Where does wi-fi sit on the winding road of wireless technologies? Nicely in the middle. Unlike with cell phones, however, you can't yet switch seamlessly from one wi-fi antenna to another
Typically found in a cordless computer mouse or keyboard sending little bits of data. Must be near a receiver
Used in nearly every remote control on earth, this powerful short-range system is also found in PDAs
Short-distance radio popular in phones, headsets and, lately, car speaker phones. It's also used in some computer devices
In a home, office or "hot spot," wi-fi allows Internet access and creates networks of computers and printers
Short-range radio 6 ft. to 20 ft.
Infrared 20 ft. to 50 ft.
Bluetooth Up to 30 ft.
Wireless Ethernet (wi-fi) Up to 300 ft.
The cord on your home phone probably disappeared more than a decade ago. Now some phones have ranges greater than 1 mile
FAMILY RADIO SERVICE
A good way to keep track of the kids at ski resorts and amusement parks, these walkie-talkies stretch a low-powered radio signal a long way
"Breaker, Breaker, what's your 20?" A radio so popular it spawned a whole new vocabulary, CB remains a vital form of communication
Cellular phones have a wide reach, but call congestion and obstacles like buildings and trees often force carriers to build extra towers
SPACE AND BEYOND
From 22,000 miles out in space, satellites beam TV, radio and phone signals to nearly the entire planet
Cordless phones 500 ft. to 7,000 ft.
Family radio service Up to 3 miles
Citizens band Up to 5 miles
Mobile-phone networks 2 miles to 12 miles per cell tower