Sunday, June 11, 2006

Cellular Internet Access

I'm writing this blog entry from the inside of a Honda Element barreling down I-75 at 70mph using my laptop with Cingular's high speed Internet access card. I'm not driving. ;-) It's pretty sweet. I've been using it for about 3 weeks now so I thought I give a little first hand accounting of how this technology is performing.

I have to say that I'm impressed with it. I can tell you first hand that I can maintain connectivity to the Internet from I-75 at 9 Mile Rd to Cheboygan exit 326. That's just one exit shy of Machinac City. The connection speed goes up and down here and there but I stay connected and at a decent speed. It's about dial-up at its worst and about DSL speed at its best. Most of the time though it operates somewhere in between. Which isn't bad considering the benefits. I've got decent Internet connectivity anywhere. Anywhere. Which means its possible for me to work productively from anywhere.

Ubiquitus Internet access doesn't come cheap though. It runs $60 a month for unlimited. That's more than I pay for cable Internet access at the office but then again, I can't take that cable with me. Cingular tells me that soon I'll notice that the speed of my connection will bump up to 3 giga bits. That's about as fast as my cable line. I'll only get this speed while in the metro Detroit area but I'm still pretty excited about it.

There's one catch though. I've got to use my Internet access at least 1/2 of the time in my "home" region. My home region runs from Lansing to Monroe to Bay City, roughly. North of Bay City I'm on another network (which explains the speed reduction) and it costs Cingular something to maintain the partnership with other networks. So, I'm getting used to using my card more that I thought I would so that I can maintain my ability to connection while I'm working away.

At any rate, the technology is impressive. Think of the possibilities: You're visitng a client and need to connect to the Internet. You've brought you're own Internet access so you don't need to figure out how to get your laptop on their network just to use the Internet. You're at a hotel and they want $9.99 a day for Internet access. If this happens at least 6 days a month you'd benefit from bringing your own Internet access. You want to work from the cottage and they haven't brought high speed Internet access to your patch of wilderness yet and it won't be happening any time soon. etc, etc, etc.

All of the cellular phone companies have high speed Internet access for laptops. Just inquire where you purchase your cellular service.

Amy Babinchak
Harbor Computer Services


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