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Dictionary.com defines "Wifi" as: "A local area network that uses high frequency radio signals to transmit and receive data over distances of a few hundred feet; uses ethernet protocol."
Simply put, the captivate has the proper hardware to receive a wireless data signal other than the At&t Edge or 3G cellular signal. Meaning the Captivate can pick up a wireless internet signal from your home wireless router, or a local hotspot such as those found at Starbucks. Wifi comes in handy when the At&t 3G data signal is poor in your area resulting in slow data speeds. If an open wifi signal is available the Captivate is able to utilize this as a means of establishing a data connection, often times these speeds are much faster than what current cellular Edge and 3G offers.
At&t customers with tiered data plans should most certainly make the most use of wifi. When using a wifi signal, you are not using bandwidth from At&t wireless.
Be sure to see the instructions on the Data Usage page for disabling the wifi sleep policy.
If you're using wifi on your home network and have Windows PCs, you can use file shares over your wireless network as an alternate way to get files to/from your Captivate. Options include the Astro File Manager (see the Astro SMB Module) as well as File Expert (See the File Expert SMB Mount Plugin).
Connecting to a Windows based PC
First, make sure your phone is set to "Mass Storage" mode:
On the Captivate: go to Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> USB Settings. Select Mass Storage
Connecting your Captivate to a Windows based PC can easily be established using a USB cable, however some further steps may be needed. In order to gain access to both the internal memory and external memory on your Captivate, it is necessary to mount the device. Once you make a physical USB connection, simply slide the notification bar on your phone down. Click on USB Connected, the Captivate will now ask if you would like to mount your device. Once you agree to mount, you should now have access to the internal/external memory, viewable as new drives in Windows. It is crucial that the user reverts this process, meaning unmount and use the Windows safe removal feature. Neglecting this step can lead to file corruption.
Connecting to a Mac
To connect your Captivate to a Mac via USB, you need to enable USB debugging on the phone for some reason. On the Captivate: go to Menu -> Settings -> Applications -> USB Settings. Select Mass Storage. Then go back to Applications -> Development and enable USB Debugging. At this point you can connect the USB cable from your Mac to the Captivate. On the phone, pull down the notification bar, find the notice about the USB connection, click on it then select [Mount]. You should see the icon for the phone appear on your Mac. Be sure to Eject the phone on the Mac when done, then go to the phone, pull down the Notification bar again, and on the USB notice choose [Unmount].
USB connection issues
Auto-Mounting the SD card
Annoyed by having to pull down the notification bar and mount every time you hook up your USB cable? Check out this app: Auto Mount Your SD Card
While not really "connectivity" in the traditional sense, for the purposes of getting data to and from the device one can use the MicroSD card to shuttle files back and forth as a sort of "sneakernet". You will need a MicroSD card, an SD adapter (allows you to read a MicroSD card in a standard SD slot), and a computer with an SD card reader.
- See: Dropbox