Broadband wireless access (BWA) refers to a family of technologies whose purpose is to provide access to high-speed Internet (wireless transmission over large areas). The term free mobile broadband must be understood as defined in IEEE Std 802.16-2004, which implies a bandwidth greater than 1 MHz that supports data traffic of the order of 1.5 Mbps. These characteristics make it comparable in efficiency to that of broadband access via fixed network, for example, via ADSL.
A provider that offers access to the Internet through BWA is called Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP). Most WISP entities active in the world use radio repeaters that make available the signal up to about 50 km away. The technologies used to provide BWA include LMDS, MMDS and WiMAX, the latter is the most common in Europe. The US market is more difficult to penetrate.
Depending on the technology used, access to the Internet may require the installation of an antenna or simply the use of a mobile phone connected to the computer. WISPs often offer additional services such as location-based content, Virtual Private Networking and Voice over IP and television (cable). The use of copper pairs creates a high density coverage without using complementary techniques. The solution is very powerful because it allows high density coverage with very low power antennas.
A UMTS modem (UMTS data card) is a peripheral which produces with the help of a SIM card, a connection between a computer and the ISP using the UMTS mobile network. On some notebooks, a UMTS modem is available internally. External UMTS modems are available as USB sticks, PCMCIA (PC Card), ExpressCard and SD Card.
The speed is dependent on network availability and is typically offered at 384 kbit/s, which corresponds to six times the speed of ISDN. The UMTS modems are third generation (3G) – so-called dual-mode devices. If the UMTS reception is too weak, mobile phones and PC card modems switch automatically and without interruption to GSM. Newer modems transmit data using HSDPA with 1.8 up to 7.2 Mbit/s.
Meanwhile, there is also UMTS modems that can transmit at speeds of up to 100 Mbit/s via LTE. Faster speeds are not yet possible, 5G techniques are not expected until 2020. Many mobile phone companies sell UMTS modems under their own brand names. Thus, the product and price comparison is difficult for the consumer.
An advantage of this re-labeling is enjoyed by the mobile companies. By changing the product name of the card, the product name is associated with the data plan. Integrated calculations can be marketed more easily this way. This type of bundling (hardware, tariff or mobile network) is in contrast to that of mobile phone devices.
Wireless modem (module or gateway) – is a transceiver that uses the mobile network to send and receive information. To use the cellular network, a Sim card is usually inserted into the modem. Wireless modems can be integrated into various telemetry. Some types of wireless modems can work as phone gateways for voice, video and text data where a traditional fixed line can not be used or where it is cheaper to use the broadband means of communication.