Mobile computing is a generic term that refers to a variety of devices that allow people to access data and information from wherever they are. Mobile computing transports data, voice, and video over a network via a mobile device.
Mobile devices can be connected to a local area network (LAN), or they can take advantage of Wi-Fi or wireless technology by connecting via a wireless local area network (WLAN). Mobile phone services also provide mobile computing through their service plans.
The Benefits of Mobile Computing
There are many benefits to mobile computing including the ability to get directions, entertain yourself when bored, do business, and more, including:
- Connectivity: You can stay connected to all sources at all times.
- Social Engagement: You can interact with a variety of users via the Internet.
- Personalization: You can tailor your mobile computing to your individual needs.
"Mobile device" is a generic term used to refer to a wide range of devices that allow people to access data and information from anywhere at any time. These devices come in a range of sizes, from those that fit in your pocket, such as cell phones, to tablets, to laptops. Mobile computing can use cellphone connections to make phone calls, as well as to connect to the Internet. The list of mobile devices include:
- eReaders (i.e. Kindle)
- Handheld Gaming Devices (i.e. Nintendo 3DS)
- Wearable Devices (i.e. Apple Watch)
Using Wi-Fi for Mobile Computing
Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data over the internet via radio waves. Devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones can hook into Wi-Fi by choosing a Wi-Fi network in the immediate vicinity. Often referred to as a "hot spot," Wi-Fi can be found in offices, restaurants, institutions of higher learning, schools, recreational facilities, some public areas, and homes.
At home, you'll need a wireless router connected to your broadband Internet that is usually obtained through your cable/internet provider. When you leave the hotspot area, your mobile device will disconnect from the Internet. Note, that you can often still access the Internet on your phone when you're away from a wi-fi source, but you're using your phone service data plan and not wi-fi. Wi-Fi range is generally about 100 feet, although it can depend on the network.
Wi-Fi networks can be secure, requiring a password, or open. When possible, use a secure network to protect your device and data from hackers.
When accessing a secure Wi-Fi, your mobile device should remember and automatically reconnect without having to re-enter the password when you're in that area again. For example, if you take your laptop to work every day, it will connect to your company's network every time you're near the network. When you take that laptop home, it will connect to your personal Wi-Fi.
Cloud computing is a term that applies to applications and data storage delivered over the Internet or via wireless technology. The individual user's device, such as a computer or cell phone, only provides an interface to access data stored online in the cloud. The programs are run on the service provider's servers and the data is stored wherever the provider deems necessary. The benefit is that you can access data anywhere, from any device, as long as you're online. The applications and associated data are available wherever you have a connection to the Internet or wireless network.