Wireless Options for eReaders
There are many different types of wireless options available on ebook readers today. The main types of wireless options for connecting to a network for internet include WiFi or a mobile, cellular network. Both of these options allow you to connect your ereader to a network to browse the internet, look for updates, get new ebooks online, or access your cloud storage. There are some major differences between a WiFi and Mobile network.
A WiFi network is a wireless network where you can connect to the internet. Most modern devices today come with some form of wireless network card, allowing your machine to look for a wireless internet connection. Any WiFi compatible ebook reader can access the internet through a Hotspot (a business with a wireless network) or a typical home wireless internet connection. While you can access many WiFi networks for free, the official range is limited to 20 yards, meaning you cannot access the internet on the go, like with a mobile internet service.
Advantages: Can connect to any hotspot for free, faster internet than a mobile cellular service.
Disadvantages: Internet not available everywhere, can't always access app/ebook stores or the internet on the go.
Mobile Cellular Services
One of the most popular trends with Ebook readers is being able to access a cellular network to get internet. Unlike an ebook reader that is WiFI only, an ebook reader with access to a mobile cellular service can access the internet virtually anywhere, using your cellular providers' internet towers. With this type of service, you are not limited to any sort of range, as long as you have cellular service. The drawback to using a mobile cellular service, however, is that this service is provided at an extra cost by your cellular provider and is usually priced based on how much data is used.
It is also important that you choose an ebook reader that is compatible with your cellular provider's network. The following is the type of network used by cellphone providers, allowing you to choose the right ebook reader for your network.
For instance, in the US the primary technologies are associated with the following carriers:
CDMA - Alltel, Sprint, Verizon, Bell Mobility (Canada), Telus (Canada)
GSM, EDGE - AT&T, T-Mobile, Rogers (Canada), Fido (Canada)
As well, the speed of your internet is also determined by your cellular provider's network. Most ebook readers that can connect to a network will run on GPRS, the slowest data service for a cellphone provider. If you in an area with a 3G or 4G network, however, you want an ebook reader that can handle GPRS, HSDPA, or UMTS networks.
Advantage: Can access internet anywhere with cellular service
Disadvantage: Usually more expensive and slower internet than a WiFi hotspot
Types of Cellular Networks
CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access)
This is one of the two major digital cellular standards used in the United States. This type of data technology is usually referred to as a 2G network and has a transfer rate of about 14.4 kbp/s.
GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications)
GSM is considered the standard digital cellular system throughout the world, especially North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. While GSM is the standard throughout the world and used by AT&T and T-Mobile, they are on different frequencies than their European counterparts. The most basic GSM network is a 2G network, averaging speeds of about 9.6 kbp/s. This type of network can be one of the fastest if cellular providers upgrade to GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, or HSDPA technologies.
EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution)
Edge is a GSM network technology that is usually referred to as 3G. This high speed digital data service is used mostly in the United States by AT&T and T-Mobile. EDGE usually has speeds up to 236 kbp/s.
GPRS (General Pack Radio Service)
GPRS is the first technology upgrade for a GSM network. This is the most common network throughout the world. They provide a data speed of around 30 to 50 kbp/s. In the most of the United States, this system has been replaced to the EDGE technology.
UMTS (United Mobile Telecommunication System)
This cellular broadband technology is a high speed data transmission technology and is the currently 3G system on GSM systems in the United States and Canada. Some European countries also have this system in heavily populated areas. It has an average speed of around 320 kbp/s.
LTE (Long Term Evolution)
This high speed, cellular technology was developed by 3GPP and offers high speeds than 3G. It is often marketed as 4G network in some areas. It has an average download speed of 300 mbit/s. It currently has limited availability throughout the world.
Some newer ebook readers are now Bluetooth compatible, allowing you to wireless connect headphones and other Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth devices that are also EDR compatible can transfer data faster to your ebook reader. Some cellular providers are now using devices with this technology to allow you to wireless get on a network without buying individual data plans for each of your devices.
EDR (Enhanced Data Rates) - EDR is an optional part of many Bluetooth wireless networks that is fairly standard in modern cell phones and electronic devices. It is used for connecting Bluetooth devices to mobile phones, as well as allowing faster data transfer rates with Bluetooth equipment. It can transfer data at a maximum speed of 3 Mbit/s.