Definition and Explanation of Mobile Computing

Accessing Data From Wherever You Are

Woman on phone in building
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Mobile computing is a generic term that refers to a variety of devices that allow people to access data and information from wherever they are. Sometimes referred to as "human-computer interaction," mobile computing transports data, voice, and video over a network via a mobile device.

Mobile devices can be connected to a local area network (LAN), or they can take advantage of Wi-Fi or wireless technology by connecting via a wireless local area network (WLAN).

The Benefits of Mobile Computing

  • Connectivity: You can stay connected to all sources at all times.
  • Social Engagement: You can interact with a variety of users via the Internet.
  • Personalization: You can tailor your mobile computing to your individual needs.

Mobile Devices

"Mobile device" is a generic term used to refer to a wide range of devices that allow people to access data and information from anywhere at any time, from those that fit in your pocket to laptops that can help you stay connected. They include cellphones and other portable devices. Mobile computing can use cellphone connections to make phone calls, as well as to connect to the Internet. They include: 

  •  Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Wearable computers, such as the Apple Watch

Using Wi-Fi for Mobile Computing

Wi-Fi is a wireless technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data over the internet via radio waves. Devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones can hook into Wi-Fi by choosing a Wi-Fi network in the immediate vicinity.

Often referred to as a "hot spot," Wi-Fi can be found in offices, restaurants, institutions of higher learning, schools, recreational facilities, some public areas and also at home.

At home, you'll need a wireless router connected to your broadband Internet that is often obtained through your cable/internet provider.

When you leave the hot spot area, your mobile device will disconnect from the Internet. Wi-Fi range is generally about 100 feet, although it can depend on the network. 

But once you log into Wi-Fi, your mobile device should remember and automatically connect when you're in that area. For example, if you take your laptop to work every day, it will connect to your company's network every time you log on. When you take that laptop home, it will connect to your personal Wi-Fi when it's used in your house or apartment.

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a term that applies to applications and data storage delivered over the Internet or via wireless technology. The individual user's device – such as computer or cellphone – only provides an interface to interact with the computer programs and data. The programs are run on the service provider's computers and the data is stored wherever the provider deems necessary. The applications and associated data are available wherever you have a connection to the Internet or wireless network.