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In-Home Wireless Vs. Mobile Broadband

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the ditching-another-landline dept.

Wireless Networking 199

mklickman writes "I've been hearing more and more about mobile broadband offered by the big wireless phone providers, and for the first time came to ask myself how it compares to using a wireless router. Since my wife and I both have laptops, and we're out a lot, would it be wise and/or worth it to do away with the standard cable-modem-plus-router setup and switch over to mobile broadband with (for example) AT&T or Sprint? I'm not really concerned about the cost of the PC cards themselves; they're not much more expensive than a decent router. Also, the cost of the wireless service per month is only (roughly) ten dollars more than my current ISP is charging me. Is it a good idea?"

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Convenience vs Performance (3, Informative)

_merlin (160982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512910)

I have both. I have ADSL2+ at home with 802.11g wireless, and UMTS/HSDPA on the move. The ADSL2+ is faster, no question. UMTS/HSDPA is quite usable (up 2MB/s real-world speeds) and convenient because I can use it when I'm not at home.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (5, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513038)

1. You are lucky to see speeds like that. I have the same combination and I see speeds under 128Kbit under realistic conditions in the UK. It is very rare for the speed to go above 256K. In fact the only places I have seen it higher are non-UK networks.

2. The question of DSL vs 3G has a very simple answer. The answer is a question in itself - do you have a home server and where does your traffic come from?

If your mail, media, etc is stored on a machine at home, 3G is shooting yourself in the foot. Your traffic ends up going all the way down to the GGSN at the mobile operator and than all the way back up to your kit at home (often through the narrow side of a cable or DSL). If all of your stuff is sitting in a colo somewhere or is on your laptop and you have good 3G coverage, than 3G can compete with DSL for the time being.

This is a definitely "for the time being" case because as more and more devices in the home become networked a device whose traffic has to travel across half of the country to connect to the rest of the kit becomes a white elephant.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (4, Informative)

cybereal (621599) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513264)

On your point of "luck" about the GP's claim of speeds, you missed that he said HSDPA, which is sometimes called "3.5g" it's much faster than 3G, it's just similar enough tech to not warrant considering it a new generation of connectivity.

Just wanted to clear that up for anyone following this for bandwidth curiosities.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (2, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513434)

I did not miss it. I have an HSDPA card. On Vodafone, you see the purple light (HSDPA) only once in a while. It is usually red (3G) or green (GPRS). The coverage is definitely way far from what marketing whalesong are trying to brainwash you into.

I get the purple light (2, Informative)

littleghoti (637230) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513496)

It still isn't that fast. You are much better off with a decent wired broadband and wireless router.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513690)

Are you in a building with double glazing? That can affect the signal a lot.. in fact in some offices you can't get a mobile signal at all due to this.

I've not seen a non-HSPDA signal in a built up area in the UK for some time (on vodaphone as well), and have even had 3G on a remote hill in Wales. Dropping to GPRS is next to unheard of.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (3, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513776)

I have tried and tested it all over the UK. East Anglia, Essex, Sussex, Greater London and all the way to Glasgow.

While Pilkington-K and similar treated doubleglazed windows (not just any doubleglazed) drop the signal a bit, it is not the windows that are a problem. It is the tech in itself and the coverage. You need a non-congested Node-B to get anywhere near HSDPA speeds. As the number of clients on the Node-B grows the speed drops in x2 steps because even idle clients use parts of the code tree.

So as the tech is becoming more and more popular the network becomes worse and worse. As a result you can probably still get HSDPA speeds out there in residential suburbia. Getting HSDPA speeds in downtown lodnon, at railway stations or any other place where there are loads of clients (even non-active ones) is practically impossible.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513282)

You are lucky to see speeds like that. I have the same combination and I see speeds under 128Kbit under realistic conditions in the UK. It is very rare for the speed to go above 256K. In fact the only places I have seen it higher are non-UK networks.
When I use UMTS in the UK, I typically get around 400Kb/s (50KB/s). From attempting to do file transfers to my phone, this appears to be the fastest it can push data over the bluetooth connection, so the speed to the tower might be faster. The big difference is the caps. Mobile data connections often have a cap of around 3GB/month and you can go through this very easily with a big download or two or some iPlayer usage.

That said, a friend of mine used UMTS for his home connection for about a year. He used the broadband at work for big transfers and the UMTS cap was high enough to let him browse the web (including videos of kittens on YouTube) and check his mail from home.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513586)

With T-Mobile HSDPA in the UK, I get between 80 and 100 KB/s downloads. This does depend on your location, though - in the middle of a city will net you decent speeds, I assume because of the prevalence of HSDPA-enabled towers.

I should point out that this is through a Hermes device, on its own and via USB to my laptop. I haven't attempted to connect it via bluetooth yet.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (1)

crunzh (1082841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513338)

In denmark I have 3.2 mbit HSDPA, mostly the speed I get is around 2mbit and its normally only under bad coverage situations its slower than that.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513366)

1. You are lucky to see speeds like that. I have the same combination and I see speeds under 128Kbit under realistic conditions in the UK. It is very rare for the speed to go above 256K. In fact the only places I have seen it higher are non-UK networks.
WTF are you drivelling on about? I'm on 3 Mobile broadband and get 300k+ in 3G areas and usually around 2Mbit in HDSPA areas. In fact, on an evening, "3" on HDSPA is FASTER than my 8Mbit ADSL which regularly drops down to just over 1Mbit.
You wanna get whatever problem you have fixed because your speeds are certainly not what I and a lot of people I know are experiencing.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513710)

Vodafone UK consistently gives me around 350kbps, but then my house is line of sight to an HSDPA equipped tower. I have seen peaks getting close to 1Mbps. On the other hand, trying to use my phone to read my email on the train the other day, I got 14k of headers down in half an hour. It seems the 3.5G network is not particularly mobile. My ADSL on the other hand gives a consistent 5.5Mbps down, and 280k up.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (1)

Chutulu (982382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513278)

i do not have 3G but from i know from friends is that there are some problems with the service: the connection is instable and the ping is high so is not suitable for online gaming. But that is the situation here in Portugal. If you want hight velocities and a low ping get ADSL with a wireless router. But also beware that sometimes there are some problems with the signal strength. In my home i have the problem of the house having some very thick walls. For example if i put the wireless router in a specific room i don't get any signal in another room only 5 meters away. I do suggest you make some tests first in your house with 3G and a wireless router before buying anything. Perhaps a friend with the equipment could lend you a hand.

Re:Convenience vs Performance (2, Informative)

a1choice (469390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513632)

I am a consultant that also uses both technologies,
1) Home is DSL that has a consistent 4 - 4.4Mbit, and
2) Sprint EDO card for mobile that gets from 700kbit to 2 Mbit (average is 1.2Mbit).

Using the EDO cards in lieu of hotel high cost Internet saves lots of money. In fact I get better speed with the EDO card than the hotel's notoriously slow Internet...that is no doubt. At home I would rather have 4 - 5Mbit really makes a difference and speed is an addiction.

