With the Internet developing as a central means of business transactions and popular communication, many devices have developed to allow users to communicate without having a computer handy. Today, one can access the Internet through cellular phones, digital PDA's, and laptops.
Cellular phones connect to the Internet through Bluetooth, a technology that allows mobile phones to connect with phones, computers, printers, or other portable devices. Bluetooth emits radio waves in all directions, eliminating the need for a set alignment between devices. These signals can be routed through central servers that allow the user to access the Internet. Cell phones now let you download games and music, check your e-mail, or even read news from online news sources. For many people, one of the most important recent additions has been the ability to access Instant Messaging services. AOL Instant Messenger, MSN IM, and Yahoo Instant Messenger, have established protocols that allow users to chat straight form their cell-phones. While these services are moderately expensive at the moment, as Bluetooth technology and networks become more widespread, the prices will undoubtedly fall creating a modest alternative and giving welcome Internet access to those who are constantly on the move.
Laptops and PDA's can access the Internet through Wi-Fi networks. The main difference between Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, in terms of usability, is that to access Wi-Fi networks, the user must be within a rather small range of the transmitter. In some places, Wi-Fi networks are routed through satellites, creating hot spots (access points) for users, where they would not otherwise be available. For instance, on moving trains, users can nonetheless maintain a steady connection to the Internet. Many cafes and shops now offer wireless networks such as Starbucks and Una Mas that allow their patrons to access the internet. Wi-fi is generally routed through central hubs connected through normal ISPs. Because of this, Wi-fi, unlike Bluetooth, can allow for broadband Internet access, an extremely useful and beneficial addition to all users.
Although moderately pricey these networks allow people to always be in touch, to work away from home, and to keep up with the most recent news and events in a way that was impossible before.