Aim and purpose The aim of this unit is to give learners a knowledge of the uses and features of mobile communications devices. Learners will gain an understanding of the implications of mobile communication technologies. Unit introduction Surveys show that upwards of 80 per cent of adults living in the UK currently own a mobile telephone. However, the full range of mobile communications technology embraces more than just the telephone. With the introduction of new operating systems and the increasing prevalence of broadband connectivity, wireless technologies have become a commercially-successful mainstay in the IT industry. An increasing number of Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), smart phones and notebook personal computers (PCs) come equipped with wireless connectivity as standard. Households often have more than one computer and wireless networking enables the remote sharing of printers, file exchange and fast internet connection. This same technology has also liberated private and commercial networks from traditionally structured cabled solutions and provided internet access in public places such as railway stations, cafes and parks (via so called ‘hotspots’). It has also revolutionised the Small Office/Home Office (SoHo) environment by offering greater freedom and flexibility to the way that people live, work and talk to each other. Mobile communications is not without its problems and challenges; most notably the malicious attempts by hackers to intercept and interfere with network data. This unit shows learners the different (and often competing) wireless technologies which are currently available, the mobile devices which benefit them and how these can be used to offer solutions that would have previously been impossible or unthinkable. Additionally, learners will be shown how to create and configure simple wireless communication networks, securing them with current tools and available protocols. Consideration of the technology’s impact on the individual and on society as a whole will also be encouraged.