Portable wireless internet
You can access the internet wirelessly at home using a special desktop modem. This type of wireless internet access is usually portable. The portability may appeal to renters who move frequently — you’ll be able to connect to the internet using the same account and equipment at a different address, provided it’s within the coverage area.
To use wireless internet access that’s portable, you need:
- A special modem (with antenna), supplied by the ISP.
- To be located within the ISP's network coverage.
Roaming wireless internet
If you move around cities or metropolitan areas and need internet access on-the-go, you may prefer roaming internet through your laptop. Roaming wireless services let you connect to the internet when you’re away from home without the need for a bulky modem.
Most access speeds are listed as the theoretical maximum, rather than the practical speed. For example, a theoretical maximum speed of 54 mbps is more likely to be 1000 kbps in reality.
In most cases, you need:
- To buy a card for your laptop to access the wireless network;
- To be located within a coverage area.
As long as you’re within the network coverage area and you have your laptop connected, you should be able to get online wherever you are — be it your home, a cafe or a park. But connection speed can vary depending on your location.
Several ISPs run limited fixed wireless networks using Wi-Fi technology.
To access a fixed wireless service you need to:
- Install transmission equipment such as an antenna or dish on the roof of your house
- Connect special wireless-enabled equipment (a modem, Ethernet bridge, router or wireless card, for example) to your computer.
Antennas need to have a clear line of sight to the ISP’s base station (or another antenna), which must typically be within several kilometres of the receiver’s house. Some services may require additional equipment, depending on the provider.
- Most ISPs supply their own equipment and prices vary depending on where you live so check individual ISP websites. Network speed can also vary.
Unfortunately, there’s no central listing of ISPs offering fixed residential wireless internet. Some are:
- Chariot in Victoria and South Australia.
- Linknet in northern NSW.
- BigAir in Sydney.
Your best bet is to contact your current ISP to check if it offers a service. You could also try the forums at www.whirlpool.net.au