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Portable Wi-Fi Hotspots

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the internet-in-your-pants dept.

98

Dekortage writes "David Pogue reviews several portable wi-fi access points in the New York Times. If you have cellular Internet access, you can plug the PC card into the wi-fi box and presto, you've got Wi-Fi from wherever you are." From the article: "The card provides the Internet connection, courtesy of those companies' 3G ("third generation") high-speed cellular data networks. The box just rebroadcasts that connection as a Wi-Fi signal so that all nearby computers -- not just one privileged laptop -- can go online. With those PC cards, you can go online anywhere there's a cellular signal: in a taxi, on a bus, in a waiting room or wherever. In major cities, the speed is delightful, like a D.S.L. or slowish cable modem (400 to 700 kilobits a second)."

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98 comments

And the price... (2)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798116)

3G data here (in Australia) is farking expensive. I don't know why you would want to share your limited data allowance that you pay more than $1/meg for with everyone else?

Re:And the price... (1)

Mister White (892068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798126)

Well, luckily for us here in America, 3G wireless data costs aren't (nearly) that high...

Re:And the price... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798179)

Of course if you pay by the megabyte, it makes no sense to share. Only people with flat rate plans (plenty in the U.S.) would buy these things.

Re:And the price... (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798235)

Typically the application is to share a single 3g connection with multiple users. (e.g. getting 5 or 6 company laptops onto the internet at a tradeshow while only needing 1 evdo card, and associated service plan.)

I don't know of anyone who uses them to create mobile hotspots for the general public... although I suppose one could.

Re:And the price... (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798291)

Most of the providers here in the US have unlimited data plans available, for $50-100. But yeah, the per-byte plans are outrageous and can wind up being $50 for a few megabytes -- clearly they'd like everyone to buy an unlimited plan right up front.

If people start making open hotspots, I suspect they'll find the cell providers cutting them off or otherwise changing the deal (which of course no cell CUSTOMER could ever do without paying an outrageous cancellation fee, isn't "capitalism" great when only one side is allowed to negotiate?).

US Carriers are Pretty Clueless on 3G (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798325)

Unlimited? You keep using that word, but I do not think it means what you think it means.


Sure, they put out lots of hype about 3G, but for most of them the "unlimited" plans really mean "all the bits your cellphone screen can display and you're not allowed to Bluetooth/Cable/IR to your laptop", plus there's a much more expensive "unlimited" plan that lets you actually connect a computer, though there's probably fine print in the contract that limits you to a few hundred megabytes of unlimitedness.

So if I pay a few hundred dollars for a locked Treo/etc., I can get some use of their limited unlimited service, but with a smaller-screen phone, the performance difference between ~9600-baud CDPD and 200kbps or 2 Mbps 2.5G/3G/3.5G/etc. isn't significant except for uploading camera pictures, and I'd much rather upload pictures to my PC using USB or Bluetooth, because my PC is where I want to use them.

Re:US Carriers are Pretty Clueless on 3G (1)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798418)

We're not talking about unlimited phone data plans, we're talking about dedicated PCMCIA cellular modems. Unlimited for them is obviously about plugging into a computer and running normal web/data over the connection, not viewing things on a 320x240 screen.

Verizon Wireless, for example, sells a product targetted to consumers call BroadbandAccess, that is $79.95/month for unlimited 700-800kbps data. It is actually intended as an alternative to Cable and DSL for normal computer usage -- the wireless Router products that Pogue is reviewing are based around these PC Cards and sharing their access over a WLAN, not some sort of frankenstein's monster of hooking your cell phone up to a box and using it as a modem.

Re:US Carriers are Pretty Clueless on 3G (1)

cptgrudge (177113) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798528)

I use the NationalAccess service from Verizon Wireless on my cel phone for internet access. A bluetooth adaptor, a little software hacking on my Treo, and I have unlimited data. It's only 128kbps, but I don't have much of a need for lots of bandwidth. With a little time, I can even download torrents.

But, you're right. My setup is a frankenstein's monster to an end user. Replace the bluetooth Palm app with a hacked version?

I'm sure that Verizon locked out the bluetooth dialup access for precisely what I'm doing. All those Treos with unlimited data plans connecting to the internet on a computer? It might be more than they want the consumer to do. Doing an email sync with work and checking Slashdot Palm [slashdot.org] doesn't use much bandwidth, but other uses are much more demanding.