I also have to comment that it is certainly nice to go anywhere and have the EDO card instead of always fighting to find a WiFi spot that does not charge. Most airports still do not have free WiFi, and even all the coffee spots still charge although not as much as airports.

How much do you download? (5, Informative)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512918)

My experience... at lease here in Australia... is that Mobile broadband works very well (remember much of our country is unpopulated desert).

May lower class people use it to get broadband at the place they rent. They dont have to involve the landlord to get an cables installed and can take it with them when they move elsewhere.

The big killer is that here is Oz mobile broadband typically comes with transfer limits in the order of 1 - 4 GBs per month. After that it gets very pricey.

So assuming its the same in the US... I would only go mobile broadband if you dont plan on downloading movies/tv shows etc over the connection.

Re:How much do you download? (1, Offtopic)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512926)

Geez my typing on a Friday evening sucks...

Please insert the missing T's Y's and N's into the above comment.

Re:How much do you download? (3, Funny)

DingerX (847589) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512954)

I have the same problem on Friday evenings, especially in typing Yike! Don't beer me! Not Beer Please!. My Bartender, Ike, never seems to get it right.

Re:How much do you download? (4, Insightful)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513006)

My experience... at lease here in Australia... is that Mobile broadband works very well (remember much of our country is unpopulated desert).

Additionally, there are pretty terrible contracts for mobile broadband (telstra is asking for 24 months last time i checked), so early adopters are once again subsidising later (smarter) takers. Rental properties can easily get ADSL connected without the landlord needing to know about it, because no modifications need to be done on the property.

Mobile broadband, in my opinion, is something that only makes sense if you need it for your business. When it comes to personal/recreational use, such as on holiday or something to check emails and whatever, it might be easier to plug (or bluetooth) your laptop into your 3G mobile and surf the net that way, or just check into a hotel or cafe with wifi. That's what I have done up until now and, basically, it doesn't cost me $500+ extra per year to do it, in contrast to the mobile broadband.

I suspect the demand for mobile broadband in Australia has not been as big as was hoped. Actually I am still at a bit of a loss why they are rolling it out when the alternatives are so cheap and so adequate at this point. It doesn't make financial and practical sense to me unless it's a tax deductible thing and you are making money from it in excess of the cost of ownership.

Re:How much do you download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513322)

"I suspect the demand for mobile broadband in Australia has not been as big as was hoped"

Hmmm. Virgin's Home broadband (wireless, but not roaming - ie you can only use it at a fixed address) has been so popular that they've had to up the price in order slow demand and network load, and they are still trying to get enough support staff on board to cope with the larger than expected customer base.

The reason I chose VBB was pretty simple: For about $10/mth more than I was paying for ADSL I got the same speed connection, free phone calls to any fixed line in the country, free calls to Virgin mobiles (which my wife and I use) and don't have to pay $20/mth to Telstra just so I can have a copper wire connected. Sure, it's around 1/5th of the download limit, but it's shaped to 128k which is still quite usable.

The service itself has been almost flawless for me, although many people have had issues. Unfortunately the support staff are completely useless.


Re:How much do you download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513334)

I'm with telstra nextg - no contract.

You can't get ADSL everywhere, so nextg is a viable alternative.

If you think it seems expensive, compare it with the price of wifi access in a motel.
I've seen motels charge $5/hr.

Re:How much do you download? (3, Interesting)

speeDDemon (nw) (643987) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513148)

Another killer is latency, typically >100ms. Which for a lot applications has little effect, but when compared to ADSL and Cable their latency is unsurpassed. Which for gaming is critical. I wouldn't trade my 8ms ping to my favorite game servers for any amount of mobility.

Re:How much do you download? (4, Informative)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513294)

It's not just gaming either - web surfing is much faster over ADSL than 3G. While you can get pretty good download speeds out of 3G, the latency means it takes a while to build up to the full transfer rate (TCP slow start). Most web pages don't have content large enough that you'll get to full speed, so the browsing experience feels more like "good dialup" than it does "mobile broadband".

You could also consider getting a phone with internet access that allows "tethering" (at least, I think that's what the kids are calling it these days) so you can access the internet using your laptop via the phone's 3G data service. At home (in .au) I have ADSL2+ in my apartment and 500 mB/month via 3's "X Series" package. It costs me an extra $20/mo but means I do have internet access on the go without the expense of a separate mobile broadband plan. Using your phone for it also means you can have basic internet access even if you don't have your notebook with you, which can be handy.

Re:How much do you download? (1)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513452)

My experience... at lease here in Australia... is that Mobile broadband works very well (remember much of our country is unpopulated desert).

May lower class people use it to get broadband at the place they rent. They dont have to involve the landlord to get an cables installed and can take it with them when they move elsewhere.

The big killer is that here is Oz mobile broadband typically comes with transfer limits in the order of 1 - 4 GBs per month. After that it gets very pricey.

So assuming its the same in the US... I would only go mobile broadband if you dont plan on downloading movies/tv shows etc over the connection.
I was considering Wireless Internet for those reasons but the cost made it an unattractive option.

Australia is expensive for wireless data because there are not many alternatives since you cant get wired broadband in a lot of places.

Since your in Australia Ill let you off the lower class comment.


Re:How much do you download? (1)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513502)

May lower class people


Re:How much do you download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513524)

That's that pretty good. Here in the US our 'lower class people' have to eat at McDonalds and read the newspaper.

Re:How much do you download? (4, Funny)

Stonent1 (594886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513662)

May lower class people use it to get broadband at the place they rent.

Lower class? I didn't realize I was in the presence of nobility, m'lord.

Why not just say proletariat? Then I can call you bourgeoisie. But I'm not by any stretch left of center so I'll leave it be.

Re:How much do you download? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513786)

Lower class people?????? Lower class people are people who rent? Geez - let me guess - you have a mortgage (any twit can get a mortgage) and you think you are "upper class". Just when I thought my fellow Australians could not get more up themselves...unbelievable.

Re:How much do you download? (2, Informative)

srealm (157581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513796)

In the US, it is very unfashionable to charge by the byte. So most internet connectivity (for residential/personal use) is 'unmetered'. However often there is clauses about 'excessive' use and the right to slow you down or cut you off for excessive use - but this applies to mobile broadband as well as residential customers. However they're often very cagey about what 'excessive' means, and by and large, it equates to hundreds of gigabytes.

That said, AU is definitely ahead with mobile billing. In the US, they charge you for everything on the phone - IN AND OUT. Which means you receive (or make) a phone call? you pay for it. You receive (or send) a text message? you pay for it. They have plans with X text messages free, but since a lot of phone companies offer an email -> text message interface, it is quite possible to run up someone's bill by making a program that will send emails to a subscriber's email -> text message address, and give them like 5000 text messages in the month. And the subscriber has no choice but to pay for it. I've always been against being forced to pay for what you receive on a cell (mobile) phone as far as voice calls and text messages. Mobile internet is a different story of course.

