A guide to mobile technology

Mobile technology is a category made up of a wide range of devices, with new two-way technology being created every day with unique uses. Regardless of the form factor, all of these are related in their ability to send and receive signals when communicating with other devices on networks.

Examples of mobile devices

Mobile devices are everywhere and they aren’t just the phones in our pockets. Whether it’s distributing a stronger WiFi signal or allowing a user to access phone calls from their wrist, mobile devices come in all shapes, sizes and features. Some of the more popular forms of mobile technology include:

  • Smart phones – most people today have access to a smartphone, but any cell phone can be considered mobile technology.
  • Laptop – Evolution of the laptops of the past, modern laptops come in a variety of sizes, but almost all contain two-way network connectivity capabilities and can be used in a variety of environments.
  • Tablets – Often running on the same systems as smartphones but with more powerful components, tablets offer even more portability than laptops with much of the same functionality.
  • Smartwatches – These devices are designed to sync with other devices, like smartphones or laptops, and use the capabilities of the cloud to display notifications and apps on a smaller, portable screen.
  • Hot spots – Devices require some kind of Internet connection to access the Internet, and wireless access points provide a solution when a connection would otherwise be impossible to reach. Often operating through cellular networks, hotspots host private WiFi networks that users can connect to in unorthodox environments.
  • Mobile game consoles – Game consoles have been around for a long time in portable forms, but recent generations have the power to compete with home consoles and have two-way connectivity to access downloadable content, play games with others on a network and send messages.
  • IoT devices – Many, but not all, IoT devices can be considered mobile technologies, such as sensors and smartwatches. These devices represent a broad category and react to their environment to communicate specific signals when an event is triggered.

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Mobile networks

For a mobile technology device to connect to other devices or use the Internet, it must have access to a network that will allow it to transmit a signal. Although mobile technology is often exemplified by physical devices, networks and their infrastructure can also be thought of as mobile technology. Each network is unique in its functionality.

  • Cellular networks – Cellular networks operate through radio networks distributed through cell phone towers, which allows mobile devices to automatically switch frequencies to their nearest geographic tower without interruption. Cellular networks have the capacity to serve a large number of users at one time and are currently in a period of transition between their fourth and fifth generation of service.
  • 4G – Referring to the fourth generation of cellular service, 4G operates on packet switching technology and organizes data into smaller groups for fast transmission before reassembling at destination.
  • 5G – The fifth generation of inbound network service requires the deployment of new infrastructure for widespread adoption and operates at higher frequencies in aggregate bands. This allows networks to access more bandwidth and increase transmission speed. 5G is said to be 20 times faster to send and receive signals than 4G.
  • Wireless – WiFi uses radio wave technology to connect devices to localized hotspot routers. Internet service providers allow users to connect to their network but will not automatically transmit signals to a device without a Wi-Fi connection. Users will often have the option of making their WiFi network available for public or private use.
  • Bluetooth – Rather than connecting devices to the Internet, Bluetooth networks connect devices to other devices via short wavelength radio waves.

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