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The Internet is accessible through the touch of button, so readily available that it may be hard to imagine when wireless connections were a novelty. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 326 million wireless subscriptions — more than the country’s population. The method of connection has changed dramatically, from dial-up, to ethernet connections, to WiFi, to simply plucking a cellular signal out of the air, and the types of devices that can connect have also changed. Gone are the days when being online meant being tethered to a computer at a desk. The evolution of laptops, tablets, and smartphones like the Galaxy S6, along with wide-ranging networks like T-Mobile’s, has made social networking, web surfing, and emailing available virtually anywhere.

Wireless has come a long way, with rapid advances in less than 50 years. In 1946, the ability was rare and expensive, costing what is equal today to $190 per month. And even with devices that could send and pick up signals, there often weren’t enough reliable towers nearby for them to use. But by 1995, wireless had found its niche, with about 13 percent of the population subscribing to a network. In 2009, 91 percent of the U.S. had become wireless subscribers.

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Getting online through a wireless signal is now second nature to most consumers, but there are actually several ways your smartphone or other device searches for, and connects to, a signal. Now there is an increasing need for speed and for the connection to be capable of handling large amounts of data so that users can stream movies or music, or process complex files for work on the go. Read on to see how wireless connection between many types of devices is changing the way the world communicates.