Also, in the US, you can get residential internet speeds MUCH faster than what you can get on mobile broadband. Mobile broadband tends to be on the low end of 'high speed'. For example Verizon BroadbandAccess (which I have) advertises 700kbit, with bursts up to 2mbit. And this is approximately accurate. However you can get the Verizon FiOS (fiber to the home) service, and get up to a 50mbit connection (I have 20mbit, and have verified the speeds are accurate). This in itself is also forcing cable companies and other DSL providers to up their offering, which is why cable is all about saying 'You can get 10mbit!' or advertising their 'boosting' options to go up to 20/50/etc (though the big problem with cable is its a shared pipe, if your neighbours are flooding the line, your connection suffers - not so with DSL or FiOS).

In the US at least, the speed gap between 3G and residential broadband is huge, and getting bigger.

And to the original post, I'd recommend Verizon's BroadbandAccess. You will note that in the Sprint/AT&T ads, they NEVER mention Verizon, because Verizon's coverage is better, and their speeds are better. And their AUP is less draconian (though it still 'forbids' use for P2P applications and running a server though it, but Verizon also tends not to filter anything so doesn't enforce said AUP much unless it puts a strain on their network).

Wirless and/or Mobile BB (5, Insightful)

ghostpirate_jay (1162881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512930)

I work for a public sector org in the UK, and we have a community team of around 30 users, each with laptops running 3G data cards to give them access to our network (via VPN) when out doing what they do. This also allows them to work from home or wherever they choose - and allowed us to free up space in their offices by removing terminals. However, we quickly encountered problems with the mobile broadband connections having signal problems; various users complained about no signal at home or in certain areas of a city, or worse, in the office. I made the decision to put in wirless access points in each of the three team offices, and set up the laptops to use these instead of the mobile broadband when the connection was found. We also set up a separate VPN that didn't dial out on the mobile broadband, that they could tie into their own wireless conncections at home - this approach was a resounding success. So to summarise...I'd use both! You have to ask yourself if you are going to be using your laptop away from home enough to justify the mobile broadband option - if your staying at home, you can't beat using a wireless set up.

Re:Wirless and/or Mobile BB (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513494)

I have also problems with signal in certain locations. In the city it's usually besides high buildings. In other areas it's near rivers or forests (because of the altitude difference and the trees/wetness) or besides high mountains. The black spot locations aren't fixed as they change every few months. So, whenever I chat with a person over the Internet, I always tell them I'm on cellular access so that they know why I get offline and online so often. Most times a chat conversation is like:

  • Hi, blah blah blah
  • Oh sorry I was besides a hill. Are you there? ok.
  • blah blah blah
  • Oh sorry I was besides a high building. Are you there? ok
  • Blah blah blah
  • Oh sorry I was inside a tunnel. Are you there? ok
  • Blah blah blah
  • Sorry I was in the open sea far away from any nearby island with cellular towers. are you there? ok
  • blah blah blah

You get the picture. It sounds more dramatic than it is, though. Most people I chat with also have cellular and know how to deal with it. And the interruptions are balanced by the other huge time savings and flexibility brought by cellular access (I can work in the sea as long as the ship stays near islands with towers). It also has health benefits: When I had no cellular I had some backpain but after I started working outside or while travelling through cellular broadband (and while standing thanks to a subnotebook that supports such usage), I never had any problem again.

it's a bit trickier to share... (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512934) the USB or mini-PCI device can only be attached to one device at a time. However, they are a standard, of sorts, and new domestic wifi routers that can accept a 3G device plugged into them and share it out do exist: []

2 laptops? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22512936)

How are you going to share the connection? Ad-Hoc wifi?

Re:2 laptops? (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513604)

I would suggest either the Kyocera KR2 [] or the Cradlepoint [] Cellular routers.

Share the connection! (5, Insightful)

dsmaher (958730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513758)

I've got Sprint's mobile, and I love it. But then, I'm in a rural area and NOTHING else works. Satellite is a joke - unless you ONLY do web surfing and email. Anything with encryption is PAINFUL (including online banking). With Sprint, I get varying download speeds (I'm getting 860Kb now, but sometimes I get less). Anyway, I've got several computers in the house (I've got at least 2 running full time, plus a laptop). So, I'm SHARING the mobile connection using an EVDO Router (mine's from D-Link, but Linksys makes one, too). I plug the mobile card into the router, and the router provides Wi-Fi and LAN connection to my network of computers. Aside from the obvious cost savings, the difference is that communication between computers on the network is easier and faster, and sharing printers and other devices is possible. Try sharing a printer across the internet - you can do it, but it's not easy. If you have separate cards for each laptop, you might as well be in different countries. Communication between computers on Mobile broadband works the same between computers whether they're 6 feet or 600 miles apart.

For "typical" use only (2, Insightful)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512940)

If your primary use is for web and email then mobile broadband may be more useful assuming you have reliable cell service in all parts of your house. If you like to download much of anything I think you would be better off with the landline service still.

Don't (5, Insightful)

johnjaydk (584895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512950)

No. It's not a good idea.

First of all the announced throughput is a best case figure. You'll never see it in actual use. Inside steel and concrete buildings you're certainly not going to see those figures. It all depends on the radio reception. The speed also depends (at lest with GPRS over UMTS and EDGE/GSM) on the number of active users on a particular cell.

Second, even if the throughput is ok the latency really sucks. It takes a while from you request a web page and until it actually starts flowing in. I've worked on this tech for a number of years and it's not nearly as good as marketing wants you to believe.

Re:Don't (2, Interesting)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512998)

The speed also depends (at lest with GPRS over UMTS and EDGE/GSM) on the number of active users on a particular cell.

To be fair, this also applies to ADSL connections. Most residential ADSL users (in the UK at least) are subject to a 50:1 contention ratio.

Re:Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513012)

DSL doesn't "share" the connection any more than a T1 or an ATM line does. I think you're thinking of DOCSIS (cable) Internet, where all the local users do share one connection.

Re:Don't (1)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513034)

Actually, ADSL does have contention. If I use my ADSL after 11pm I can get my full 220KBs download speed. If I use it at say 7pm, I get rougly 40KBs. That is because of the contention. I have a line with contention quoted at 24:1. If I was to get dedicated I'd be looking at 10 times the price, minimum.

Re:Don't (3, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513076)

The grandparent is picking nits.

While it is true the DSL is a switched technology and not shared like cable, that only applies to the wire from your house to the DSLAM. At that point it aggregates and the ATM uplink is most certainly oversubscribed.

DSL oversubscription is just one hop up the line, as opposed to cable, where it is oversubscribed from end to end. Not much difference, really.

Re:Don't (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513060)

Contention does effect ADSL users, it's just a case of which end of the pipe they're effected at. As I understand it, this is how it works - no doubt I'll be corrected at some point.

For DOCSIS the number of users in the local area will effect your connection speed - the more people in your area using it at a time, the less bandwidth you get.

For ADSL lines the contention refers to the number of people connecting to the line on ISP's end, so if you're on a 50:1 contention, there's you, plus up to 49 other people connected to a single leased line in your ISP's data center.