I can just imagine those Verizon folks:

"How the hell does this person download half a GB of data in one night onto a TREO?"

actually pretty cheap... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14799611)

I have T-mobile (Deutsche Telecom) here in the US. for $19/month I get unmetered GSM/GPRS data service as an add-on to my bluetooth-capable cellphone, and $29/month for unlimited data on a non-phone device (I use a Sierra GPRS data card). Of course the connection speed varies according to reception and location, but on more than one occasion I've used my mac to share out my GPRS connection over wifi to an office full of coworkers, and left it nailed up all day. For less than $1/day, it's not a bad solution for a bunch of roaming consultants who get stuck in a pinch with no connectivity.

Re:actually pretty cheap... (1)

blowjustinup (957322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14803325)

Hmm.. I have a Sidekick II right now with the unlimited data plan, and I was thinking about along with this, getting a PCMCIA card for use in my laptop. I asked a rep at T-Mobile if this would work (Just transferring the SIM card when I needed to use my laptop with the PCMCIA card). He said that it wouldn't work because it was a 'different kind of data'. I didn't really think he knew what he was talking about. Can you confirm that this will/won't work? Thanks.

Working on it! (1)

dichro (49708) | more than 8 years ago | (#14806119)

I'm working on this particular problem - mostly 'coz I'm in Australia too :)

Charon [wiki.rcpt.to] will do micropayment-based charging for using a wireless service. If you can run on it on your wireless device (there's ipkgs available for OpenWRT at the moment) then you can share wireless on a cost-recovery (or profit-making, for that matter) basis. I have my iBurst service available to all and sundry at 4c/MB at the moment, for example.

Still early days for usability, though.

also notable... (2)

Mister White (892068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798117)

Also it should be known that the Kyocera 'KR1 mobile router' is also capable of connecting via cable to several cell phones, as well as the PC cards. Currently, there's not a ton of models supported, but you can pretty much guarantee that will change pretty soon.

That's awesome. I have a stupid question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798119)

Is this thing compatible with the Nintendo DS wifi?

Usage fee (1)

gatzke (2977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798129)


I heard of some lady that did something similar with a cell phone + laptop deal, but she ran a p2p application.

Apparently they have a cap on usage, and she got stuck for hundreds in overages...

This defeats the purpose of charging you $100 per month to use a wifi PC, so cell providers won't let this fly.

Re:Usage fee (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798382)

Can you provide backup on this? Right now, Verizon offers "Unlimiited" internet access via their "Airpass" and Sprint offers their service for 39.99 per month up to 40MB, then $0.01 per kB after that, maxing out the price when you reach the $99.99 level, but not charging for data transfer after that. I haven't read the fine print though, and that's what'd kill.

So what? (0, Offtopic)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798134)

Having done some work in both NYC and Wash. D.C., this is not new- I could connect through unsecured wifi nodes throughout both cities while in a cab with my laptop, wireless PCMIA card (not specialized hardware or software) seamlessly two years ago. (pardon the grammatical structure- no, I could not connect from D.C. and NYC at same time!-get real you nitpickers!)

What's really new here?

Re:So what? (1)

Stubtify (610318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798230)

I'll bite. This isn't all that new, as the box has been on the scene for a while, but to answer your question, this isn't a wifi network that someone in a physical office or house has running unsecured. This is a box that connects to a cellular network and then rebroadcasts the signal via wifi. So wherever you and the box are you have a wireless access point as well. This would even work underground on the DC metro (with verizon). One of these boxes + a cellular data card would allow the whole car to use the internet.

Old news?? (1)

No2Gates (239823) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798140)

Didn't someone make one of these and it was reported here on /. over 9 months ago. I think it was using a Verizon card.

Re:Old news?? (1)

gerf (532474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798388)

You are recalling the story of someone taking TWO of these cards, soldering the heck out of them, and getting a faster total connection. however, it required a laptop with two pcmcia slots on top of each other, the company had to take your computer for a while to do this, and you ended up paying for two subscriptions, one for each card. Oh, and you voided warranties and all that happy stuff.

Re:Old news?? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798490)

You are recalling the story of someone taking TWO of these cards, soldering the heck out of them, and getting a faster total connection. however, it required a laptop with two pcmcia slots on top of each other, the company had to take your computer for a while to do this, and you ended up paying for two subscriptions, one for each card. Oh, and you voided warranties and all that happy stuff.

Sounds like a waste of time - just write a channel bonding network driver that coalesces the two network interfaces. Then you can share it with anybody you want.

Re:Old news?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14799333)

Sounds like a waste of time - just write a channel bonding network driver that coalesces the two network interfaces. Then you can share it with anybody you want.

"Easy! Just look at what I do!
(He waves his magic wand and intones the magic incantation: "Foo! Bar! Baz! Quux!" The flame of the antique oil lamp flickers, the drawer beside the computer desk makes an alarming cracking sound, the safe in the basement rattles...). See? (opens up list of installed network drivers) A chnnel bonding network driver!

