Using mobile computers when
in transit implies mobile computing. This is effectuated
by using wireless technologies such as LAN, WAN,
Wi-Fi, GPRS, etc.
LAN refers to Local Area Networking. This is not
a very mobile technology, as it restricts the
area of its reach. LAN refers to the connectivity
of two or more fixed or mobile computing devices
within a particular area.
This connection can be done physically by cables
(in which case it would not be an
example of mobile computing) or other connections such
as infrared rays and wireless connections. LAN enables
computers within its reach to share and compute data.
It is primarily an intranet network.
WAN is Wide Area Networking. It is wider in its outreach.
WAN refers to the connection of two locations. These
locations may be connected internally through LAN networks.
WAN essentially uses wireless connections between its
MAN is another kind of network used in mobile computing.
It stands for Metropolitan Area Networking and it connects
mobile computing devices within a particular city or
metropolitan area. Devices such as mobile phones and
car computers can be hooked up onto MAN to keep them
interconnected. MAN provides speeds of 128 kbps or 256
kbps. Cities such as New York, Philadelphia, Minnesota,
Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas and about 15 major airports
in America are currently connected by MAN.
Cell phones are currently the most commonly used mobile
computing devices on the planet. They use wireless technologies
such as GSM, CDMA, WLL, GPRS, EDGE, 3G etc. for their
connectivity. Currently, GPRS or General Packet Radio
Service is considered a fast-growing technology. GPRS
networks coupled with EDGE or Enhanced Data Rates for
Global Evolution provide fast Internet connection on
cell phones. They can provide data transfer speeds of
about 384 kbps, which are much higher than GSM and CDMA
Besides these popular services, there are also some
lesser-known networks that have been introduced lately.
One such network, the Metricom, was available in 12
cities and 15 airports. However, it is no longer available
due to the company’s financial constraints. ArrayComm
and SWIFTComm are relatively new networks that promise
speeds of up to 1 Mbps to the mobile computer user.