Of course you then have the problem of ISPs over selling their service - I've heard that at the moment the UK cable operators are providing really slow connections, and this is because their backbones just can't handle the amount of bandwidth being used by their customers.

Re:Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513048)

Just like my 2-stroke lawnmower motor: 50:1 Petrol:Oil millilitres ratio.

Re:Don't (4, Interesting)

Plunky (929104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513054)

First of all the announced throughput is a best case figure. You'll never see it in actual use.

Another thing to consider is that I have found that my supplier (T-Mobile in UK, using GPRS) has an intercepting proxy server; they strip out 'unnecessary' parts of HTML pages, and re-compress any JPEG images at the highest most lossy (eg 50k->10k) setting in order to make it seem faster which also loses EXIF data.

I don't know if this is only for GPRS or if it affects their 'broadband' services also but it seems to be limited to port 80 so its not too difficult to get around with a proxy but it can be annoying..

Re:Don't (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513238)

Yeah, I am with T-mobile, and speed varies: my Nokia PC Suite often statess 110 or 430k/Sec but is very bursty (read: VoIP is intentionally trashed) and the average is probably about the same as a 2400baud modem. In short, the service is a shower of sh*t.

I tried O2, but they charge like a raging bull. I am thinking of moving to 3.

Re:Don't (2, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513296)

I am thinking of moving to 3.
I thought about this too. Then I phoned their sales team to get them to clarify what they meant by 'Internet' in their adverts. Apparently it means 'port 80, filtered.' The only thing to do seems to be complain to OFCOM.

Re:Don't (1)

AaronLawrence (600990) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513310)

This is however genuinely useful for mobile phone browsers and the like. Especially the image (re)compression - on a wee mobile phone screen you hardly need a high quality JPG.

they strip out 'unnecessary' parts of HTML pages, (1)

Grampaw Willie (631616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513362)

tee hee

if ya ever examine the HTML produced by MS/Word you can throw out about 95% of the trash that thing generates

Re:Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513506)

Vodafone UK do this too.

Re:Don't (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513658)

Normally providers offer a "wap" access point, which has all this "optimisation for phone screens" proxying, and an "internet" access point, which is a raw connection. The proxy often becomes the bottleneck when using a high speed connection, so it is worth trying the "internet" access point instead, especially if you're using the phone as a modem. Check the terms of your service though, the cheap data bundles like Web-n-walk might not cover use of the internet access point, and if this is the case and you don't find out until they bill you a month later, you could end up with a huge bill.

I'm writing this from wireless broadband (1)

Sultan (39103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513368)

I wouldn't be that dismissive without using it for a while.

I'm a heavy user of wireless broadband - mostly because it is free for me, but I can tell you that unless you are a heavy downloader you will do fine with it. I use it for general browsing/email/system updates/VPN to work/linux cd images, etc, without any real issues. There are times when reception isn't the best - lowering your speed a bit, but it is generally good enough for all those things above.

As someone else mentioned, if you have a developed network at home then it probably doesn't make as much sense, but if you have a laptop and you need access at various different places it is definitely worth it.

This is from an Australian viewpoint by the way.

Re:Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513602)

You guys tripping??? What you guys using, Linux-mama-bama laptops????
I have Sprint and this thing flies! I pay only 89 bucks monthly and I have no usage limits and my speed is always over 2 mbps wherever I go. So is really cool to open my laptop anywhere and connect it with broadband speeds, being that the movie theater, a beach, or even Starbucks to see the losers faces crying while they using that creep WiFi...
I just open my laptop with that BIG HUGE Pic of Uncle Bill saying "Linux is for Fags, Real Men dig Windows" and stream pr0n movies on high resolution real time...

That is sweet...

Depends. (3, Informative) (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512952)

I'd say since you both do a lot of mobile computing, its probably a good idea to go with the wireless broadband option. Here's some questions to think about, however:

1. How much data transfer do you do? A buddy of mine ran into trouble with Sprint for downloading craploads of ISOs on his connection. Your mileage may vary.

2. How good is the coverage where you live? Do you personally know someone using the service you're interested in, and if so, how reliable is their connection?

3. What operating system are you using? If you're running Windows you're probably okay for compatibility, but I had a fair amount of trouble using a couple of different broadband cards under Linux. I got them working, but only after significant hackery.

Just some things to consider.

Re:Depends. (1)

StarOwl (131464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513370)

There's one more consideration I'd throw into the mix: What other wireless devices might you have (or one day have) in the house that might make use of a DSL+WiFi setup?

I have a similar situation -- I travel a lot, and my company's draconian networking policy gave me an incentive to grab a mobile broadband card of my own from Sprint.

Performance is fine for most of my regular day-to-day needs (surfing, mail, and ssh). Performance is marginal for gaming, and I wouldn't want to do big downloads via EVDO...but all-in-all, I could live with it as my sole net connection. Gamers and folks who want thick, super-responsive pipes would hate EVDO, but it's adequate for more causual needs

However, I do maintain DSL service at home...albeit the lowest level of DSL. It is nice to have the connection for doing large downloads (think about patch day if you're on XP or Vista....). And, while I could provide connectivity for the TiVo, Wii, and iPod Touch by plugging the EVDO card into an appropriate router, basic DSL in my area is cheap and convenient.

Your mileage may vary.

My experience... (3, Interesting)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512956)

It depends on what you will use it for. I have standard 2Mb ADSL, that's the best I can get in the rural Irish area I live. I also have a Vodafone HSDPA USB modem for my laptop for when I'm not at home. The Vodafone modem is rated at 3.6Mb but that's bullshit. When on holidays during the summer, the house I stay at is in a valley, and the Vodafone mast is at the top of one of the hills overlooking the house. I can still only get approx 1Mb connection at best, and that's the fastest connection I've found in my travels around the country. Not only that, but the latency for the Vodafone connection is huge. It's definitely not for gaming, p2p, streaming video or audio. Email and web is basically all it's good for. Also, they tend to have a relatively small monthly cap.

Re:My experience... (2, Informative)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512980)

Also, meant to say about the software trouble. I don't know what modem your provider would supply, but here in Ireland (and the UK as far as I know) all the providers use the Huawei modem. The Windows software/drivers is incredibly buggy. After a few weeks it needs to be uninstalled, reinstalled, during the reinstallation it crashes or can't find the drivers on the integrated flash memory and needs to be tried many times before success. I've tried this on a clean XP reinstall also.

I've heard that with a little manual configuration, it runs a lot better on linux. I'll be putting that to the test when my eeePC arrives. :)

Re:My experience... (1)

heneon (570292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513526)

Re: software I have Huawei e220 and the windows drivers indeed suck. After I upgraded the firmware and connection software, the stability got a little better. With laptop it especially gets on my nerves to have the connection back up after resuming from hibernate/standby. Surprisingly (or not?), in linux it works well with wvdial.

