Today, when one uses the term ‘wireless technology’, they are usually referring to the type of signals being used to relay information from one point/device to the other. Thus, differentiating the various types of wireless technologies that have seen the light of day would look something like the following:
The telecommunication industry was among the first to realize this jump from wired to wireless. Where landlines were once a norm, mobile phones began taking their place. Initially large, these handsets nevertheless didn’t require a telephone wire to operate and that meant they could be used outside of the house.
With time, cellphones have moved far ahead in terms of their usability. Today, you could do much more than just talk on your smartphone. And to think of it, you get to do all this wirelessly.
While the popularity of Bluetooth wireless technology shot into prominence when they became a cellphone feature, their true power was only realized when other devices like speakers, headsets, printers and other household appliances could connect via Bluetooth.
While you can transmit a lot of information quickly through Bluetooth, low proximity remains its major setback. Bluetooth signals are good for a distance of about 10-meters only. Therefore, they are best suited to pairing devices with peripherals such as headsets with smartphones or mouse, keyboard and speakers with laptops.
WiFi stands for wireless fidelity and it has become the new standard for massive data transfer at really fast speeds over a wireless channel. Also, the technology has a wide radius of operation. It is for this reason that wireless networks in homes as well as offices today employ WiFi irrespective of their sizes or floors. Also, given that a WiFi network can be configured using more than one security protocols lends it an air of reliability.
However, WiFi needs a lot more power than Bluetooth to operate. Also, its signal strength weakens when it hits walls reinforced with metal bars, or simply when there is a lot of metallic obstruction to pass through.
3G And 4G
You must have heard these terms numerous times on TV, online discussion platforms or your neighborhood phone store. They operate in the same way that your old television captured TV signals. In fact, if you are using a smartphone today, then its most likely that it operates on a 3G or 4G network, where the ‘G’ denotes generation.
Consider it as a significant upgrade over your previous GSM networks, as 4G packs basic call features, along with fast data transfer as well as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services. As smartphones become smarter and more capable of handling a wide array of activities, the mobile network too will go through similar upgradations.
These have been around for quite for quite some time. Think of your TV, music system or AC’s remote control. They rely on infrared signals to transfer commands. While infrared requires the least amount of power, they are only good for relaying basic commands to the receiving device. You’ll find infrared in technology such as karaoke machines.