High-speed wireless transmission of data. However, the "high" in high-speed is always a changing number. In the past, wireless broadband started at 250 Kbps for cellular carriers, whereas land-based broadband started at 1.5 Mbps (T1 rates). Subsequent 3G wireless systems have exceeded T1 rates, and wireless LANs (Wi-Fi) have long passed that benchmark. In any event, wireless systems are a little to a lot slower than land-based, wireline networks. For example, high-speed, wired LANs have reached 10 Gbps.|
Wireless Local and Wireless Wide Area
Wireless broadband falls into local and wide area categories. Wireless local area networks (WLANs), namely 802.11 Wi-Fi networks, transmit at very high-speed, but Wi-Fi coverage areas (hotspots) are sporadic and span only a couple hundred feet. In contrast, wireless wide area networks (WWANs), provided by the cellular industry's EDGE and 3G (EV-DO and HSPA) technologies, are much slower. However, cell towers span several miles and provide contiguous data service just like they do voice. See 802.11, 802.16, cellular generations and broadband.