Re:My experience... (1)

red star hardkore (1242136) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513784)

Yes, putting the laptop into standby without closing the application can seriously screw it up.

doubtful (1)

dagamer34 (1012833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512988)

With the amount of time those data packets are in the air, I'd prefer mobile broadband be only for when you are actually mobile. Plus, for the heavy downloader and gamer, they already know the answer to that question.

*it's no btw*

Signal may be poor indoors (3, Informative)

wazepp (1244080) | more than 6 years ago | (#22512990)

I had a Verizon broadband card for my laptop here in the US (east coast). My experience was the it was OK (800 kbs) for web access and mail but no much more than that. The bigger problem was once you went indoors the signal quality dropped significantly, to the point it was useless. I was mostly using it indoors when traveling, it was so fustrating I cancelled the account.

The best solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513022)

Patch and compile a new kernel for your router to support attaching the (USB) modem you need, then hook it to a UPS and place the whole rig in your car. You'd need to plug in the UPS when you get home (and not forget to unplug it when you leave) but on the road you could also use the sigarette burner.

That way, wherever you go, you'll always have your own WLAN, for just (roughly) $10 more per month ;)

Buying two costs double (1)

spywhere (824072) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513028)

I have a customer in a rural area with two laptops and no available broadband service. They have two Sprint cards, because it's all they can get.
The biggest problem, other than performance -- I've seen up to 800Kbps sustained downloads, but the latency kills when surfing -- is that two cards cost twice as much as one card, which is twice as much as Comca$t would charge for broadband [6 Mbps down / 350 Kbps up] if it were available.

Re:Buying two costs double (1)

duncan99 (1142021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513384)

Yeah, it's the "if it were available" that's the problem. I'm in a rural area, and have the same issue: no broadband service is possible, not even from the phone company. There is no cable where I live. My choices are satellite or cell. Since there's a less-than-1-year-old tower they put up about 1,000 yards from my house, I've got an excellent cell signal. Looks like this may be the way to go. I see another article suggesting some routers can accept a (cell modem? wireless broadband card? what's the right term now?), that might resolve the two-cards-cost-double problem.

My experiences (1)

VoidCrow (836595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513030)

I'm using a usb HSDPA modem supplied by '3', in the UK. The system in question is a laptop running XP. In Swansea (a small city in South Wales), I get most of the promised 3.6 Mbps bandwidth. Ten miles West down the road, towards the more rural end of Wales, I can only get a 57.6kbps GPRS connection. I can't comment on latency as I've not used it for gaming. Download limit on my contract is 7Gb per month, which is a bit lame but acceptable. The modem software is big and ugly but works. The only real worry I have is that I'm accustomed to running my Windows and Linux boxen behind a decent, external, firewall. I've not tried to get this working via Linux yet.

Re:My experiences (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513598)

I'm using a usb HSDPA modem supplied by '3', in the UK.
Do '3' give you full "proper" internet access, or just the filtered port 80 (HTTP) service someone else was discussing above?

Re:My experiences (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513806)

It's proper internet... their T&C don't even mention the usual voip and p2p limitations.

I've no idea what the earlier poster was on about unless he only asked a couple of years ago - three used to restrict data to a walled garden of filtered http, but got resoundly
laughed at by everyone when they tried to sell it.

One thing to watch with them is that their pay as you go modems are *not* HSPDA which limits them to 384k. Always check the small print on these things...

Traffic (2, Informative)

Raphael Emportu (1143977) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513036)

The announced traffic on a usb mobile connection here in Portugal looks like (UMTS 256kb.) The devices somehow announce UMTS connections 3.6gb) when there is only gprs. Anyhow measurements through bandwidth measuring services usually show up speeds not faster then 256kb. The companies here get away with it by announcing the speed as 'up to'. So when you complain they just say 'bad luck'. I must add to that that the fixed ADSL does more ore less the same. Most people are even connected below there promised plan. That is if you order f.i. a 4Mb plan they hook you up to actually a 2Mb connection. If by any chance you are one of the few that know his stuff and you complain they just say your phone line will not support the speed and offer to set your plan back to a lower speed. I know this because it happened to me twice and I also observed it with customers of mine. Imagine having a 8Mb connection trying to upgrade to 16 and being set back to 4. If I hadn't complained they would have just charged me for 16Mb plan. And then they have the nerv to tell me my line doesn't support higher speeds then 4Mb. :-) Yes I keep smiling what else can I do?

I have ATT but... (2, Informative)

deadmongrel (621467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513052)

I have been using ATT (Baton Rouge) and speeds are much lower than they advertise. surprise! surprise! ATT speeds suck when you on highways or cities where they have just edge service. Verizon on the other hand has better throughput rates but verizon is costlier than ATT($20 something) and they have an "Download Limit". VZ would disconnect you if are a heavy user. I am not sure about sprint but I have heard so many horror stories about their billing practices.

If you go with ATT you probably have to buy an antennae to boost your signal. You are better off having the cheapest plan for your Cable/DSL service in addition to you mobile broadband card.

Data Limit, Reliability. (3, Insightful)

splutty (43475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513084)

A coulpe of points that you should look into (including the fine print):

- Is there a data limit on the connection you're looking at (X GB/week, month, anything?).
- Is there an issue with encrypted traffic (some ISPs/Telcos will throttle or cut encrypted traffic to fight P2P, which will also impede your VPN)
- Will you have the coverage that you need, and will the coverage also extend to all the rooms in your house?
- How important is connectivity to you? (For me personally, I need to have at least one place where I can be 100% certain to be able to login through my VPN to my job) Does the roaming wireless fail often, or not? (This also relates to point 3)
- Assuming you're looking into this for work also, are you allowed to use relatively open wireless networks (I know that I'm not, since I work in the financial world)

I personally would keep the static line, despite the extra cost, just to have a 'base' to go to when things don't work elsewhere. This also gives me the possibility to log onto my home server and retrieve/store important data through my own VPN.

Lots of things to think about :)

On a totally unrelated note: Why do I have 10 (and not 5) moderator points??

Re:Data Limit, Reliability. (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513134)

I noticed 10 god points the other night too. Guess we're either special or new /. policy to give 10 god points instead of 5 due to the fact that half the time my god points go unused.

WAN vs LAN (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513088)

Your home wireless is a LAN. Your wireless broadband means you're out on the WAN. You'll still want to keep your LAN, so make sure your wireless router still works when not connected to the ISP. (I had a Netgear router that didn't do so well as an access point without WAN connected).

Next I suspect that your wireless has less bandwidth? If so you could be giving up large file downloads.

Finally, wireless is always the better technology for portability and convenience, but physical cables are much more reliable and not prone to interference and dropouts in the same way wireless is.

Bandwidth caps... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513114)

Mobile broadband in the US and UK are plagued by invisible bandwidth caps on the "unlimited" accounts. This makes mobile broadband difficult to justify especially in this day and age where multimedia-over-internet seems to be the norm. Until the wireless companies employ a more affordable model, it makes no sense for a non-business funded user to subscribe.

