Gone are the days when your computer was tethered to your phone's landline or the coaxial cable in order to connect to the Internet. Technology has improved so significantly that you don't have to be at home or work to check your stocks or your email. Satellites and electrical lines are used for Internet delivery, freeing up your phone and cable lines and releasing your laptop from its technological chains.
Phone and cable companies were the first big players to get into the Internet game, but their services require phone or cable service and connection. Society is too fast-paced to have relied on those restrictive services for very long. With the advent of wireless technology, many companies have cropped up offering Internet services that don't rely on phone or cable for delivery. A search of the Internet will bring up such companies as FAQ2, RemoteWorks Inc., Xanadoo and COMTek. Service areas can be limited, and some of the services require a phone line for initial installation, even though they don't rely on it for the service itself.
The ways that the different service providers deliver the Internet to your computer are just as varied as the companies themselves. Some use wireless delivery via radio waves received by a special modem or even a USB Key connected to your computer. Some deliver the service to you by satellite, which can be picked up by a receiver or a modem connected to your computer. If you already have satellite TV you can talk to your provider to see if it has Internet service. Yet another way for you to receive your Internet service without phone or cable is through existing power lines. You simply plug your modem into an electrical outlet and you're connected to the Internet.
Regardless of whether your service provider is sending the Internet signal to you through phone lines, electrical wires or satellite or radio waves, you will need a modem to receive the signal and process it through your computer. If you need to be mobile, though, don't worry about liberating your laptop or net-book from a land line only to have it anchored to a large, unwieldy modem. Many companies have small keys that look like a jump drive and can be plugged into any USB port. These keys work just like large modems, receiving satellite- or radio-transmitted Internet signals and putting them into your computer.
With the development of wireless technology has come the concern of security. If you are sending and receiving wireless signals over the Internet, it is possible that those signals could be intercepted or pirated, which could be disturbing and even dangerous if you are sending and receiving private information. Safeguarding technology such as authentication, firewalls and encryption are put into place by the service providers so that their customers can safely utilize Internet services without having to worry about their personal information being available to hackers.
- Cheryl Combs; Verizon Wireless Sales Representive; Chubbuck, Idaho
- Querycat; Will I Need Phone or Cable to Connect to the Internet?; 2011
- "Emerging Wireless Technologies..."; Dipankar Raychaudhuri; March 2011
- "Essential Computer Security"; T. Bradley; January 2007
- Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images