Later that day he logs into his online bank account and marvels at the speed of his upgraded network connection.
"What? Where have my savings gone?" (Checks his stock portfolio and mortgage records...) "What the hell?"

The Genie oozes out of the antique oil lamp and says to him: "What did you expect? You asked for a channel bonding network driver! You see, because of the First Law of Econodynamics, capital is preserved under all circumstances. The money had to come from somewhere, you know... In order to pay the licensing fees for the SDK's and driver source code, I had to transfer your life savings and those of your extended family into the bank accounts of GreedyCorp.com who designed your network cards and MurkySoft.com who designed your OS. Also, when you wonder why your thumb and forefinger are suddenly so sore, that's because I had to make you sign all those NDA's and licensing contracts in order to acquire all that source code. By the way, the printed documentation is stored in your desk drawer. Just be glad I saved you the discomfort of writing and testing all the channel bonding code yourself, because you wouldn't be able to use your fingers for the next three months..."

Re:Old news?? (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799428)

"Easy! Just look at what I do!

Sorry bud, there are no NDAs to sign - just write a fakie driver that coalesces two other drivers. Write it once and use it everywhere - all you need is the OS DDK.

Re:Old news?? (1)

lga (172042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799899)

You are recalling the story of someone taking TWO of these cards, soldering the heck out of them, and getting a faster total connection.

No, there was a story about a homemade wifi - mobile phone router. [slashdot.org]

Re:Old news?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798698)

Calling a Slashdot article 'Old news' or a 'Dupe' is for people who are anal, pedantic and boring.

The point of Slashdot is the moderated discussions, ok? It's not a technology blog (there are plenty of those).

Mobile Wardriving (4, Interesting)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798152)

Now you can wardrive [wifimaps.com] AND provide internet access at the same time. I wonder if you can broadcast a better signal than people's own APs, and redirect them to your own loacal propaganda. I think I have a summer project now...

Moderation -32767: Huh? (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798198)

Do you even know what wardriving is? It involves looking for other people's access points.

Re:Moderation -32767: Huh? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798239)

Yes I think he does, and he considers the possibility of a home user connecting to him in his car rather than to the persons own in house wifi ISP connection.
With a nice set of host redirections you could do have plenty of fun.

Hanging around peoples homes waiting for them to connect to their bank account or buying things would never be so easy.

Re:Moderation -32767: Huh? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798546)

Yes, thank you -- I like to think I take a personal hand in promoting safe wardriving practices [seattlewireless.net] . I also recommend having a bit of fun, but I do not advocate breaking any laws -- like siphoning credit card information, passwords, etc.
With all the hubub freakout over people wi-camping streetside, I wonder how people would react to superceding in-home APs with a more mobile approach. I think a game, or "tag you're it" type of thing might be fun. I think I'd hate to have to carry a couple of laptops in my backpack but it would be fun to watch the hit counter -- especially in a dense City area.

Re:Moderation -32767: Huh? (1)

sholden (12227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798470)

Do you know what the word "and" means?

Beter yet... (1)

Harker (96598) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798246)

Quietly set up at your local college (one that does NOT provide WiFi access), in an area where students gather to do home work, and turn it on.

As people find they have an internet connection suddenly, you get to surf through any unsecured laptops' shared folders, like "My Music."

Of course, I'm not advocating anything of the sort... *whistles innocently*

H.

Re:Beter yet... (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798454)

you can already do this. this card isn't anything all that new. just current tech in a new box.

Re:Mobile Wardriving (1)

dsanfte (443781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798840)

Er, who will have time to connect to your AP as you zoom by in your car? Doubt they'd have enough time to load google before you would be out of range.

Re:Mobile Wardriving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798987)

How fast do you drive? When I'm a highway with a friend, we usually go around the same speed as everyone else on the road. If someone else on the road had this enabled, then we can find them and just stay right behind them so I can look at porn the whole way.

Oh wait, I do that anyways. Well, at least I can be looking for new porn.

The price is prohibitive here as well (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798161)

As long as prices run in the 1/mb range, this will not really be the killer application. Compare it to internet access, until the price got affordable (it was like 5$/hour here until about 1992), nobody went on the 'net either.

Not to mention the old saying "I got WiFi access now, my neighbor bought an Access Point". Who's want to run an AP through a line that's probably costing more than your rent if some leecher finds your AP? How secure can those APs be made so it's possible to make sure you're not going to invite everyone on the airport to a P2P party?

Re:The price is prohibitive here as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798171)

jeez just set the password

Re:The price is prohibitive here as well (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798181)

If you had RTFA you would have known that most cell wireless providers offer "unlimited" access plans for about $60 - $80 per month which is expensive but not outrageous.

