Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Broadband via Cell Phone

If you travel a lot, or if you live in an area without DSL or CableModem broadband possibilities, a product like the Verizon EVDO AirCard could really help you out...especially when teamed with the matching router which can broadcast a connection to several PCs or WiFi devices. It is also a very good solution for a rolling lab or mobile classroom.


The setup I've tested (thanks Jonas!) is a "PC5750" Verizon AirCard with a LinkSys "WRT54G3G-ST" wireless router. The AirCard normally fits in a normal PCMCIA slot of a notebook computer. It has a very small flip up antenna and a place to connect a larger external antenna. The tested router has a PCMCIA slot which accepts the card without any configuration whatsoever.

The AirCard picked up a signal and worked reliably in a remote location in Alabama where a voice call via cell phone is very unreliable, so the AirCard's external antenna port will likely be unnecessary.


The combination worked so well that a client VPN connection over WiFi, through the router and AirCard did not drop while traveling on an AL Interstate. The AirCard hopped from cell tower to cell tower without ever missing a beat.


The fine print of Verizon's agreement says that if usage exceeds 5GB/line/month they reserve the right to reduce speeds to a max of approx 200Kbps. I've not heard of that happening yet, but I guess it'll still beat the heck out of a 56k modem. I think it'd still be much better than a satellite connection too, since the satellite connection has a very annoying lag. Other than the high price and the possibility of a bandwidth restriction, I'd say this type of broadband connection is as nice as DSL or cablemodem. Congrats and thanks to Verizon for a network that really does work.

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