Carry and Share Your Own Portable Wi-Fi Signal

cell-tower

What to Know

As you may already know, you can take the internet practically anywhere you want to using a “data card” or “air card” from your cellular service provider (like Verizon or Sprint). These cards, generally in PCMCIA (PC Card Bus) or ExpressCard form, receive a signal from cell phone towers that has a bandwidth capable of giving the user internet access. The card, distributed by the cell phone company with the data service plan, fits directly into the PCMCIA slot or ExpressCard slot of your laptop.

So the question is, how can you use this signal and broadcast it in your own private network? If you're paying for unlimited data with your plan, why not make the most of it?

What You'll Need

You'll need to get a data plan from your cellular phone provider. Generally unlimited data plans run about $60 a month. Once you get your plan, your cell provider is going to give you an 'air card' which you can use with your laptop, but also with a 3G Router.

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Once you've found the 3G Wireless Router that fits your needs, all you'll need to do at that point is slip your air card into the router's slot and turn it on. You'll instantly have a standard 802.11g private network that you can take anywhere and share with anyone. Anyone with a standard Wi-Fi connection on their computer will be able to access it. So you pay one data subscription allowing several people to access the internet at once.

Maybe More Than You Wanted To Know

There are many different types of data signals. For instance, Verizon runs on CDMA and Sprint runs on EV-DO. These two protocols run on the 3G standard (3rd generation) of mobile phone technology. 3G is currently the fastest standard available to the majority of American consumers, offering typical download speeds of 5-10 megabit per second.

3G superseded 2G technology. Some signals in the 2G family that you are probably familiar with and are still in use are GSM, GPRS, and EDGE. The Apple iPhone for instance uses EDGE for downloading web pages.