Re:The price is prohibitive here as well (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798214)

Not everyone lives in the US and has access to those providers. And, as usual, our providers will wait and see if and how it works out in the US. I'm quite sure we won't see this cross the pond 'til well into 2009.

Re:The price is prohibitive here as well (2, Informative)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798322)

If you had RTFA you would have known that most cell wireless providers offer "unlimited" access plans for about $60 - $80 per month which is expensive but not outrageous.

Alas, at least in my experience, it's definitely "unlimited" rather than truly unlimited. I used to listen to Shoutcast and other internet radio stations regularly on my Treo 600, but after a few months of this got a phone call from Sprint PCS telling me to stop using up so much bandwidth.

Re:The price is prohibitive here as well (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799849)

You can see this behaviour in ISPs here too. Yeah, they offer "unlimited" traffic (at least some do, some make you pay for your internet traffic), but as soon as you actually make use of that "unlimited" traffic you get rather unfriendly mails.

Verizon is unlimited. (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802878)

We have two unlimited cell plans (sometimes in two places at the same time) and run several computers for extened periods over the verizon modems on the Broadband access plan. Never been a problem in 2 years.

EVDO at 6000', enjoy your flight.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798194)

Just took a puddle-jumper flight (cruising at a max altitude of 6000'), and was up and running on my Verizon EVDO card. FYI, the newer Samsung EVDO cards smoked our insanely priced T1 line at the office. $59.99/month unlimited, can't go wrong. EVDO + wifi card + Streets&Trips06 + Netstumbler + GPS + Streetstumbler = good times.

Internet Connection Sharing... (2, Interesting)

FuryG3 (113706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798197)

Is easy to do under Linux or Windows, so you can already do this without any fancy hardware.

1) Plug in WAP wherever you are
2) Enable ICS or iptables on whatever computer has both the mobile internet card and a wifi card
3) Configure IPs to use the computer in step 2 as gateway
4) Profit! er, I mean: Surf!

We did this on the way up to defcon between 3 cars like 4 or 5 years ago... :)

On a Mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798340)

Much easier on a Mac, 5 clicks...open the sharing control panel, click on the internet panel, set "connection to share" to the EVDO card, and click share via airport. Click start and you are a mobile access point

OS X too... (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798375)

Is easy to do under Linux or Windows, so you can already do this without any fancy hardware.

Same with OSX; you can pick which interface to share, and what interfaces(multiple ones can be used) to share it with. I've done it before in hotels where we didn't all want to pay for high speed internet, so each night one of us 'bought' internet and shared it with everyone else.

Anyone else get the feeling the summary is major astroturf? Half expecting it to dice and do my taxes, from the sound of it.

Re:Internet Connection Sharing... (1)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798911)

I hope they're doing this kind of stuff with EDGE, UDMA, or EVDO because if they're using vanilla GSM/GPRS then its too slow for more than just one PC. I tried doing this with 1 or 2 friends, and having that 2nd pc online made things like google timeout.

Re:Internet Connection Sharing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14799214)

Get rid of the spywares ;)

Re:Internet Connection Sharing... (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798938)

We did this on the way up to defcon between 3 cars like 4 or 5 years ago...
Nothing quite like playing Quake III Arena between cars at 75MPH :-D

Re:Internet Connection Sharing... (1)

JerLasVegas (791093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799060)

while driving ? :)

The price of convenience.... (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802926)

We've been doing this for years at events. For some reason, every time we shut everything down and come back in the morning the network doesn't work and we have to redo the network setup on every computer. You also always need to have the computer with the cell modem on, and if you need to change which computer has the modem you have to go and mess with your network settings again. Or if the computer with the connection crashes (as Windows computers are prone to do) your connection goes down with it.

So it would be nice to have a separate, dedicated box that was designed specifically for serving out a wireless connection and not have to worry about that stuff.

Also useful if you don't have a laptop with a card slot, or even if you live in an urban area and want to use cellular service with your home PC. I could cancel my cable modem service if I lived in a covered area.

Worked for us at Linuxworld 2005 (2, Interesting)

mattbee (17533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798207)

We exhibited at the UK Linuxworld 2005 and because previous shows wanted like £300 for a 64Kb internet connection to the stand, it turned out to be cheaper for us to commit to paying that much over 1 year for an unlimited 3G/UMTS plan and PCMCIA card. We attached a wi-fi & 3G cards to a laptop, some software written in the car, and it turns out our portable hot-spot was providing 200-300Kb of internet access for several stands in the room that had found our AP. I like the principle but when the ridiculous per-MB usage charges kick in for 3G access it might not be so smart :-)

The Real Question: (1)

repruhsent (672799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798211)

Could this open some eyes and increase interest in alternative (Linux, Mac) offerings?

