| || |
to answer some of your questions out of order:
The bars don't mean anything in particular, other than more bars = more signal. You can't say that 2 bars is twice as strong as 1, or 4 is twice as strong as 2, though.
You say your phone doesn't pick up the coffee house wifi; I assume you have manually turned on wifi on your phone. It doesn't turn on automatically. Assuming you did, the wifi in the Evo doesn't seem to pick up signals as well as some devices. A computer, especially, has a lot more power to give to the wifi radio, so it may pick up weaker signals than the phone can.
The EVO hotspot feature turns your phone into a router. In essence, your phone becomes a mini version of the coffee house. Your computer sees a real strong signal because it's only a few feet from the "coffee house." But that doesn't have anything to do with the signal between your phone and the Sprint wireless network. So your computer talks to the phone with a real strong signal, but the phone still has to use the weak phone connection to transfer your computer's data to the internet.
Does that make sense? If not, feel free to ask for more clarification. Getting information is what the forum is here for.
Now then, onto your list of wireless technologies. Let me start by adding a couple of others:
1G, which was never called that, was the original cellular network, which was analog, not digital. it worked ok for voice, but tended to have static and noise, and didn't handle data.
2G, which was also not called that, was the first generation of digital. Less noise, and capable of data, but slow. Sprint's version is known as:
1xRTT - provides data capability, but slowly. If your Sprint phone is roaming on a non-Sprint network (like Verizon's), you'll only get this slower data speed.
3G - Sprint's (and Verizon's) "high speed" version is EvDO. This is the basic high speed connection that is available pretty much everywhere on Sprint's network. The status bar on top of your phone will show 3G when you're using this, which will be most of the time. This service is turned on automatically when the phone is turned on, unless you manually turn it off (like Airplane Mode).
4G - Sprint's newer "high(er) speed" network, using a technology called Wi-Max. This has the potential to be much higher speed than 3G, but is still in its infancy, and very few areas of the country have 4G service yet. 4G also uses more power (i.e., drains the battery faster) than 3G, especially when it's hunting for a 4G signal that isn't there. For this reason, 4G isn't turned on automatically. You have to do it either with the Widget that HTC supplies, or from the phone's setting menu. IF 4G is turned on, and IF you get a 4G signal where you are, you'll see a 4G icon on the status bar.
WiFi: This is relatively short range wireless, like your laptop and coffee house use. Ifyou have a wifi signal, it uses much less power than 3G or 4G, and provides much faster data speeds. Like 4G though, it's not turned on automatically. If you're near a wifi signal (like your cofee house), you can turn wifi on and use it for data. There's an icon for that, too, although it doesn't say "WiFi." Note, however, that you should turn WiFi off when you're not using it to save the battery.
I'm going to skip HotSpot for a second.
Mobile network is voice, 1G, 1xRTT, 3G (EVDO) or 4G (WiMax). All of these are what your phone uses to connect to Sprint (or other carriers if you're roaming).
WiFi is NOT the mobile network, because it's not connecting to Sprint's network, it's connecting via whatever the WiFi is connected to. For example, if you use WiFi in a Starbucks your data is connecting to AT&T, because that's who Starbucks uses for internet access.
Hotspot: OK, this one's a little more complicated. Hotspot uses both the mobile network (3G or 4G) and WiFi, but....
Let's review: when you use your phone to connect to your coffee house's WiFi, you're connecting to someone else's WiFi router. That router, in turn, connects to the internet, usually through a wired connection.
When you turn on the hotspot feature of your phone, you're turning your phone into a router. Other computers can connect to your phone, instead of the other way around. Your phone then connects to the internet using the mobile network (3G or 4G).
Again, feel free to ask more questions.