We often complain about how our connection to the Internet is not fast enough. And for the most part, it's never really fast enough, especially in this era of YouTube and hi-def online movie streaming.
One of my all-time favorite products is also one of the most underrated and overlooked. It's the Virgin Mobile Broadband2Go Ovation MC760, a 3G broadband modem for laptops. It originally sold for $149.99, but now you can get one for just $78.54 shipped (plus sales tax in some states).
What separates the MC760 from other "aircard" modems? The biggie: it requires no two-year contract (no contract at all, in fact) and no monthly minimum. You pay for airtime as you need it.
That's a huge plus over modems from the likes of Sprint and … Read more
Febooti's fileTweak Download Speed is a small, specialized utility that clocks your download speed, compares it with standard connection types, and estimates how long it would take to download a specified file via various connections. It integrates with the Windows file properties dialog, too, so it's handy yet unobtrusive. It basically does what those broadband speed test Web sites do, only hosted on your PC. It's a module of the developer's fileTweak utility, but we tested the standalone freeware version.
Although this compact tool is no bigger than the average portable application, it downloads and installs … Read more
Intel said Monday it agreed to acquire Texas Instruments' cable modem unit as it tries to expand markets for its Atom processor line.
The acquisition is a good fit with Intel's CE line of system-on-a-chip (SOC) Atom processors, the company said. "The purchase enhances Intel's focus on the cable industry...where the company's expertise in building advanced system-on-chip products, based on Intel Atom processors, will be applied," Intel said in a statement.
Nokia has sold its wireless-modem business to semiconductor company Renesas Electronics, and the two companies have agreed to develop modem technologies together in the future.
The $200 million sale of Nokia's wireless-modem business, which includes LTE, HSPA, and GSM technologies and patents, was announced Tuesday. In a joint statement, Nokia and Renesas said they had formed a long-term alliance to develop modem technologies for HSPA+/LTE initiatives. (LTE is the long-term evolution of 3G, sometimes called 4G).
Nokia also noted that divesting itself of the business would help it focus on its core handset and services businesses.
Read more … Read more
The move to 4G and the longevity of 3G will kick off a rise in the number of devices shipped with baseband cellular modems to more than 2 billion annually in another four years, according to a report released Thursday by In-Stat.
Devices with baseband modems--wireless chipsets that enable the connection to cell towers--include traditional mobile phones, smartphones, Netbooks, notebooks, tablets, and e-readers. Though Wi-Fi will continue to be a practical technology for short-range connections, baseband devices will still offer greater coverage by tapping into cellular networks, according to In-Stat.
As the current onslaught of mobile devices taxes existing 3G … Read more
iPad buyers face a difficult decision: to 3G or not to 3G? After all, the entry-level 3G iPad costs $629, plus $14.99/month for a 250MB data plan or $29.99/month for unlimited. You don't have to sign up for a contract, which is great, but the fact remains you're paying yet another wireless bill for service on a single device.
There is another option. With a Verizon MiFi card, a combination wireless modem and Wi-Fi router, you could choose the cheaper Wi-Fi-only iPad and still enjoy 3G Internet just about anywhere. Plus, you get to share that connectivity with up to four other users/devices.
However, that's a much pricier solution: The MiFi locks you into a two-year Verizon contract and charges you a minimum of $39.99 per month--$59.99 if you choose the unlimited data plan.
That's why I'm hitching my wireless wagon to Virgin Mobile's Broadband2Go, a pay-as-you-go service that requires no contract and no monthly minimums. (Here's my hands-on review of the service in case you're interested.)
Broadband2Go works with a Novatel-made USB aircard that sells for $99.99 (or $88.54 at Walmart). Obviously you can't plug it directly into an iPad (the modem was made with laptops in mind), but there's a workaround: the CradlePoint PHS300.
Plug the Broadband2Go into this compact, battery-powered Wi-Fi router and presto: You've got MiFi-style functionality from a pay-as-you-go provider.
Plus, the PHS300 supports up to 16 simultaneous users/devices, versus just five on the MiFi. It's not quite as elegant a solution, but it's definitely cheaper in the long run.… Read more
I'm a huge fan of the Verizon MiFi 2200, a pocket-friendly 3G modem that doubles as a Wi-Fi hot spot. Just one problem: it locks you into a two-year contract with Verizon and costs a minimum of $40 per month--$60 if you opt for the unlimited-data 5GB data plan.
You can accomplish much of the same thing with the CradlePoint PHS300, currently on sale at Buy.com for $99.99 shipped. The only difference is, it's BYO wireless card.
In other words, you have to supply the modem; the PHS300 turns it into a secure Wi-Fi hot … Read more
Broadband download speeds in the U.S. rose 28 percent last year, while upload speeds increased 16 percent compared with the previous year, according to a report released Tuesday by In-Stat.
The average broadband download speed in the U.S. is now 7.12 megabits per second, while the average upload speed is 2.42Mbps, according to the report "US Residential Broadband Speeds Accelerate," based on an In-Stat survey. In 2009, cable modem and wireless users saw the highest gains in bandwidth. The jump in broadband speed for cable subscribers was about double that for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) customers.… Read more