March 23, 2006
 

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Posted: 03.24.05

Almost the Mountain Top

The promise of anywhere, anytime access is relative to your connectivity options. Luckily these options have been rapidly expanding over the last year, with more hotspots popping up everywhere from the airport to McDonald’s and with true 3G services like EV-DO from Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless’ (now Cingular Wireless’) EDGE service.
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By Teresa von Fuchs




I’ve been trying out Cingular’s EDGE service with the Sony Ericsson GC83 EDGE PC Card Modem. The card itself is very study with a thick, detachable antenna and a slick metal carrying case.

Cingular’s wireless manager app is also small and really user friendly. It opens whenever you flip open your laptop (or turn it on) and is quick to detect if the device is connected. Then there are two connectivity options: WWAN or Wi-Fi. You just click on how you’d like to connect, and it lists your options.

For Wi-Fi it’ll list networks within range, and for WWAN it will let you know as soon as the network is available. Here’s the only problem I’ve had with Cingular’s service. It has taken up to 10 minutes to find the network. I’ve moved around in my apartment, moved the antenna, closed and restarted the app, ejected and reinserted the device; sometimes nothing helps. Sometimes it just can’t find it.

Now, I live in Brooklyn, which I know is not as high a network priority as Manhattan, so that could be part of the problem. But even in Manhattan today it took almost three minutes before it found the network. Now really, three minutes isn’t that long considering once you’re connected the speed is always more than twice that of dial-up. And in the days when we all relied on phone lines or GPRS/CDMA 1xRTT data cards, it could’ve taken three minutes just to load the page and sign in to remote access e-mail. But today’s mantra is “anytime, anywhere” and users’ impatience has played a big part in the industry’s race to upgrade speeds in the first place. However, I try to keep my impatience in check, and realize how much closer I am to anytime, anywhere access with a PC Card and EDGE service, than I was without it.
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