Archive for May, 2010

To Tether or Not To Tether

For several years I have tethered a wireless point to my different phones. When I got my iPhone last August I was looking forward to being able to tether to it. Well, it is still not possible and frankly, it is a bit of a pain to tether anyway.

So, after the short time of having the iPad, I thought maybe I would get an iPad with 3G. At this point I am glad I wasn’t able to buy one at the Apple Store (tried on three different occasions).
Friday I stopped by the Verizon store to check out the MiFi 2200 3G that they are advertising. There are several reasons I considered this device. One is that I noticed often that the Verizon signal was better than the AT&T signal. Another reason I considered this is, I like the idea of being able to use the MiFi as a wireless point for multiple devices. It works well for the Pro Books, the iPad and the iPod touches we have.

Verizon MiFi 2200 3 G
Just under 2 oz. and slightly smaller than the iPhone.

So far it seems to work very well. It connects instantly and seems to have sufficient speeds. While it can’t compare to my normal connections, it certainly is good enough to work and play!
The download speed and upload speed was measured while parked in a parking lot while I was waiting for someone. This was while I was connected to the MiFi with my iPad and Pro Book. In fact, I did this entry including capturing the images on the iPad and e-mailing it to myself to resize in Photoshop and then edit this post! Not too bad.
Download: 1.77 Mbps – Upload: 0.84 Mbps

For information (including rebate information) check here.

iPhone and 3G MicroCell

We use something similar to the 3G MicroCell for our Verizon coverage in our building already. It will allow so many phones to be connected at any time (10 I believe) and you can set up specific numbers so they always have a right to the connection. If there are 10 users and you walk into the zone, it will kick off anyone that isn’t registered.

As any of you know that follow this blog or know me, I love my iPhone. I like it so much I have even started learning Objective C and have done some programing. I have two iPhone Apps and I am about to release an App for the iPad. But, like many of you with iPhones, the coverage can be a bit spotty (especially if you work in the sticks).

Where I work, I have very poor coverage in my office due to location and the building I am in. Sometimes I will have two bars or I have zero coverage. So, besides the problem of no coverage, if the phone is constantly looking (the display shows Searching…) for a signal, the battery life goes in the toilet. It will discharge very quickly.

AT&T has talked for over a year about rolling out the 3G MicroCell which connects to your internet connection.
The reason for the delay according to AT&T was that while the system would technically work without the nearby cell towers, they want it to be able to hand off from the 3G MicroCell to the nearby cell tower (not the other way around).

Well, it has finally become available so I visited a nearby AT&T store and picked up my very own 3G MicroCell. The folks at the AT&T store were fantastic (AT&T service has always been stellar for me) and we did the initial setup at the store. Once back at work, I confirmed the new setup (you have to put in the physical address and phone number for the location if you have a land line for emergency services) and inputed my phone number and 4 others into the AT&T website and then plugged the 3G MicroCell into the network. I then plugged the power in and set the device on the window sill so it could get a GPS signal (again, for emergency services).

After about 20 minutes I received an e-mail confirming that everything was ready to go. And, it was. Now instead of a bar or less and my wifi signal strenth, I have all bars and it shows AT&T M-Cell and the wifi signal strength next to it. Just a note on that. With AT&T’s 3G MicroCell, you get phone and data. On the other company’s setup I mention earlier, you only get phone. Probably because they don’t let you talk and surf at the same time anyway.

So, I am very pleased and it works great!

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