According ComScore.com, worldwide internet users totaled over one billion by December of 2008. Growth is expected to continue, with expansion expected in areas like Latin America, which currently accounts for about seven percent of the global Internet audience. Virtually everyone is looking for a way to be connected, and PC cards offer one viable solution.
Types of PC Cards
PC cards insert into laptops to add capability, and come in three types. Type I is mainly used for memory, type II is used as a network adapter, and type III acts as a portable hard drive. It is the second type that will give you access to high speed internet. However, only older laptops utilize PC cards, as newer ones integrate wireless internet connectivity with a peripheral card. The term PC card may also be used to describe a card attached to a PCI slot inside a desktop computer for the purpose of receiving wireless internet.
Limitations on Speed
The slowest component will determine your internet speed. PC cards, also known as network adapters, act as the final step to receiving internet. Wireless-G cards can transmit speeds up to 54 Mbps, while wireless-N cards go up to 300 Mbps. However, if the signal you are receiving has a lower speed, then that is the speed you will experience. Speed can also be lowered by interference, such as distance and objects like walls between the source and your computer.
If your PC or laptop is near a wireless hotspot, such as a coffee shop, restaurant or college, your wireless adapter may be able to pick up the signal they broadcast. It can also receive a signal from nearby apartments or neighboring houses depending on proximity and the type of router they implement. However, you may or may not be welcome to use these types of connections, and many routers implement passwords to prevent abuse. Contact a cable or DSL provider in your area to start broadcasting your own internet signal.
Available in most major cities, fourth generation Wimax and LTE connectivity offers speed comparable to traditional broadband connections, averaging 3-6 Mbps and 5-15 Mbps respectively. Cell phones capable of acting as a mobile hotspot can send a wireless signal to your PC card. If you require a connection that is on even when you're not home -- possibly for others in your home to use it -- cellular companies also offer standalone devices that you can leave home while you're on the go.
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