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By Chris De Herrera 
Copyright 1998-2007
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Wireless Communications FAQ
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 1998-2002
Version 1.17  Revised 4/7/2002


Wireless communications provides easy access to information wherever you are.  It is designed to work where landlines don't go.  This article focuses on Ardis, BellSouth Wireless Data (formerly RAM Mobile Data), CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data), Cellular (AMPS, GSM, CDMA, GPRS, 1xRTT), and Ricochet Microcellular Data Network.  One of the most important issues with wireless communications is where is it available.  I recommend that you review each provider before deciding which service to select.

Also for internet connectivity, you will need another service provider.   Examples of providers include Go America, Omnisky, Ricochet, etc.   They normally partner with specific service providers to offer a complete package of hardware and services.  Some providers such as Go America offer both PDA and desktop support with the same peripheral to connect to the internet.

At this time Windows CE does not include in rom initialization settings for Cellular communications.  You will need to contact your modem vendor for assistance in configuring the extra settings for the modem.  I recommend that you have 2 dialup connections - one for landlines and another for cellular.


Service Provider Coverage Map Roaming Speed Connection type Equipment Internet Service Provider
Ardis USA Yes 9,600 to 19,200 baud Analog Motorola Personal Messenger Wireless Modem Card 100D air.mail@ardis - EMail, IKON's MobileCHOICE - EMail
BellSouth Wireless Data (Mobitex) USA Yes 8,000 bits/s Time Division Multiplex Megahertz Allpoints Wireless Modem Go America
CDPD - Cellular Digital Packet Data (also known as Wireless IP) ATT - USA, Bell Atlantic - USA Yes, additional charge 19,200 baud Digital with RC4 Encryption See CDPD Connectivity for a list of hardware Go America
Cellular - AMPS (Analog) Contact your local provider.

On Target Mapping - USA

Yes, additional charge 9,600 baud Analog PC Card Modem with cellular cable Landline ISP
Cellular - GSM - Global System for Mobile Communications Available in USA and Europe (however they are different frequencies) Yes, additional charge 9,600 baud Digital PC Card Modem, or IrDA port on cell phone. 

See Cellular Connectivity for a list of hardware 

Landline ISP
Cellular - CDMA- Code Division Multiple Access Available in USA - Verizon Wireless (Formerly Airtouch and Bell Atlantic) , Sprint Yes, additional charge 14,400 baud Digital See Cellular Connectivity for a list of hardware Sierra Wireless Aircard 510 Landline ISP
Cellular - GPRS (Data for GSM networks) Available in Europe, Canada and the US.  Voicestream Yes, additional charge 69,000 - 115,000 based on the number of channels that the device supports (23,000 per channel) Digital Cellular Carrier Offers Internet Access
Cellular - 1xRTT (Data for CDMA networks) Available from Verizon Yes, additional charge 144,000 baud Digital Sierra Wireless Aircard 555 Cellular Carrier Offers Internet Access
Ricochet Microcellular Data Network USA Yes 28,800 to 128,000 baud Digital with 42 bit Encryption Ricochet Wireless Modems, Sierra AirCard 400, Novatel Wireless Merlin for Ricochet Ricochet

You can transfer contacts to your SMS phone via HandPhone.  It also allows you to send and receive SMS messages as well!

Campus Wireless LANs

There are 2 standards for campus wireless LANs - OpenAir and 802.11.  They both operate at 2.4 to 2.485 ghz.  802.11 operates at 1mb or 2mb(optional).  Right now 802.11b product are interoperable and tested by WiFi.  OpenAir products operate at 1.6 mb are tested interoperable and test by the WLIF.  Both OpenAir and 802.11 products do not require an FCC license.   Some of the vendors offer encryption of data as well.  For OpenAir users none of the vendors offer encryption however frequency hopping would be very difficult to decode.  For more information on Windows CE or Pocket PC Compatibility read 802.11 Wireless LAN Configuration, Proxim RangeLan2 and Proxim Symphony.

Related Links:

Arne's Windows CE Website - Information on GSM and IrDA connectivity.

Microsoft's Mobile Phone to Windows CE Connectivity Page - Europe

PC Week Online - The Wireless Connection

wireless knowledge, a Microsoft and Qualcomm Company - Focuses on providing software and connectivity to allow users to seamlessly access their Exchange 5.5 E-mail, Calendar and Contacts via TCP/IP displayed with  HTML, vCARD, iCAL, and XML using existing and future wireless carriers. Products and services are expected in 1999.

Proxim FAQ - Campus/Building Wireless

802.11 Wireless LAN Configuration - Campus/Building Wireless

Cellular Compatibility - Find out if your cell phone can be connected to  Windows CE or Pocket PC.

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