Is possible to use a cellular phone to access client server application or receive information
from a hot spot? If so, how?
- If your mobile phone has a wireless data option, either already included in the phone or
available as an add-on adapter, then you can use your carrier's wireless wide area network (WAN) to
access the Internet and use client/server applications over the Internet. Wireless WAN networks
include CDPD, GSM, GPRS, and CDMA2000. To see some examples, check Sprint's PCS phones and AT&T
Wireless' PDAs and wireless cards.
- If your mobile phone is really a hybrid phone+PDA, you may already have an 802.11 Wi-Fi
wireless local area network (LAN) adapter built into the PDA, or you may be able to add one by
using the Compact Flash or SDIO slot in the PDA. With an 802.11 card, you can connect to Wi-Fi
hotspots to access the Internet and run client/server applications over the Internet. For example,
you can find a list of Wi-Fi certified Compact Flash cards
on this Wi-Fi Alliance page.
The difference between a wireless WAN and LAN is distance, location, and speed. Wireless WANs are more like traditional cellular phone services -- you can access them from trains and cars and anyplace in a carrier's service area, but with today's 3G services you'll get about 40-70 Kbps. Wireless LANs are more like Ethernet LANs -- you can access them only when you're within a few hundred feet of a LAN access point (hotspot), but you'll typically connect at 1-11 Mbps, depending upon distance and interference.
The other thing to consider is the kind of client/server application that you plan to run over your wireless connection. You'll find email client applications on mobile phones and PDAs that work over wireless WANs and LANs, but you need an email client that's compatible with the email server you're trying to reach. Ditto for any other application that you're trying to use -- is there client software for your phone, and can you reach your server? Getting connected to the Internet is only part of the solution. I can't give you more advice about the rest without knowing what applications you are hoping to use.
This was first published in August 2003