Mac and Phoebus (0, Troll)

DaveDD (957129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798966)

I am a long time Mac fan, found a great deal on EBay (http://stores.ebay.com/The-Mobile-Hotspot [ebay.com] ) for the 3G Phoebus product. I bought one for $249 after rebate ! The KR1 is $299 from Kyocera and might be out of stock again. I heard it has a lot of technical problems. The Phoebus just like David Pogue said his this article. It is really cool, really easy to use, I am really happy and would recommend it to other Mac fans.

A cinch under Mac OS X (1)

Nicky G (859089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798233)

This kind fo thing is a cinch to set up under Mac OS X. And w/ Sprint EV-DO (over a Mbit down) costing $60-$70/month, quite worthwhile. I am my own hotspot everywhere I go! :-D

Popsci Had this in How2.0 a few months ago (1)

PurpleMonkeyKing (944900) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798237)

Re:Popsci Had this in How2.0 a few months ago (1)

sloths (909607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798620)

You beat me to it.

Does Unlimited really mean Unlimited yet ? (2, Insightful)

JerLasVegas (791093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798274)

I remember my dial up companies bitching about my usage beacause I would be on 24/7. They tried to say that they only provide Unlimited Internet if you are actually using it. It was nice though when I had one dial up isp called CTS net in San Diego back in 1997 or so. I would leave the red hat box on 24/7 with a firewall. They actually were convinced that I was not online because they could not ping me. It was quite a laugh. However, Verizon and Sprint both provide high speed wireless in Las Vegas with EVDO technology. They charge around $60USD/month for unlimited access. At what point are they going to limit the unlimited like the dial up companies did? I understand that the dial up companies did it because they were limited to the physical number of phone lines, but can Sprint and Verizon come up with some ridiculous exuse? I think they are probably working on that right now.

Re:Does Unlimited really mean Unlimited yet ? (2, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798464)

Rogers, Cogeco, and others (Toronto area) have already come up with the "excuse" to limit bandwidth far below the rates they advertise. In some cases their traffic shaping results in poorer performance than you'd get with an old dial-up modem.

In most industries you're expected to grow your capacity to service the market. With cablecos, they'd rather charge you the full price and limit your service. The problem is, why pay for an "extra fast" link if it doesn't even perform as well as the "light" package is supposed to?

Re:Does Unlimited really mean Unlimited yet ? (1)

Mister White (892068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798778)

There've already been a ton of complaints from Verizon's customers on their so-called 'unlimited usage' advertising.

Re:Does Unlimited really mean Unlimited yet ? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799701)

yea, i got hit with the same excuse years ago when my ISP wanted my static IP back.

one night my workstation locked up, but not my modem/router so i had like 12 hours of 'inactivity'. They used that as the excuse to terminate my account.

Stompbox (1)

Tugrik (158279) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798288)

You can also build your own [stompboxnetworks.com] if you want. :) This got slashdotted last year [slashdot.org] . It's pretty much the same as a JunXion box but in a DIY format. This was also in Vol.03 of MAKE: magazine.

--the guy who built the stompbox :)

Re:Stompbox (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798526)

This is the way I'm going to do it. Why pay $600 for one of these "mobile hotspots" when you can build your own for around $200 in hardware. Not to mention that with a soekris computer you can use ip route tools to setup traffic shaping. I particular like this script: easyshaper [sf.net] .

I just want one! (1)

DavidHOzAu (925585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798293)

FTA:
the Junxion has some neat features, including the ability to greet colleagues with a splash screen. ("Welcome to Dave's free Wi-Fi highway! Click Connect to continue, and don't forget to thank Dave by dropping off cash or baked goods at his cubicle.")

Sound's like it'll pay itself off in no time. ;-)

baked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798406)

"Dave's not here man!"

Re:I just want one! (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799276)

Do we assume that Dave is...

a) At work? In which case his boss isn't going to be too happy if half the workforce are bypassing the secured, corporate gateway to the outside word.

or

b) Sitting on a toilet somewhere (local Mall or gym?) in his makeshift 'office'? - in which case I'm staying well away from Dave and he needs to get a life.

Who needs portable Wi-Fi? (2, Funny)

KingJoshi (615691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798295)

You mean people actually leave their parent's basement?

Re:Who needs portable Wi-Fi? (1)

hajmola (82709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798330)

Now I can.

Funny. (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798296)

"The card provides the Internet connection, courtesy of those companies' 3G ("third generation") high-speed cellular data networks. The box just rebroadcasts that connection as a Wi-Fi signal so that all nearby computers -- not just one privileged laptop -- can go online."

