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Difference Between Wireless Broadband and Mobile Broadband

Wireless Broadband vs Mobile Broadband

Wireless and mobile broadband provide fast methods to access the internet. In general broadband is a transmission facility that has the bandwidth to carry data, voice, and video channels at the same time. Different technologies are developed, in order to access the internet at bandwidths starting from few hundreds of kbps to few hundreds of Mbps, using either mobile or wireless broadband.

Broadband can be categorized into mobile or wireless broadband, depending on the location restrictions to access the internet and access method.

Wireless Broadband

Wireless broadband means, wires are not used to access the internet. Here, air interface is used as the transmission medium with different radio access technologies. Wireless broadband access is a huge step in the communications world, which allows users to access the internet from a variety of points around a given location, where end user needs little flexibility to move. For an example, Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMax) can be considered as wireless broadband access methods. Also, Wireless local loop falls into the wireless broadband category. Some of the mobile broadband technologies such as, 3G and 4G can also be considered as wireless broadband access methods because of the unavailability of wired connection.

Mobile Broadband

When it comes to mobile broadband, it should be noted that this refers to both cable and wireless access. In general, mobile means that it can be accessed from more than one location, and users have to pay the service provider for this privilege. At present, people refers to wireless mobile broadband access also as mobile broadband. Wireless mobile broadband technologies are optimized to have faster internet access when access units are moving at a higher speed. For example, 3G technologies like Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA), High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) can be considered as wireless mobile broadband technologies. Also, 4G technologies like Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE advanced fall in to the same category because of the high mobility nature, while providing high data speeds. Satellite broadband can be also considered as mobile broadband technology due to the lack of restriction in the access location. Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) can be considered as a mobile broadband technology if service provider allows the end users to access the internet without restricting them to a specific location such as home or office etc.

What is the difference between Wireless Broadband and Mobile Broadband?

Both mobile and wireless broadband offer high speed internet access to the end user. The difference between simple wireless broadband and mobile broadband is in where you can access the internet. Wireless broadband only requires air interface to provide high speed internet access to a given location, and it does not consider the end users ability to move while having the broadband connectivity. In general, there is little or limited flexibility to move with the wireless broadband, which may be imposed by the technology or by the regulator. These limitations are available with Wi-Fi and WiMax technologies , but when it comes to mobile broadband it allows the users to access the internet, while on the move, or from different locations such as from home and office etc. This mobility or the ability to access the high speed internet from different locations can be due to the ability of the technology (e.g. 3G and 4G), or due to the regulations imposed by the regulator (e.g. DSL). Some of the mobile broadband technologies can also be considered as wireless broadband access methods (e.g. 3G and 4G).

It can be seen that wireless broadband and mobile broadband are fast internet access methods. Wireless broadband allows internet access without wires, while mobile broadband allows internet access from different locations without restrictions. Some of the mobile broadband technologies fall under wireless broadband access methods as well, due to the unavailability of wired connectivity.


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