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If you’re a technical communication professional writing articles and reviews about Internet connectivity, you should be thoroughly familiar with the following 4 terms:
Wired Ethernet Connectivity
When your computer is connected to the Internet through a wire in the wall that is called a “wired” connection. It is the oldest, most reliable, and fastest type of connectivity using the good-old Ethernet port and TCP/IP communication protocol.
Its downside is — it limits your physical range. You need to be where your computer is. FIOS (fiber optic) and Cable wired connections are much faster than traditional 56K modem connections. You need an Ethernet card built into your machine and pay a monthly subscription fee.
If you have wired connectivity, you can expand your mobility by installing a wi-fi (wireless) router. That way, all computers that carry a wi-fi card can access the Internet without a direct cable connection.
Its downside is — the access is limited to a small area. If you move out of that area (about within 50-100 feet), also called a “wi-fi hotspot,” you won’t have access to the Internet.
“3G” stands for “Third Generation” or “International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000)”. If your computer or smart phone has a 3G chip in it, your mobile phone company (instead of your cable company) can provide you with Internet access. This connection is slower than both wired and Wi-Fi connection but is available in a far wider geographic area. 3G technology enables mobile phones to download videos on demand and hold video conferences.
Mobile Broadband Connectivity
If your laptop or notebook does not have a 3G chip you can still have access to the Internet through a “mobile broadband card”, which looks like a flash memory stick, connected to the USB port or card slot of your computer. That enables you to access the 3G network of your mobile phone company. Your 3G subscription is charged not to the computer but to the card. That’s why you can use the same “mobile broadband card” on different computers or PDAs.
BONUS: Eye-Fi Connectivity
Eye-Fi card is a relatively new technology (as of January 2010) that enables a digital camera to connect with a wi-fi network. That way you can upload and share your digital pictures through the Internet, wirelessly.