I have Sprint's wireless broadband service (1)

krnpimpsta (906084) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513118)

I have Sprint's wireless broadband service specifically for use on the road. It's advertised as a 1.5Mbps connection and I consistently get download speeds of about 150KB/s (1.2 Mbps) and upload speeds of about 20-30KB/s in the Washington DC metro area.

I've also driven from Washington DC to Florida while playing internet radio and I had a minimum of dial-up speeds 95-99% of the time. I had broadband speeds about 75%+ of the time. The commute involved a 800 mile drive down I-95 and I was surprised at the broadband speeds at some seriously remote looking gas stops. (I would notice the drop from broadband speeds to dialup speeds because the connection wouldn't be able to keep up with the minimum of 10-20kb/s to keep the song buffered)

Also, Sprint has no usage limits and their terms: Verizon offers the same service, but will disconnect/warn/etc you if you use whatever they consider "excessive" bandwidth. Verizon's usage policy specifically prohibits medium bandwidth / long term use, such as IP-telephony, constant webcam transmission, etc. Sprint doesn't prohibit these things in their terms of service. I've read many anecdotal reports of people downloading alot (over 50GB/month off the top of my head) without being disconnected.

Depends... (4, Informative)

retro128 (318602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513150)

It depends on your Internet habits. Do you do peer to peer? Then forget it. Verizon says they have an "unlimited" plan, but they've been known to whack high usage individuals. Sprint is better about that, but large usage does attract their attention. If you are interested in mobile broadband in the US, those are really your only two choices. The GSM providers (AT&T & T-Mobile) just don't have the bandwidth. So if you want speed, you gotta use a CDMA carrier. I can tell you from personal experience that my Sprint card pulls 1.5mbs in a lot of places. However, it should be noted that speed is completely dependent on how far away you are from the tower (taking into account obstructions) and how many people are on. So, if you're far away from the tower and there's a ton of people in the area using it regularly, that's also a good reason not to get mobile broadband.

The relative price you mentioned of mobile broadband vs cable confuses me. You are either getting colossally ripped off for cable broadband or you are not pricing unlimited plans for your mobile broadband cards. Normally, unlimited plans are around $50/mo. Get it. Trust me. I've got a friend at Sprint who's got stories of peoples' laptops getting trojaned and winding up with a $2000 bill in the mail for bandwidth overage. And I'm assuming that you and your wife are each getting a separate plan.

Or let's say you've got an excellent signal and ridiculous speeds at your house, are not a warez monkey, and you want to share a single card between you and your wife. Well, you can get a broadband router which takes PCMCIA mobile broadband cards. I picked this Airlink 101 [] at Fry's for $80. It's got an Ethernet switch and is an 802.11b/g access point. Only problem is if one of you goes on a trip and takes the card the other will have to steal the neighbors' WiFi.

Re:Depends... (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513402)

Cable broadband costs $40/month or so in most places, higher if you get more than their base speed packages. I'm not sure why you'd think that's him getting ripped off when for $10 more (as the poster states) he can get an unlimited plan.

Other than that you're correct. It's not a good idea for a home based connection unless one has no other choice.

Nope. (2, Informative)

darthflo (1095225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513170)

To make it quick: I wouldn't recommend the switch.

I have been using a swiss provider's HSPA network for several months now and am not quite satisfied. The latency is bad (500~2000 ms ping rtt compared to 10-30 ms via ADSL1), availability isn't that great (often I can only get mediocre GPRS/EDGE speeds around 80-150 kbps) and the price's definately higher than a landline.
On the other hand, when HSPA works, it's great. An RTT of somewhere around 300 ms is possible and a sustained transfer rate of around 1 mbps is realistic (most of the network's 1.8 mbps HSDPA, being upgraded to 3.6; so I expect 2 mbps real bandwidth in the near future). Also, I've got this nice subscription where you pay a monthly flat fee (some 20% of an average 3 mbps landline or 2 GB WWan plan) plus a small fee per day of usage (some 7% of said landline or 2 GB WWan plan). Whenever possible I'll use public WLans and my private VPN server, limiting my WWan use to some 5-10 days per month.

Verizon's EVDO (2, Informative)

goatbar (661399) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513180)

I use Verizon's EVDO and am not very satisfied. I uses two mac laptops (ppc and x86) and suddenly started seeing a ton of kernel panics, where I had got years without trouble. The connection client is really lame. Also lame is the 5GB limit for the "unlimited plan". At least now they will not disconnect you if you hit 5GB in one month. They will "just" limit your througput. I'm out in NH and the service is come and go as with the verizon voice coverage. In San Fran, the coverage and usage was excellent. I used it on trains going through tunnels without trouble. It's annoying to have this adapter hanging off the side of the laptop all the time. Also, once in a while the network flays on "re-registering" and it locks me out of the system for 3-6 hours while the network thinks that I am trying to connect from two machines at the same time. They say that it is only for standard web browsing only. I haven't tried skype, but ssh, irc, and all http(s) all work fine. This sumer, I will also be getting a DSL or Cable link, cause I can't take this much longer as my only connection. Sometimes at my house, I get 3 "bars" and other times I go hours with none. I wish this client would log signal strength so I could see if there is some pattern to the outages. Tech support has been responsive, nice, and more friendly than most. Still, it is easy to run past their knowledge of how the network works. Over all rating: so-so

Wireless cards Vs wired (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513192)

Disclaimer - I work for a company manufacturing 2G,3G,etc + datacards.

The most important thing you need to ask yourself is what is the intended use for these cards.
If you are surfing the net, skyping, watching UTube etc, then the wireless datacards (current generation) offer enough bandwidth to give a very comfortable feeling (comparable with cable).

If you are a very heavy net user, looking to have max speeds, then maybe you should be thinking about a more dedicated solution.

As to the actual speeds you will get, this all depends on the carrier and your location. ie 7,2MBps is the current "rated" download speed for the current generation of technology, but that is reduced if you are uploading at the same time. (ie it is approx 7,2Mbps shared for upload/download - NOT really, but it is close enough to make this comparision). Also, the datarate will depend on if the carrier has deployed a network in your area. If not, you will be dialed down to highest rated speed in the area (typically EDGE). Edge is ok for surfing normal pages, but you will get some lag if you are doing large downloads, etc.

The really nice thing about 2G/3G datacards is the flexibility. No matter where you go, where you are in the world you, once you can get a standard mobile phone connection, you have access to your internet/emails etc. Personally, this is fantastic for people "on the go".

Other thing to be cautious of - check to see if your service is "per Mbit" or flat fee per month. If you are paying "per Mbit", then you can be big bills if you are not carefull. The "flat fee per month" version is excellent if you can get it.

Overall, I love these cards, but be carefull of what you sign up for.

I use Vodafone and T-Mobile (1)

kingtonm (208158) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513206)

I use vodafone for wireless broadband but in a pinch I also use my MDA as a connection, both give me realworld observed speeds in London of 1.4-1.6mb/sec.

what will you do with it? (1)

flows (1075083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513232)

I actually have both. From my experience, you can survive with umts/grps only if you have very low online requirements. If all you do online is check your email, read some web pages, basic low bandwith stuff, you'll be fine. pptp login is sufferable when there's no alternative, gaming is a big no no unless its turn based. I've played WoW between meetings, most of the time with a red lag bar and a few disconnects.

