which is similar to DSL in speed. There are new technologies like fiber optics, close to the speed of cable, and WiMax. Technology is constantly changing and even more new players may arise in the internet game.