These days groups of people, be they families or students living in share house accommodation, often want a wireless network at home so they can all share the same broadband internet connection.
Currently, the most common way to achieve a network like this is to get an ADSL2+ or fast ADSL connection through a landline telephone line, and then set up an ADSL modem with a Wi-Fi router. The Wi-Fi router is either plugged into the modem, or is combined into one device. Then, any laptops, iPhones, iPads, gaming consoles, or desktop PCs with wireless cards can access the internal home network.
The bad news is not everyone has access to an ADSL broadband connection. This can be a result of living too far away from the telephone exchange, or because there are infrastructure problems on the line, such as being on a pair gain system, RIM, or a sub-exchange.
If you cannot get ADSL broadband (or coaxial cable and fibre optic for that matter), but want to have a home network everyone can share, your next best option (before resigning to satellite broadband) is to get a Mobile Wireless broadband gateway modem.
Mobile wireless works off of the mobile phone towers. You’ve probably seen the small USB dongles with mobile phone-like SIM cards inside people use while travelling. A mobile wireless gateway works on the same principle, catching the wavelength from a mobile phone tower, but once the signal has hit the gateway, an internet home network is created instead of just one connection for a single computer.
Mobile wireless gateways currently are not as fast, stable, or capable of transferring large amounts of data when compared with ADSL broadband, but if it’s all you can get in your area, it’ll be your best option. It should also be noted that mobile wireless technology is evolving everyday, and it is a common belief in the industry new mobile wireless technologies like WIMAX and 4G LTE will one day be a stable and fast broadband option comparable to fixed line connections.
An example of one mobile wireless gateway modem currently for sale on the Australian broadband market is the Netcomm BigPond Elite Wireless Broadband Network Gateway. This 3G-modem/router works off of the same HSPA+ technology other USB type modems rely on, and Telstra states download speeds run at around 8Mbps (8,000kbps). This is a quick speed comparable with a fast ADSL1 connection, and it means multiple users on separate computers should be able to have a decent connection concurrently.
Like mobile phones and mobile wireless broadband via USB dongles, the issues of black spots (where the gateway modem doesn’t pick up a strong signal), and dropouts are still more prevalent than fixed line connections.
Mobile wireless gateway modems are also a good option for people who live on a short lease and don’t want a long fixed line contract, people who travel with their family and want to make a Wi-Fi network wherever they go, and those who don’t want a landline telephone, and Naked DSL is not available in their location.
Optus (1300 768 194), Virgin Broadband (1300 106 571) and Vodafone (1300 106 571) all have mobile wireless gateways, so give each provider a call to find out about prices and coverage in your area.