Image Caption: Three 155 Mbps dishes on top of the Oil & Gas Commerce Building, Fort Worth TX. Credit: RockyDallas/Wikipedia
Wireless broadband is a technology that gives users a high speed internet connection or a connection to a computer network covering a wide area without the use of a wired connection. Broadband is instant access to the Internet or a network at data rates greater than 1.5 Mbps.
Originally wireless Internet service providers (WISPs) could only be accessed in rural areas that did not have a cable or DSL connection. The WISP would transmit the signal from a high elevation to a small dish receiver that the customer would have mounted on the roof of their home or business. This type of wireless connection required a line of sight for access to the transmitter.
Another form of wireless broadband is a service from mobile phone providers where users can purchase a PC card, laptop card, or USB equipment to connect to the Internet via cell phone towers. On June 2, 2010, AT&T became the first WISP to charge according to usage.
Recently the addition of satellite wireless broadband has added another way that consumers can access the Internet. By using the communication between a receiver (dish) attached to the home or business pointed with a clear line of sight to the satellite. The first satellite for consumer access to the Internet was launched on September 27, 2003.
These wireless networks can have connection speeds equivalent to a wired connection. The transfer rate in both directions can also be the same. Most WISPs have a range of 31 miles from a tower. A fixed wireless connection is a stationary link between two points such as, building to building, or building to tower.