Friday, May 23, 2008

Connect 75 no longer offered

See my other blog for important information about Telus rate plans.

Friday, March 14, 2008

CradlePoint's new products...

CradlePoint, the people that offer the CTR-350 EV-DO router, have some new products.

Link = CradlePoint

The Personal HotSpot PHS-300

Mobile Broadband Router MBR-1000

Thursday, December 27, 2007

WiFi in your limo !!!!

Imagine this...

Your sitting in your limo or taxi cab at the Halifax Airport, waiting endless hours for your next fare.

Since you're bored, you get out your laptop and start surfing the Internet. Maybe pay some bills, check your e-mail, listen to some Internet Radio from who-knows-where, download some pr0n, make some VoIP calls to your cousin...

Finally, you get a fare.

As the tired businessman settles in for the 30-minute drive into downtown, you mention, "Sir, if you want, there's a WiFi Hotspot in this car. Feel free to use your laptop..."

The fare, bug-eyed with disbelief, "Did you say that this car has Internet access? Do you mean high speed?"

You reply, "Yep. You'll probably get between 1 and 2 megabits per second. And the system is specified to work at ground speeds of up to 160 km/h too, but I'll try not to test that tonight... He he he. Yeah, it's WiFi enabled with EV-DO, a cell phone technology. Just scan for WiFi networks, look for XXX-NNN, and the password is xxxxxx. Help yourself, it is unlimited; but it costs me a fair amount [$94] per month to provide this extra service for my passengers... So, ah, if you'd like to take that into account with your tip then that would be helpful."

If you make an extra $100 per month in tips by providing high speed Internet, then you're financially ahead on the deal (on a month-to-month basis). Plus, you get to use it when you're not driving.

The future is here, now. Welcome to it.

WiFi in your limo - the details...

Mobile high speed Internet - Mobile high speed Internet is now available in many areas. For example, in metro Halifax (HRM, Nova Scotia, Canada), Telus and Bell both offer a 3G service called EV-DO. This provides peak speeds of 3.1Mbps (about one-hundred times faster than dial-up), and actual speeds of between 1 and 2 Mbps.

Monthly fees - The most important thing to watch out for is the monthly fees!! Telus offers an Unlimited plan called 75 Connect. It costs $75 per month, plus another $6.95, plus another $0.43 '911 fee', plus tax (about $94 all-in). The additional costs for data bandwidth is NOTHING, NADA, NIL, NULL.

Bell Aliant - I first tried to get this system through Aliant. But the staff were all confused about if I had to sign-up to a three-year contract, even though I told them that I wanted to pay full retail for the modem and get a month-to-month plan. Their brochure didn't match what they actually offered. In any case, Telus is a wee bit cheaper and I'm on a month-to-month plan (no contract, I can cancel service on 30 days notice).

Modem - I choose the Sierra Wireless 595U with a USB plug. That's all it is, just a wee little gadget with a USB plug. It gets its power through the USB plug. It also has an antenna port so that you could, if required, install a exterior PCS antenna (Telus is 1.9 GHz I think) on your car for better coverage. But I used the modem on the rear parcel shelf from Miller Lake to downtown Halifax with only one short drop-out; streaming live Internet Radio through my laptop the whole time.

Watcher software - If you use it on a laptop or desktop, then you can install their Watcher software to control the 595U modem.

Mobile WiFi Router - This is where it all comes together. Plug the 595U into the Cradlepoint CTR-350 and it creates a WiFi Hotspot. The CradlePoint CTR-350 needs DC power and comes with an AC adapter, so there is a small issue about providing the appropriate power in a car. You could perhaps use an inverter, or find an appropriate DC adapter.

Command and Control - The CTR-350 is controlled by internal webpages. So you could use a laptop or even a Sony PSP to control it. But for most applications it is plug and play anyway.

Equipment costs - 595U is about $300 full-price at Telus. CTR-350 is about US$150 - you can order it direct from the OEM (request FedEx for easier delivery, avoid UPS!). Not sure about the mobile antenna, maybe $100. Not sure about the DC adapter, maybe $50 (or use an inverter).

All of the above combines to provide the following: Mobile high speed Internet with WiFi interface. While you're waiting for your next fare, you can surf the 'net on your laptop or whatever. You could listen to Internet Radio using a laptop or PSP. Once your fare gets settled, you can offer them WiFi Internet access.

You can probably make back the monthly fee (under $95) in increased tips. If you were a business man, would you increase your tip a few bucks if the cabbie had provided you with mobile high speed Internet? I mean - wow!

For more information, please refer to my other blog...

Link= EV-DO in NS

You'll find more details and links to coverage maps, etc.

PS: You need to be very careful to make sure you're on an appropriate unlimited plan. If you're paying $0.05 per kilobyte, then you could easily get a bill for $85,000 as happened to a consumer in Calgary. But with the right plan, it really is unlimited. I'm using Telus EV-DO as the only high speed Internet option available at our home's location near Miller Lake.

PS2: Personally, I would not recommend signing up for a 3-year contract. I believe that technology will likely change within a few years and cheaper options may become available. Given that the real cost is the monthly fee, not the hardware, it doesn't make sense to get a weenie $250 discount on the modem, but then be trapped for 36 months. But it's your call.