If you are one of those people that enjoys understanding how things work, you might find yourself confused at all of the terminology surrounding the blanket term Wireless Internet. To add to the confusion, there are different generations of technologies, like 3G and 4G technologies, including WiMax.
3G at a Glance
Mobile broadband connectivity is facilitated through technology that is very similar to the way cell phone technology works. In 3G technology, there are networks of towers that transmit data signals through high-frequency radio waves. These towers are hotspots in and of themselves. Wireless internet providers have the issue of making sure that they provide seamless coverage without a lot of dead zones. However, erecting and maintaining these towers is very costly. So -- dropped connections are a reality with these "small cell" networks.
Companies are cooperating by providing roaming hotspot connections shared and maintained by more than one provider. This is a good way of creating improved coverage for their customers, and many providers are eliminating roaming charges like we used to see on our cell phone bills.
4G WiMax -- Large Cell Approach
The problem of limited bandwidth and dropped connections due to dead zones is being addressed by the next generation of technology -- 4G. Rather than a series of hotspots with dead zones in between, internet providers have developed technology that turns a large geographic area into one large hotspot. While 3G technology is currently the dominant infrastructure at this time, 4G technology is quickly being adopted by top wireless providers.