The mobile workforce needs connectivity capability. Options include (but are not limited to) mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Here's a look at each option.
Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, mobile phone or other mobile device. Mobile broadband is an embedded 3G or 4G broadband technology that works in conjunction with a wireless service provider that supplies nationwide coverage. By using the latest wireless technology, mobile workers experience connection speeds comparable to DSL (digital subscriber line) that are standard in most workplaces.
4G is the 4th Generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunications that adheres to the IMT Advanced specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. It is a successor to the 3G and 2G families of standards. Mobile telecommunications that use 4G are expected to provide a comprehensive and secure IP based mobile broadband solution to laptop computer wireless modems, smartphones, and other mobile devices.
Data traffic can be secured between the notebook and cellular tower with 128-bit encryption—the same level used in e-commerce transactions. Because the connection technology is incorporated into the device, no additional equipment is necessary. Upgrades are easy for most products and generally cost less to maintain than other wireless technologies.
Various network standards may be used, such as GPRS, 3G, WiMAX, LTE, Flash-OFDM, IPW, iBurst UMTS/HSPA, EV-DO and some portable satellite-based systems. 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). 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.
Types of devices used:
- smartphone, Mobile phone
- USB flash drive, (dongle)
- Compact Flash
- PC Card, ExpressCard
Wi-Fi is a technology that relies on wireless "hotspots" for connections. As a result, mobile users must be in a specific location that offers wireless Internet access to use the device. Wireless hotspots are often provided by hotels, restaurants and airports free of charge in support of customer demand for this service. Wi-Fi connections are prone to security breaches, however, because most Wi-Fi hotspots use unsecured networks.
Bluetooth is a wireless networking protocol that enables devices in a PAN (personal area network) to communicate with one another.
VPNs are a secure, cost-effective method for connecting remote employees directly to private company networks via the Internet, or through the use of software. A VPN differs from traditional WAN (wide area network) connections because it doesn't transmit data over phone or other physical lines. As a result, VPNs are generally less expensive and easier to maintain than a WAN setup. There are multiple types of VPNs that can be established and a variety of methods are deployed to ensure VPNs are secure, such as firewalls and encryption.