Mobile computing refers to the use of small and portable computing devices in wireless enabled networks that provide wireless connections to a central main server. These devices include laptops, notebook PCs, tablet PCs, palmtops, personal digital assistant (PDAs) and other hand held devices. A radio-signaling device is installed inside these devices for receiving and transmitting electronic data.
Wireless networks use Wi-Fi(wireless fidelity) technology for providing network coverage to offices, public places, and other small workplaces. A wireless access point device is used to provide wire free network coverage in the designated area. An access point device that is built on 802.11b and 802.11g IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) standards transmits data at 2.4 GHz whereas devices that comply with 802.11a standards transmit at 5 GHz.
WiMax (Wireless Interoperability for Microwave Access) technology represents the next generation of wireless networking and can transmit data up to a distance of forty-eight km. It can provide a maximum networking speed of seventy Mbps. It provides much better facilities than Wi-Fi such as higher bandwidth and high data security by using enhanced encryption schemes. It can provide service in both Line Of Sight (LOS) and Non-Line Of Sight (NLOS) locations, but range may vary accordingly. WiMax supports several communication protocols, and can act as the backbone network for an ISP(Internet service provider) as well as telecom service provider.
Mobile computing devices can use any of these networks to access the Internet or connect to a LAN( local area network) or WAN(wide area network) server. They use networking software for adjusting device settings to suit specific network requirements.
Mobile computing has enabled users to remain connected while on the move. High end users can opt for satellite based networking which provides wireless connectivity anywhere in the world. However, this technology is costly and will take many years to become as affordable as Wi-Fi and WiMax.