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Wireless, WiFi, 4G, 5G, Bluetooth

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There are many different wireless standards that modern devices use to connect wirelessly. Below is a break down of the most common wireless communication standards.

Wireless

Wireless is not a standard of technology but rather a word that can be used to discribe any technology that communicates without needing a physical wired connection between devices. All of the below standards discussed are wireless.

Wi-Fi

It’s commonly used to connect laptops, tablets and phones to a nearby wireless router, normally one within your home. Wireless routers use Wi-Fi to share their internet connection to devices wirelessly. It only has a short range, covering the average home. Wi-Fi only works if you have connected to a nearby wireless router. As this uses your homes internet connection (usually ADSL, Cable or Fibre), it’s data is very cheap compared to cellular, and why people often prefer to use Wi-Fi, if they have the option.

Wi-Fi has multiple generations with the most common now being Wi-Fi 4 , Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, each with performance and reliability improvements over the last generation. These used to be called Wi-Fi N, Wi-Fi AC and Wi-Fi AX respectively.

Cellular (3G, 4G, 5G)

These stand for the Third Generation, Fourth Generation and Fifth Generation of Cellular Wireless technology. This is most commonly used by mobile phones to get internet and works by creating a connection between your phone and a nearby cell-phone tower. Unlike Wi-Fi cellular wireless works anywhere you can get reception with you phone. It can connect a phone to a cellular tower more than 5 KM away.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a very short range wireless technology, designed only to work over a few meters. It’s most commonly used to connect between a phone and wireless earphones or a wireless headset. Because of it’s design, it uses a lot less power and resources compared to Wi-Fi.

Personal Hotspot

Hotspotting a phone is not a wireless standard but actually a clever way your phone can share it’s 4G connection to other devices by creating it’s own Wi-Fi network. When hotspotting, your phone acts like a Wi-Fi router allowing other devices to connect to it, which it then in turn connect to a cell-phone tower using 4G. Hotspotting is a great way to share your phones cellular (4G) internet access with a laptop or tablet when on the go.

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