Short version:

IF all you do with your online time is low bw stuff, get the umts/grps dongle. you'll be pretty happy with it. ( at home you can get a small server to share the connection wireless )

IF you want to game or p2p, or vpn to work, forget it.

Maybe reception/service is better where you live, try it first anyways.

Decent article on performance (2, Interesting)

FingerSoup (928761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513242)

Hub Magazine [] in Canada has a decent article in this month's edition - The format is kinda nasty (Bitmap for Web viewing - eww) - but the content gives a breakdown of canadian providers. Basically, you are looking at high latency with less than advertised speeds across the board, but you can connect anywhere your cellphone can.

My service is pretty good (1)

Jewfro_Macabbi (1000217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513244)

I'm using Alltel mobile broadband. There are no monthly caps on data. I get around an 800 or so connection - usually downloads a bit over a 100kbs, uploads around 20kbs. I have it because there is no dsl option - although honestly I so despise AT&T I'd rather keep it even if they offered dsl. The latency isn't that bad - I can do online gaming. But it depends on the service availability in your area. I'm literally 1/4 mile from the tower, so my service rocks. If you run a lost of uptime critical services It isn't the best choice - I'll warn. It's still a ppp connection - it will drop off a couple times a day. It's a non issue for me - but if your running a server it would be a problem.

Good option. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513254)

Here in South Korea, mobile broadband is plentiful and included in all cell phone packages for a very low fee. My cell phone downloads at speeds of between 200-300kb/sec, and allows me to choose between dozens of streaming video channels that broadcast twenty-four hours a day. If you were to run a Blackberry on this network, browsing the internet and downloading data would work like a charm.

Unfortunately, service like this will most likely be unavailable in countries like the United States for quite a long time. Korea is an extremely small country with modern infrastructure in place, which is what makes all of this possible. The geography of the United States means more towers will have to be built in more places to handle the traffic loads, and it might require a massive infrastructure overhaul on a nationwide scale (unless they only planned this service in major American cities and not... Montana).

If you can have access to anything like what I have here, but in an American city, I'd say it was substantially better than a home wireless set up. By leaps and bounds as well as in terms of privacy.

Gaming (1)

RawGutts (879317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513288)

Also for the gamers out here, this is also a horrible idea. Way to much latency to play any online games on this type of network, but for the normal people out their it maybe viable..

Keep the landline (4, Interesting)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513350)

I have a landline ADSL with 1 ISP plus HSDPA cellular broadband with all (3) cellular ISPs that operate here. Cellular broadband is not supposed to replace landline broadband, it is simply for when you are out or whenever the landline isn't working. The latency of cellular access is too high compared to landline, the signal indoors is often poor (but you can use signal boosters), and many times even if one day you have signal after a few days you may find that the signal is gone because tower locations change often and not only that but the connection quality is also dependent on how many people connect near your tower. Not only that, but some cellular ISPs do not give you a real IP, or force you to use their proxy server (easily bypassed though) or even force you to use only their own software (also easily bypassed if you flash the firmware of your router or if you use a free OS such as Debian).

Thus the perfect solution is to have both. If you can't pay for both, then the answer depends on how many hours of the day you are out. If you stay indoors only when you sleep, then certainly cellular boradband is the answer. But if you do stay indoors more than 3-4 hours of your awake life, then you shouldn't easily cancel the landline.

Re:Keep the landline (1)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513364)

Regarding indoor signal quality, I would like to point out though that except for signal boosters there are also external antennas that you can place out of your home, but in some countries you need a special permit from the government to do that (this also applies to WiFi antennas).

related question (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513358)

what's the security like?

like say on evdo

if i open an ftp clear text password, it is natively encrypted by the protocol? or did i just hand everyone my ftp password?

Re:related question (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513516)

if i open an ftp clear text password, it is natively encrypted by the protocol? or did i just hand everyone my ftp password?

If you use ftp or telnet, you should assume that everyone has your password, period (unless you do it over a VPN tunnel). Don't trust others to magically do your security for you.

I use Sprint EVD0, and I assume that it is just as open as the WiFi at Starbucks. But then, I also assume the same about my Cable Modem.

VOIP over 3G (1)

nlann (1125759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513406)

I can give feed back on my own experience here in Singapore. I just switched to mobile broadband with M1. For 22sing$ a month (about 10 euros, 15 usd) I get:
    - 6 month contract only
    - 512kbps in / 384kbps out, the cheapest plan, but I don't need more. They also have 1.8 and 3.6mbps.
    - Really unlimited traffic (no ridiculous monthly cap like in some countries)
    - A free 3.5g usb modem (Huawei e220) working fine on my Linux Thinkpad. But then I have to swap the simcard between phone and modem...

The very good thing is that I don't need my expensive voice plan anymore. Now I'm using VOIP on my N95 and it's almost free to call everywhere in the world with cheap prepaid minutes from Gizmo, or Pfingo. The sound quality is OK, comparable with normal gsm. But I had to use a low bandwidth codec (G729) between the Nokia N95 and my Asterisk server. It seems the 3G connection didn't provide enough bandwitdh for "uncompressed" G711, and I got poor results (5s lag) most of the time with G711. But G729 is perfect.

I got local Singapore phone number from Pfingo ( so people can call me from real phones. Here they even have a range of numbers dedicated to VOIP (+653xxxxxxx). And these are real numbers, reachable from other phones, unlike unassigned/invalid numbers used by providers sometime. For my friends and family in France I bought a +33 number from Gizmo. Both numbers rings my mobile and fix phone at home (Siemens S450 IP, also connected to my Asterisk server)

For normal Internet use (ie web, mail, IM) 3G is fine, but it's true that it feels slower and more laggy than my cable access at home. But on the other side I can connect from anywhere and it's ok with me to sacrifice a bit of speed for that! Personally, I think it's good to keep both mobile broadband and DSL/cable for heavy downloads.

Invention Disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513432)

An Internet router has a wireless interface, such as bluetooth. In addition, it may have wired and other forms of wireless interfaces (such as 802.11g).

When another wireless (bluetooth) device is nearby, the router will automatically use that interface of that nearby device for Internet connectivity.

For example, I have a small network at home, connected together with this router. As soon as one (or more) of my bluetooth cell phone with Internet connectivity comes near by, my router automatically pairs with it, and uses its internet connectivity. The result is my home network automatically gets internet connectivity. There is no need for me to have wired internet service at my house.

Optionally, the router shapes and manages traffic that traverses the internet-side of the router.

Just keep walking (1)

toddabalsley (1163625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513440)

I had Cingular for wireless broadband, and it worked great. For about a month. Then, connections would be dropped after five minutes. And the speed dropped, by a lot. And the phone company's support group: worthless. I spent two days on and off with them, replaced the hardware and spoke with people all the way up to the infrastructure guys. At the end of it all, they decided that, because they couldn't keep it working, it was unsupported.