I remember when 3G was first being discussed, lots of /.'ers couldn't understand why anybody would want a 'broadband' connection on their cell phones.

Re:Funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801216)

I remember when 3G was first being discussed, lots of /.'ers couldn't understand why anybody would want a 'broadband' connection on their cell phones.

Almost all advances in mobile phone functionality is greeted on Slashdot by a lot of posts like that. "Why would anybody want that on their cellphone". "I just want to talk", etc.

I've never understood this luddite attitude, it's like wishing back to PC's without Internet and multimedia.

Maybe some of the Slashdot audience is getting older (remember Douglas Adams' "Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things"), or it is coming mainly from US, which is lagging several years behind Europe and some of Asia in adoption of advanced mobile services and devices, so maybe they just haven't experienced and getting used to the advantages yet.

Re:Funny. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14801876)

I've never understood this luddite attitude

It's what I call the /. 'nyaa-nyaa' crowd that's always waiting in the stands/bleachers, like the audience hoping to see a car crash at NASCAR, waiting for this gee-whiz thing to fail, and being there to say, Told you so nyaa nyaa. But then the thing takes off and these naysayers spin around and say, I saw this a couple weeks back...

In truth, we're the ones doing catch-up most of the time, because the companies are taking along time to figure out how to make the most money out of some new tech (see the posts re "unlimited use" versus unlimited unlimited above).

Re:Funny. (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 8 years ago | (#14802225)

I have access to all that crap, but using it via the phone is pointless. IT takes so long to hammer in addresses on those crappy little keypads.

Sure, if I could link it to the PC and use my PC to do the browsing... wait, I can. Shit, if I want to take the phone out of my pocket I could use IRDA to get ~1MB/sec to the phone... plenty fast enough for 3G.

But wait there's more. If you but a phone or laptop today we'll throw in a thing called Bluetooth. Your phone connects to your PC with bluetooth and can share the broadband connection that the phone has. Multiple bluetooth users can connect to my phone simultaneously, making it interesting for sharing the internet connection.

Not that I ever bother. There are enough unsecured APs around with much faster connections behind them than a 3G phone.

Or if you want... (1)

feagle814 (640886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798301)

You could build your own:

http://devices.natetrue.com/mobileap [natetrue.com]

Made from a router using OpenWrt Linux and a cell phone data cable. Batteries not included.

A crowd of technophiles would follow you around! (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798315)

Yeah, it'd be a great idea except for the inevitable crowd of people (say better: nerds) that would follow you around once they found out you've got the hotspot.

"dude, he's got the hotspot. FOLLOW THAT GEEK!"

Nothing New... (1)

ampmouse (761827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798318)

The Portable Node idea is nothing new. It Has Been Done Before [seattlewireless.net] , but this is the first (that I have seen) commercial implementation. At the price it is going for ($600) I doubt anyone will buy it, as you can build your own for almost half as much.

PocketPC.... (1)

I kan Spl (614759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798332)

Anyone know how to make a PocketPC phone do this?

Other then being a big money hole, and a way to play solitare I'm trying to figure out what to do with mine....

dovado (1)

muftak (636261) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798351)

these guys [dovado.com] do a similar gateway, so you can put any 3g pcmcia card into it... more usefull with fixed rate broadband wireless td-cdma or wimax ISPs

Hardly new but totally pointless (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798360)

Let's see...I can plug cellular access card into my laptop or I can buy an expesive box, plug my cellular access card into that, then connect to that box using the wireless card in my laptop. Um...Why? What's the point? Cellular data access is hella-expensive. No way am I going to be sharing that with anyone else. And, if I am crazy enough to do that (or I need to share with a business unit), I can plug the card into my laptop and turn on internet connection sharing with my laptop's WiFi adapter.

RTFA (1)

Foerstner (931398) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798467)

"First, not all computers have the necessary card slot. ( Apple's iBooks and new MacBook Pro laptops come to mind.) Second, a mobile router can accommodate machines with no wireless features at all -- like desktop computers -- thanks to standard Ethernet network jacks on the back. (The Kyocera has four, the Junxion two and the Top Global one.)"

And, if I am crazy enough to do that (or I need to share with a business unit), I can plug the card into my laptop and turn on internet connection sharing with my laptop's WiFi adapter.

What if said business unit does not feel like having to follow you around to use the connection? Or doesn't want to have it's Internet connection interrupted when you go to lunch?

Re:RTFA (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798991)

Uh huh. I did RTFA. Brilliant move if you bought a MacBook Pro without taking your connectivity needs into account first. I have an ibook. Typing on it now. I knew it didn't have a PC card slot when I bought it. I considered my needs and determined that the lack of a PC card slot would probably not be an issue. I figured I could always use bluetooth or USB to connect to my cell phone if I ever wanted to go the mobile data route.

