A 3G to Wi-Fi bridge is a hardware or software device or application that allows a 3G wireless Internet connection to be rebroadcasted as a standard Wi-Fi hot spot and shared between several Wi-Fi clients.
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Most stand-alone hardware-based 3G Internet connections rely on USB adaptors, PCMCIA or ExpressCard, which are plugged directly into a single computer. Special wireless broadband routers can accept these 3G adaptors and cards and distribute their incoming signals to the wireless clients that connect to the router. This option would allow as many users as an individual router allows, which is typically at least 100.
Software 3G Bridge
Some devices, such as smartphones, that have both 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities, are able to create their own Wi-Fi bridges. On rooted Android smartphones, the apps Barnacle Wi-Fi Tether and Android Wi-Fi Tether will create instant bridges. On Jan 11, 2010, Verizon announced that their upcoming Apple iPhone would have a Personal Hotspot app to create a 3G bridge for the user.
Wireless data providers have also created devices such as the Sprint Overdrive, Verizon Fivespot and AT&T MiFi that receive a 3G or 4G signal and automatically create a Wi-Fi network for the user to access.
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