We were using bluetooth to connect through a phone from a Mac. You may say that this was less than an optimal situation, but it worked great initially. I was seeing very close to DSL speed (I live near a tower), it worked with my Linux boxes when we travelled, and worked great from the local tavern. Then, AT&T took over, and it just went south quick.

I'd say no (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513468)

Having wireless broadband changed the way I use my work laptop. I highly recommend it for traveling. For home use however, if all you do on the web is email, instant messaging, surfing, and the occasional download, then yes, wireless broadband will be okay. If you do more, games, video, massive downloads, file sharing, then your going to wish you'd kept the land line.

EVD0 (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513470)

I have Sprint EVD0, and I really like it. (I signed up for the all you can eat service, so I don't have to worry about being nickeled and dimed to death.) It is not as fast as my home (Cable modem) service, but I can routinely get 250 Kbps streaming video, generally get 500 Kbps video, and occasionally get 1 Mbps video. I generally use it in hotels, for example, instead of the typical $ 10 / day hotel Internet charge, and I also use it around the house in places where the WIFI is sketchy.

Would I give up my Cable Internet ? If I didn't run a SOHO with heavy data transfer needs, I might. Your needs might vary, so you might consider it. (Another issue is that it would really take 2 accounts, one for me, one for the house, and since the prices are comparable the second account might as well be wireline.)

Re:EVD0 (1)

mswope (242988) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513582)

I concur. I have Sprint EVD0 RevA and it works well. I got the all you can eat plan because their breakdown is something like 40Mb per *month* or unlimited. I go over 40Mb everytime I get on line.

Anyhow, one interesting thing that I've seen is a wired/wireless LAN router that has a card slot for EVD0 PCMCIA broadband cards. It apparently works pretty well, but it's pricey ($~260). []


Poor (1)

fozzmeister (160968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513498)

A friend has 3g data, it's useless, he bitched about it constantly

Ping Times (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513518)

Although wireless internet be it WCDMA, GSM, whatever is functional for email, browsing etc for games/VoIP it's total rubbish because ping times are often around 600ms.

Printers? File storage? (1)

wodelltech (168047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513566)

If all you want is internet access, the mobile broadband sounds nice. But you'll still need in-home connectivity (e.g., wires, lan, etc.) to do some pretty common tasks.

Alltel has a 1.8MB satellite wireless broadband (1)

Jerry (6400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513666)

My next door neighbor gave up on configuring VISTA on his brand new laptop so he brought it over and asked me to do it. He also had a device about the size of a small cellphone with TWO usb connectors. His laptop has only three USB connectors and he had an optical mouse in the third. The installation of the wireless was straight forward and simple. Insert the CD and run setup.exe. When the installation app tells you to do so, insert the wireless USB connectors. A monitor panel appears. Click the big round green button marked "disconnected" and in a few sections it is marked "Connected" and the graph starts displaying download speeds versus time.

Good News:
The Alltel satellite wireless gives my neighbor the ability to connect to the Internet from ANYWHERE within the satellite's footprint in the Northern Hemisphere at no extra charge. He and his wife were going to visit relatives in Idaho in a couple months and I cautioned him about satellite shadows as he drives through the mountains in that region. He should expect to lose the connection when a mountain blocks the line of sight to the satellite, unless it picks up a reflection from the side of the mountain on the opposite side of the valley between them.

The wireless was receiving well from inside my house and at times reached very close to the 1.8MB download speed. For most websites it was just as fast as my RR 10MB broadband. However, when I went to sites heavy with graphics or with a video the difference became obvious. But, if I weren't into downloads of Linux ISOs and development tools the 1.8MB would be fast enough for most things.

The bad news:
With the satellite wireless attached he can't use any other USB devices unless he gets a USB port extender.
The wireless device comes only with Windows or Mac installation software, and I didn't get an opportunity to see if I could connect to it using any of my Linux tools.

It cost them $172 to buy the "package", sans, installation, and their monthly bill will be $62. I pay $85 for 70 channels of cable TV and a 10MB Internet connection, but my connection is stuck at home. Alltel allows only one connection at a time, but I'm sure some Windows guru can activate an IPFORWARD type service to allow other laptops to connect via an Ethernet cable.

Unplug it without doing the "safely remove hardware" and you could damage the device.

Concerning VISTA:
Although VISTA was "pre-installed" it wasn't configured. The configuration process was much too complicated for my neighbor to accomplish, which is why he gave up and asked if I would do it for him. VISTA's menu structure was much too confusing to be of much help for him. The date and time were wrong and he had no clue about how to set it. The "security" feature which asks permission to run EVERY application (including windows apps, at least for the first time) is annoying and useless. He would have no clue about which program should be allowed to run and which shouldn't. It's like having no security at all and its only purpose is to get Microsoft off the hook for being responsible for the inevitable infections.

I deactivated Norton, IFC and "Defender", and installed FireFox, ThunderBird, AGV and ZoneAlarm. I removed the demoware and trialware (including Office 2007) and installed OpenOffice. I cleaned up his screen and rebooted.

With all the apps that "call home" removed and the desktop cleaned up his VISTA installation started responding fairly well. Not as fast as my PCLinuxOS on a 3GHz CPU with 2GB of RAM, but his Acer dual core 64 2MHz CPUs with 2GB of RAM running VISTA was acceptably fast.... IF it can remain so.

My last words to him were "DON'T EVER RUN IE7 and DON'T EVER RUN OUTLOOK".

Oh, did I mention that it crashed once while running IE7 (which was forced by a hardwired call from Miro) and locked up once during the required reboot following the removal of one of the demoware apps. On the subsequent reboot it defaulted to the "Run Windows normally" option and appeared to come up and run fine for the rest of the session.

Yes and No (1)

tringtring (1227356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513678)

Apologies for having a rather dubious title, but I mean it. I live in India, so obviously the specifics of my experience might not be exactly relevant to you, but I hope the concept is.

Yes: If I am going to be travelling a lot and plan to use the mobile broadband primarily while traveling, why yes, it is indeed a good option especially given that in India we do not have too many places where I can reliably plug in my laptop physically but where WiFi connection appears more secure.

No: Within our offices, we had a difficult time with the PC cards and the funny "antennas" the vendors gave us. There appeared to be some problem always with the alignment of the antennas and it became so much of a hassle we shifted to wired broadband completely within our office.

You might ask whether the antenna issues did not creep up while travelling...they did, but the alternatives available for me while on travel were much less palatable! So I still use the mobile broadband while on travel, but plug my laptop into the cable broadband when in office...

Hope this helps...

Do you download? (1)

djdbass (1037730) | more than 6 years ago | (#22513694)

I have Verizon Wireless mobile broadband. It's ok for light work, but they throttle downloads back. The longer the download, the slower it gets throttled back to. Seems to encourage light use only.


good service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22513744) offers a usb device + unlimited bandwidth for us$50/month. I am seeing 1.5 mb connections/downloads in a rural area with no dsl or cable.
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