Tech Time: Internet On The Go

It’s great to have browser options, but being able to use a browser anywhere you want is the real trick to internet power. When we are on the go, or if we live in relatively remote locations, getting internet access can be a challenge, without a USB Modem.

Also sometimes referred to as data cards or mobile modems, the USB modem offers wireless internet connectivity. It’s not a new concept, PC Cards offered wireless internet via a cellular connection, but thanks to technology blazing speed and easy access is now par for the course.

USB modems call on GPRS (General Pocket Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) to download data at speeds of up to 8 MBps. This is comparable to some broadband internet services though in reality, your speed will likely be closer to 2 MBps, still very good.

The quality of the signal and the speed are largely dependent on your location. Being outdoors and stationery are not requirements, but both factors help.

Each USB Modem and service provider is different and novices won’t be able to transfer service from one telecom to another. To simplify matters (or make more money) some laptop manufactures are including built in data cards tied to a particular service provider.

In Jamaica, all three telecoms offer data cards either as a standalone or package deal. A unlimited data plan is highly recommend for heavy users to avoid data caps and overage fees. Device fees start at just under $3,000.00 usually with a data plan. Roaming rates are generally separate.

Of the local options, I am yet to see added features like built in data storage, dual wifi or built in GPS, but I don’t miss any of them. All local options do also offer SMS messaging and SIM based phone books which has some cool/practical business applications.

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