Most people in the U.S. use wireless connections as a normal part of their daily lives. As a matter of fact, there are 326.4 million wireless subscribers in the U.S., a number that exceeds the nation’s population. People love their smartphones and other connected devices because they can surf the Internet, interact on social media, shop and pay bills, and play games while on the go.
When you have a wireless subscription, you don’t need Wi-Fi to stay connected. Cell phone towers and antennas are located in all major cities around the world, and they communicate with each other through radio frequencies. Wireless systems are so advanced that going without Wi-Fi isn’t usually a problem, even when you’re in remote locations. It hasn’t always been this way, though.
Wireless networks didn’t really take off until 1995, when they reached 30 million subscribers. Before that, wireless service was reserved for the wealthy due to its high cost. Since infrastructure wasn’t yet in place then, service remained spotty. Today, however, technology has significantly improved. You can now get wireless service on a variety of smartphones and tablets, from the most basic devices to flagship phones like the Galaxy Note 4.
When you turn on your wireless device, it searches for a signal and then transmits an ID number to verify that you are a customer. Then, depending on what you do, your device connects into one of the available wireless systems. If you make a phone call, the signal may go through a cell site, be converted to a landline network, or be routed through a fiber optic cable route. Wireless networks all work together so that you can stay connected no matter what you want to do. Check out the infographic below to see stats and more information about wireless networks.