If you want to connect to the Internet and email but don’t want to deal with a tangled mess of cables (and who does?), try a wireless modem. Thanks to the increasing popularity of wireless technology, numerous wireless modem options are available. In fact, every type of modem — cable, DSL, dial-up and WiFi — is available in a wireless model. Keep in mind that having a completely wireless modem is somewhat of a misnomer. Although the modem is wireless from the point of the modem to the device it is communicating with, such as your laptop, it still has to be wired to your broadband connection and to a power source.
When searching for the right wireless modem, consider:
1. How far you need your wireless connection to reach.
2. What you need to secure your wireless devices from hackers.
3. How many devices you want to connect wirelessly.
4. If you need a DSL, cable or dial-up modem.
Wireless modem basics
DSL and dial-up modems use telephone lines to connect you to the Internet; cable modems use cable TV lines for connectivity; and wireless modems use cellular, satellite or WiFi protocols to connect to a wireless local area network (LAN), which then connects to the Internet. Prices on wireless modems go from $50 to over $2,000.
, including models from major brands, such as Motorola, Linksys, Cisco, D-link, Netgear and Unitech.
Wireless cable modems
If your Internet service provider is your cable TV company, you’ll need a cable modem. Wireless cable modems allow you to create a portable workstation so you can surf the Internet and send emails from anywhere within range of the wireless cable modem. Good news: connection speeds with a wireless cable modem are comparable to wired modems.
cable modem vendors
DSL wireless modems
If you are hooked up to the Internet through a DSL line, you’ll need the appropriate wireless modem to serve as a gateway to your laptop, printer and other devices.
A newbie in the wireless world—WiFi modems
There is a new kind of wireless modem out there, but for now only urbanites have the option to use it. Many municipalities around the country are offering Wi-Fi service citywide. However, to pick up the signal within your home office or business, you may need a signal booster wireless modem, which typically costs more than $100. This brings the Wi-Fi signal indoors and boosts it to communicate with your devices, without cable or DSL service.
Wireless cellular modems
If your business requires on-the-road access to the Internet, you’ll want to equip your fleet with cellular and GPS equipped modems. They access the Internet via cellular signals or by GPS.
Wireless modem/router combinations
The latest in modem technology is to combine a wireless router and a modem into one seamless portal. Modem/routers include capabilities of connecting other network devices, printers and works as a security firewall.
- Before you shop for a wireless modem, make sure you have all of your technical requirements written down, including your operating system, your Internet provider type and what kind of wireless card you have in your laptop.
- Before you purchase a new modem, consider if you will be changing your phone service to Internet phone. If so, you can get a modem that will serve as a phone gateway as well. Most Internet phone providers offer discounts on equipment that bundles their service with a modem or router.
- Test your office space for wireless signal strength with a signal meter before you purchase your wireless modem to make sure you get one with the strength your office needs.