As discussed earlier in the chapter, infrared (IR) is a wireless transmission medium that sends signals using infrared light waves. Mobile computers and devices, such as a mouse, printer, and smart phone, often have an IrDA port that enables the transfer of data from one device to another using infrared light waves.
Broadcast radio is a wireless transmission medium that distributes radio signals through the air over long distances such as between cities, regions, and countries and short distances such as within an office or home. Bluetooth, UWB, Wi-Fi, and WiMAX communications technologies discussed earlier in this chapter use broadcast radio signals.
Cellular radio is a form of broadcast radio that is used widely for mobile communications, specifically wireless modems and cell phones. A cell phone is a telephone device that uses high-frequency radio waves to transmit voice and digital data messages.
Some mobile users connect their notebook computer or other mobile computer to a cell phone to access the Web, send and receive e-mail, enter a chat room, or connect to an office or school network while away from a standard telephone line. Read Looking Ahead 8-2 for a look at the next generation of cellular communications.