Support Facts

Broadband 101—
Wireless Internet Frequently Asked Questions


What is Wireless Internet Access?

Wireless Internet access provides high-speed access to the Internet without the use of a phone line. Much like a radio signal, data is transmitted to and from your computer via antennas. The data travels from your computer to an antenna mounted outside your business, and then proceeds through a series of antennas placed every three to five miles until it gets to your Internet provider

How fast is it?

Wireless Internet service can compete with xDSL and cable modem service speeds, and it may even exceed their capabilities. Depending on the service package you get from your provider, wireless internet access can have a speed up to 300 megabits per second

What is the difference between wireless and satellite Internet access?

While both services transmit data without the use of wires, satellite access sends and receives data through satellites orbiting around the earth. Wireless Internet access uses a path of antennas between you and the Internet service provider. The two types of data are distinguishable by the kind of equipment that is used to translate them (a wireless receiver and a satellite dish and modem).

What equipment do I need to use wireless service?

You will need a receiver, placed inside your business, and a bidirectional antenna, placed outside your home or business. The receiver connects to the antenna via Ethernet. The receiver connects to your computer via Ethernet, so you will also need a network card in each computer that you wish to have Internet access through the wireless receiver.

Do I have to dial up to my Internet Service Provider?

Wireless Internet access is an “always on” technology. This means that you do not have to wait for your modem to dial up; just open your Internet browser and you are on the Internet within seconds.

Will my antenna pick up interference or other signals?

Wireless Internet usually operates on the 5.2 and 5.8 GHz spread spectrum radio band. Although this band is unlicensed, it is becoming the standard transmission band for wireless computer products worldwide. Because it is spread spectrum, the band is difficult to detect, so it is unlikely that any stray signals would be picked up by the antenna and receiver. It is also unlikely that your signal would be picked up by anyone else.

Is wireless Internet access secure?

The 5.2 and 5.8 GHz spread spectrum band has been used in the past for military communications because spread spectrum is difficult to detect or interfere with. Service providers also add their own brand of security by using secure protocols to transfer data. Wireless Internet service is just as secure as its broadband competitors.

Can wireless Internet access be shared among multiple computers?

Yes, the wireless receiver can be hooked up to a hub/switch, which will allow you to share the Internet access. You will also need a network card in each computer. If you have an existing LAN, the receiver can be incorporated into it.

What are the benefits of wireless Internet access over other high-speed technologies?

Wireless Internet is predicted to be available to more homes and businesses than xDSL or cable modem service in the near future. Wireless Internet service implementation costs less for providers than xDSL or cable modem, so it is expected that many wireless Internet services will be popping up all over the world. Since there are no phone or cable line limitations with wireless access, the probability of actually getting the service is greater. Though the equipment and installation cost of wireless Internet may be more than xDSL or cable modem, it can reach higher top downstream speeds than those services. High-speed and availability make wireless Internet access a viable alternative to other leading technologies.

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