What is a GPRS Modem?

Dulce Corazon

The word modem is derived from the words modulator demodulator. This device functions by enabling most computers to transmit data to different networks, such as mobile phones or other computers. A general packet radio service (GPRS) modem is another global system for mobile communications (GSM) modem that also supports wireless data transmission using GPRS technology. A GSM modem generally uses a circuit-switched type of technology in transmitting data, while the GPRS modem utilizes packet-switched technology to do the same task. This frequently results in faster transmission of data over a GPRS connection when using the modem.

A GPRS cellphone may act as a GPRS modem to connect a laptop computer to the internet.
A GPRS cellphone may act as a GPRS modem to connect a laptop computer to the internet.

A GRPS cellphone may act as a GPRS modem in such a way that it can connect a laptop or a desktop computer to a network or the Internet. To use the laptop or desktop computer to send or receive short message service (SMS) or multimedia messaging service (MMS) messages via a GPRS network, a GPRS modem is usually required. This is generally a better way to connect to the Internet using mobile and wireless connections than the GSM modem. It is simply faster and more efficient in terms of bandwidth and connection time.

GPRS uses packet-switching networks to transfer data.
GPRS uses packet-switching networks to transfer data.

The basic functions of a GPRS modem include wireless data communication and integration with several applications that require universal serial bus (USB) connections. Between a GPRS cellphone and a stand alone GPRS modem, it is frequently better to use this modem in data transmission. In terms of sending and receiving SMS or MMS, there is negligible difference between the two devices. They both use the same rates and the same speed in transmitting messages.

GPRS modems usually come in the form of an external USB device, some of which include movable external antennas. These external USB devices can be similar in shapes and sizes as the computer mouse or most external USB drives. They also come in the form of cards, usually used for laptops. These types of GPRS modems also usually sport an external antenna, which can be maneuvered to get the maximum wireless signal strength and integrity connection.

Using a GPRS modem lets users access several types of online services because of its ability to support several protocols. These protocols include Internet protocol and X.25 connections, among many others. Internet protocols (IP) are methods utilized in the Internet in sending data from one computer to another. The X.25 connection, popularly used in the 1980s, allowed users to access services like wireless payment portals or terminals.

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Discussion Comments


Interesting. I don't know that much about cell phones but I guess my phone is a GPRS phone because I have the option to turn it into a mobile 3G hotspot. However it costs about thirty dollars a month on top of what I already pay so I decided against it. Enough places have free wi-fi these days I didn't think it would be worth it.


@Monika - My boyfriend and I have had a pretty good experience with 3G internet. He has a portable modem from Clear and he's been pretty satisfied with the speed. I think you really have to shop around and read reviews if you're going to go this route.


I was toying with the idea of getting a 3G USB modem so I could have internet on the go. However one of my friends has a USB modem from Cricket and she hates it. Apparently the connection is so slow it's barely even worth having the modem!

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