Desktops? Do you really think there's much call for this? How many people set up a desktop computer in a location that doesn't already have some kind of service? Not even a phone line. In this case, same solution I would use for my ibook. $15 bluetooth dongle and a cell phone with data capability.

I was really reaching for the "business unit" thing. Where are they set up that doesn't already have some sort of internet connection? Working out in the field? Fine. Spend the same amount of money on a laptop dedicated to this purpose. It can be configured to do a lot more than a one-trick-pony.

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14800253)

I have an ibook. Typing on it now. I knew it didn't have a PC card slot when I bought it.

And next week we're starting on more complex sentences that do more than just state the obvious. Class dismissed!

Re:Hardly new but totally pointless (1)

baggins105 (826274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800299)

One application i know of is use in trains/buses to provide access to users in places where wi-fi may not be available but 3G cellular data is available. This is info i got from a Kyocera rep at a conference a few days ago, although i don't know how many places will have 3G but not wi-fi...

3G data traffic is expensive (1)

dido (9125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798404)

Since in most places you're billed by the kilobyte, even modest usage could run up a significant bill. NTT DoCoMo in Japan has data download rates that range from JPY 0.84 to 1.26 per kilobyte. A yen is approximately 0.8 US cents, so downloading a megabyte goes to about US$7. Downloading a copy of the Linux kernel at those rates would cost you JPY 33,000 (US$280), which is insane. This might work in other countries where mobile carriers provide flat rates for 3G data, but it would very rapidly become unworkable if you get charged by the kilobyte, and that appears to be a far more common scenario.

Why Bother wasting your money... (1)

Sembetu (954446) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798459)

When you can accomplish this for much less... Okay, let's think ClearWire. I am personally not a fan, as I don't need to move my connection around, however, ponder the following morsels: 1. Monthly lease for ClearWire Reciever: 4.99 2. Monthly charge for Access: 29.99 (first three months at 19.99) 3. 768 Down/256 Up 4. NETGEAR - WGR101 on PriceGrabber: $29.99 5. Your current Laptop. Total up front: $54.97 - Less than the advertised $60.00 for the cellular wireless access (which is per month btw). Monthly charges: First three months {24.98} After: {$34.98} Seems to me the person who comes up with an enclosure for these two devices could stand to gain quite a bit from the apparent *ahem* demand for this ability. Sounds like the original idea is a bust to me.

Peace-driving? (1)

antron-jedi (951323) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798461)

I'm picturing someone going about town looking for "coldspots" and then providing wireless to those places. Call it peacedriving??

mod 3owN (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798491)

that has 7ost people playing can the aacounting recent article put sanctions, and Talk to one of the Triumphs would soon Are you GAY

What a fscked up post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798497)

If you have cellular Internet access, you can plug the PC card

What PC card?

into the wi-fi box

What wi-fi box?

and presto, you've got Wi-Fi from wherever you are." From the article: "The card

What card?

provides the Internet connection, courtesy of those companies'

What companies?

3G ("third generation") high-speed cellular data networks. The box

What box?

just rebroadcasts that connection as a Wi-Fi signal so that all nearby computers -- not just one privileged laptop -- can go online. With those PC cards,

What PC cards?

you can go online anywhere there's a cellular signal: in a taxi, on a bus, in a waiting room or wherever. In major cities, the speed is delightful, like a D.S.L. or slowish cable modem (400 to 700 kilobits a second)."

Typical, typical, typical.

Slashbot, Digg and its successors will bury you if you don't get your collective head out of the sand. Why? Because you can read shit posts any time of the day at Digg and nobody cares because everybody knows the posts are shit. You people, on the other hand, post shit and pretend its full of goodness.

A neat idea. (1)

baKanale (830108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798692)

I saw an article about this in, I think, Popular Science. I wish I remembered the issue, but I don't. Anyway, they used one of these things with a backpack mounted with solar cells to create a backpack that would serve a wireless network anywhere, like in the woods. It's kinda a neat idea to play with, and would be definately useful for anybody seriously doing work in the field. That and it'd be really hot for long distance roadtrips.

