Data Cards

Mobile broadband (strictly speaking Mobile Internet as the QOS doesn't meet international Broadband definitions) is the name used to describe various types of wireless high-speed internet access through a portable modemtelephone or other device. Various network standards may be used, such as GPRS3GWiMAXLTEFlash-OFDMA, IPW, iBurst UMTS/HSPAEV-DO and some portablesatellite-based systems[1]. However mostly the term refers to EVDO (sister system to CDMA-1), EDGE on GSM and HSPDA/HSUPA/HSPA on UMTS/3G/Foma. Such systems piggyback on the mobile phone infrastructure (EDGE, HSPA etc actually share spectrum with voice calls, which have priority). Thus the phrase "Mobile Broadband" is largely a wireless carrier marketing tool. The actual "non-Mobile Phone" Mobile networks are very small subscriber base (Mobile WiMax, iBurst, Flash-OFDMA, IPW and portable Satellite terminals) compared to Fixed Wireless Broadband. A misleading vendor tactic is to quote the peak speed as the user speed. This is like quoting exchange total speed for DSL or total cable bandwidth for Cable users. It has little resemblance to real world performance (see [1]).

North America refers to Mobile Phone networks as Cellular Networks. However all non-Satellite Mobile Internet are cellular designs, but only CDMA-1 (EVDO related), GSM (GPRS/EDGE), UMTS/WCDMA/3G/FOMA/T-CDMA (HSPDA, HSUPA, HSPA, HSPA+) are Mobile Phone Networks. LTE and Mobile WiMax are Data only, using VOIP for voice. Flash-OFDMA, IPW (derived from CDMA) and iBurst are also Data only networks. In theory also you could have an ERAN based EDGE2 network with no GPRS or GSM Voice, but no-one is likely to deploy it. Voice and SMS pays for the Mobile Phone networks. In the long term any decent speed LTE or Mobile WiMax is likely to be very much more expensive per Gigabyte traffic than fixed Broadband or Fixed Wireless Broadband.

Devices that provide mobile broadband include: PC cards also known as PC data card or Connect cardsUSB modemsUSB sticks often called "dongles", phones with data modems and portable devices with built-in support for Mobile Broadband (like notebooksnetbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs)). Notebooks with built-in Mobile Broadband Modules are offered by all leading laptop manufacturers in Europe and Asia including: AsusDellLenovo (previously IBM), HPFujitsuToshibaMicro-Star International and Acer.

A group of telecommunication manufacturers, mobile phone producers, chipset manufacturers and notebook manufacturers have joined forces to push built-in support for Mobile Broadband technology on notebook computers[2]. The players have established a service mark to identify devices that deliver Mobile Broadband.

Some Comparisons between Dialup (narrowband), Mobile (Midband) and true always on Broadband: [2] linking to OECD, FCC and Irish Government Definitions. Explanation as to why Mobile performance is often 1/10th of the Advertised speed, drops connections and may not connect [3] at all.