What are Cellular Networks?

The boundaries between cellular networks and the Internet are blurring. Increasingly, and more so in the developing world, the "on ramp" to the Internet is a mobile device accessing the Internet via a cellular network that extends significantly beyond even the electric grid. The 3G cellular networks support broadband Internet, and with self-contained power, can be deployed in even the most remote locations. As the network expands, mobiles are increasingly the access point not only for common tools and communications, but also for information of all kinds, training materials, and more. Because of it is always connected, many people are beginning to look to mobile computing platforms as their device of choice. For this group, mobile computing devices are more affordable, more accessible, and easier to use than desktop computers, and provide more than enough functionality to serve as their primary computing device.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • The incredible growth of cellular networks (see ) is bringing not only phone and communications services, but also access to the Internet and web -- no longer is a school dependent on a wired connection.- Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010
  • I think the iPhone should get a mention for bringing critical mass to usable web access on a mobile device, and the 3G iPad taking this to the next level. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010
  • We have a course on Social & Mobile Computing, and another on mobile application development, and the connectivity is clearly key for these. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010
  • Mobile data access on 3G will become faster and faster and mass usage will drive down the price. If the price comes down enough, it will be possible to consider 3G as a preferred alternative to WiFi on campuses - nick.tate nick.tate Sep 2, 2010.
  • another response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Sadly too many people do not understand the incredible potential of modern mobile devices, and all too often they are banned rather than embraced.- Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010
  • Cellular networks are playing catch up to the wired connections with their faster speeds. As more and more people use mobile devices as their primary computers, cell networks need to respond. These are starting to do so, but the impact of greater coverage and speed may take a few years to have broad impacts due to the expense and logistics, but it will happen as the market will demand it. One example of how this is changing in the US and other areas is with more and new 4G networks coming online. For more see: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100720/ap_on_hi_te/us_tec_wireless_broadband - KeeneH KeeneH Aug 31, 2010
  • Street Computing seems a strongly related theme. - ralf.muhlberger ralf.muhlberger Sep 1, 2010
  • With the ability to now acquire wholesale bandwidth on 3G networks in Australia, it would be possible to consider constructing a 3G version of Eduroam - nick.tate nick.tate Sep 2, 2010.

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • Looking only at the multimedia capture functions in phones, the possibilities for fieldwork are immense -- video and audio recording, photos, real-time Internet access -- all can be used to document activity or evidence in the field.- Larry Larry Aug 23, 2010
  • The ubiquity of well connected mobile devices will lead to the (very timely) end of student computer labs and the nature of these networked location aware devices will lead to the development of applications which will exploit the richness of these end user platforms - nick.tate nick.tate Sep 2, 2010.
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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