Fp Sponge (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14798819)

Pro-homosexu4:l [goat.cx]

I can already get wireless anywhere I go (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14798948)

iwlist wlan0 scanning

Mac and Phoebus a good match (0, Troll)

DaveDD (957129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799017)

I am a long time Mac fan, I read the article yesterday and found a great place on EBay (http://stores.ebay.com/The-Mobile-Hotspot [ebay.com] [ebay.com]) for the 3G Phoebus. I bought one for $249 after rebate ! The KR1 is $299 from Kyocera and was out of stock. I heard it has a lot of technical problems. The Phoebus just like David Pogue said. It is really cool, really easy to use, I am really happy and would recommend it to other Mac fans.

bandwidth (1)

braindead_in (933655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799111)

The bandwidth of the wireless services are limited. As more and more users are multiplexed the user experience will deteriorate. WiMAX would be a better solution. http://witopia.blogspot.com/2006/02/mobile-routers .html [blogspot.com]

Re:bandwidth (1)

thedletterman (926787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799803)

Alvarion [alvarion.com] is the killer WiMAX equipment provider, and although the article you linked claims it is "not available", it should be revised to "In the United States".

I'm foaming at the mouth for its widespread introduction into the United States, which seems to be hindered by the 3G providers. It's already available in over a hundred countries, and some countries entire communication infrastructures are being redesigned around breezeMAX solutions. Mexico for example has the largest WiMAX deployment in the world.

Personally I think WiMAX will be a major transformtion of the United States once it hits. It's once of those techs that can't come fast enough.

Re:bandwidth (1)

braindead_in (933655) | more than 8 years ago | (#14807266)

Even Sloka is a WiMAX equipment provider (www.slokatelecom.com). And it provides equipment cheaper then Alvarion. WiMAX has been delyaed because of the politics in the standardisation process. IETF working groups have been plauged by it and is more evident in the MANET group. But if you go by the quote of the major telcos. they are dismissive of it. To my mind, they are also a bit apprehensive. Once the deployment starts, maybe all the telcos will releaise that they need to include it in thier services.

Verizon does some kind of checking... (2, Interesting)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14799167)

I tried to do this once with my Laptop and the Verizon "Air Card". As soon as I turned on NAT, the aircard went dead. I suspect that they're using some sort of NAT detection on their end to keep this "roaming hot spot" thing from happening on their "unlimited" plans.

Just to be sure, I tried the same thing with a different connection (eg: Ethernet) and my setup worked fine - it was definitely something to do with Verizon....

Junxion is a Soekris board with madwifi+ (1)

ejoe_mac (560743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14800935)

So I have one, or better a client has one, which I had to crack open to see inside. Nothing special, just a Soekris.com net4521 with a different serial header (not rotated 90). Toss in a flash card and a pcmcia card and you can make your own with Metrix Pebble [metrix.net] . The reason someone would buy a Junxion is not for style - it's plain "time to make it" vers "money to buy it" logic.

I have used ICS + a Belkin Travel router (in AP mode) to accomplish the same thing. King County Metro (bus service) has free wifi while on the bus, via a Junxion box and Sprint cell service.

Surprise! It's cheaper in the US (1)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801271)

I've been saying this for years - cellular service is cheaper in the US. You can slice it any way you want it - SMS is cheaper, you pay less per minute, and data service is way cheaper.

T-Mobile USA has unlimited EDGE and WiFi (at their HotSpot locations) for $30 a month. Sprint and Verizon offer unlimited EV-DO for $60 a month, and Cingular offers unlimited UMTS for $60 a month.

Paying by the kilobyte went out of vogue here in the US almost four years ago.

High Ping Times (1)

pafein (2979) | more than 8 years ago | (#14801607)

I have Verizon EVDO service (that I use directly on my laptop) and it's great, except the pingtimes are stupidly high - the best I'm able to get is around ~200ms, which makes typing in a terminal a bit painful. I think it's a function of the cellular network itself, rather than a routing problem.

Anyway, it sure beats the Apartment Area Network (aka, free wifi from the neighbors) and winds up being about the same cost as I would pay for home DSL + monthly coffee shop fees.

$600-$700 ?!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14802724)

I am baffled by the ridiculously high cost of these devices.

I build such a device and for under $120.

What did it take? A router with a USB port.

You want more detail?

1 Linksys WRTSL54GS unit
1 USB cellphone data cable
1 Nokia 6230 with Cingular MediaWorks service

Loaded OpenWRT on the device
added usb-serial module
proved I could talk to the "modem" in the phone with minicom, got "OK" when I typed "AT"
hunted around, found PPP chat scripts for Cingular network.

From there it was cake. You can have fully mobile WiFi solution. It's not fast, but there are times when you need a fast deployment of a small network, like events, and it's fabulous.

The router cost me $108+S&H. I already had the phone and cable.

3G is ... well ... crap. (1)

LupusCanis (939826) | more than 8 years ago | (#14803467)

I haven't even bothered to set up internet access with my phone, just use my PC to check any picture messages I get. However, within the context of a Nintendo DS and a Wi-fi enabled game, this is very ... :)
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