Mobile networking devices
Mobile IT devices can use almost any wired and wireless networking technologies, as long as they are enabled to do so, either by in-built capability or via a network adapter.
What are the different types of mobile network?
Several different technologies exist that support mobile networking, including:
- using the global system for mobile communications (GSM), general packet radio service (GPRS) and third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) services offered by mobile networks
- cable connection to 'wired' local area networks (LANs) - Ethernet is the most popular wired LAN technology
- secure 'wireless LANs' within office buildings or public 'hot spots' such as internet cafes - wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) is the most popular wireless LAN technology
- Bluetooth or infra-red connection to another mobile device that offers one or more of the above connection capabilities
- extranets that can be accessed remotely, allowing mobile staff to use limited areas of your business' website and data
- use of smartphones to facilitate instant email access
Applications of mobile networking
Sometimes you don't need networking capability on the move. It might be sufficient to download and upload the information required at the start and end of the day from the office computer system.
However, real-time communication with the office can be important in delivering business benefits, such as efficient use of staff time, improved customer service and a greater range of products and services delivered. Examples include:
- making presentations to customers, and being able to download product information to their network during the visit
- quotations and interactive order processing
- checking stock levels via the office network
- interacting with colleagues while travelling - sending and receiving emails, collaborating on responses to tenders, delivering trip reports in a timely manner
Disadvantages of mobile networking
There can be issues with maintaining the security of devices and data - for example, these devices are easy to steal. It is also possible for data to be intercepted using some of these mobile technologies - such as Bluetooth and infrared. For more information, see securing your wireless systems.
There are also other considerations. Infrared and Bluetooth both have connectivity limitations. Infrared requires line of sight that will not pass through walls or other obstacles, while Bluetooth will pass through walls but only up to a useful range of 10 metres. As a result, many phones and laptops do not have these capabilities.