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Viability of Mobile Broadband For Home Use? 177

Posted by timothy
from the does-the-question-answer-itself dept.
mighty7sd writes "I am about to be released from my contract with Time Warner for my home internet service, and I am evaluating alternatives to my current cable modem setup. I would love to use AT&T U-Verse or Verizon Fios, but they are not available in my area. I have a good idea of the costs and limitations of Cable and DSL service, so I am considering using mobile broadband for my home internet connection. Most providers seems to cap the connection at 5 GB of data transfer per month. I am a relatively heavy internet user using streaming video and a web server, so I need decent down/upload speeds and a large data transfer cap. Has anyone in the /. community had a good experience using mobile broadband cards at their home, specifically with lots of streaming video or a home server? What has happened if you have gone over your data transfer limit? Cricket Wireless is available in my area for $40 per month with 'unlimited' service, but I am skeptical that it is truly reliable and unlimited. I also found products that act as a WiFi router for mobile broadband services, but it seems that this is against most carriers TOS. Can they really detect these, and are they comparable to a wired broadband router?"
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Viability of Mobile Broadband For Home Use?

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  • by NewmanKU (948325) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:45PM (#27764167)
    First thing to check is to make sure you get a decent mobile signal at and inside your home. If the tower is too far away you'll get horrible throughput rates.
    • by sopssa (1498795) <sopssa@email.com> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:55PM (#27764295) Journal
      I used my phone company's 3g connection for inet access after I moved apartments and had to wait 3 weeks for the adsl to be installed.

      Unlimited 5mbit costed 30e/month and worked quite well, tho pings in online games were around 250-400ms (usually 50ms or so). After the 3 weeks period I had used 48GB of bandwidth.

      The only issue is prolly the latency, which isnt so nice in multiplayer games. I live in scandinavia, so I dont know how its in USA tho. But for people in here, its a great alternative.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by destuxor (874523)
      The building I live in was erected in the 1960's and doesn't have great service for Verizon or AT&T (I would know, I've been on contract with both). A bunch of dudes in the building I live in use AT&T and Verizon air cards pretty effectively. I've heard no complaints, but for now I'm sticking with Time Warner myself.
      • by afabbro (33948)

        The building I live in was erected in the 1960's and doesn't have great service for Verizon or AT&T

        Does one really have anything to do with the other? I imagine a building built in 1890 next to a cell tower would have great service, while one built in 2009 in the Badlands of North Dakota would not.

        Am I missing something? Did 1960s construction methods introduce Faraday Cages or something?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by moniker127 (1290002)
          Well, some building materials absorb more signal than others. The more porous the stuff is, the more decibels it will soak up. I can't remember, but I think one major thing is asbestos. I'd have to do some testing to say for sure, but I can tell you that it is a major factor.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You can use a sprint Novatel or Sierra card with a Linksys WRT54G-ST it is a 4 port router with a PCMCIA card slot in the top. It works like a normal DSL/Broadbad router, wired and wireless clients. I know they used to be $250.00 and then the cost of the card was $60.00 per month. As far as the speed, that truely depends on your area. I have seen them as fast a 1.3 upload and 700k download and slower. If you are using the Economy bundle through warner you will notice a slightly slower connection, anything f

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The FIRST thing to do is look at their TOS. Almost every mobile carrier's TOS says "everything we implied in the advertising is a lie". Almost all of them prohibit gaming or large file transfer, yadayada.

      The new WiMax critters like Clear seem to understand they have a market opportunity there though with their "no holds barred strictly on tiers of GB" policy.

    • Or, you can look for Wi-Max providers, which are few and far between, but much, much faster than 3g wireless. Of course, you need to really study the TOS and fine print, especially if that provider is Clearwire.. Maybe approach some regional ISP's about it, or heck, go for it yourself...

      • WiMax can support very high speed connections and very long distances, and has great hype with it. But in reality, it can support very high speeds over short distances, or moderately low speeds over long distances, and ISPs have to make some tradeoff in between based on how many customers they can get in the cell around a given antenna, and by the time they're done, it's no longer spectacularly shiny. (4G doesn't really exist yet, so of course it'll be really really cool when it gets here, while 3G was re

  • Why yes, I've used it, Telecom was very quick to charge me over two hundred dollars for a few google searches.

    (Yes, I do live in New Zealand)
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:47PM (#27764185) Homepage

    Tell them about what is going on in N.Carolina and tell them that it will produce friendlier and more regular income to the city than traffic signal cameras. You may get fiber at your door with high speed up and down instead of slow up and fast down.

  • If you already have a data plan for your mobile phone then give this application a try: http://www.wmwifirouter.com/ [wmwifirouter.com] It will turn your cell phone into a Access point. I use this application all the time when i'm on the road or when my connection goes down at home.
  • Works for some (Score:5, Informative)

    by avm (660) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:53PM (#27764259) Journal

    I did it for a number of months using Sprint and a USB Sierra Wireless Compass dongle (not sure of the model number, but it did work in Linux).

    It worked for me, but there is a 5Gb/mo cap and would probably not fit your usage. Reliable, reasonably fast for what it is, worked flawlessly in XP and Ubuntu, and really gave me nothing to complain about.

    • Re:Works for some (Score:4, Informative)

      by Spy Hunter (317220) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @06:12PM (#27765135) Journal

      I did it for over a year, and actually experienced service termination due to a bandwidth cap. Verizon terminated my contract (waiving the early termination fee) after I downloaded over 20GB in one month. I believe 20GB is the *real* cap. However, Verizon was later sued in a class action for false advertising. As a result, I believe they temporarily stopped terminating people.

      As for stuff like streaming video, running a server, or using P2P, that's all prohibited by the TOS but not enforced. In real life they will only terminate you for bandwidth use.

      This info is all slightly out of date though, it's been a year or so since I used this stuff. Up-to-date info about Verizon and Sprint's actual practices (as opposed to what the TOS says) is available on many web forums like EVDO Forums [evdoforums.com].

    • by frieko (855745)
      Verizon 3G works great at my parents house where there's no cable. You can use an "average" amount of youtube without going over the cap. I wouldn't recommend much more though.

      Oh, and BE WARY OF CRICKET! I've read horror stories. Of course YMMV.
    • I have been using my vzw blackberry storm as my internet connection device since November 2008, and it works alright as long as you're monitoring your usage. I didn't do it because it was the best option, I did it because it was the only (viable) option. I live in a rural area, and I could choose between satellite internet (typically capped at 7gb/mo I believe), dial up, or mobile. I have been a satellite terminal operator in the military, so I kind of know about the extreme latency in these connections. I
  • A friend of mine has a Verizon card. Latency's pretty bad (comparable to dialup), and the software is sorta crappy -- it doesn't lose signal, so much as the USB device suddenly unprobes and reconnects, always defaulting to the wrong network setup.

    • by mdm-adph (1030332)

      I would love to have "dialup" latency on my satellite connection. :P

    • by afidel (530433)
      Latency on the Rev A network is generally 100-150ms even with a marginal signal for me, worse than landline broadband better than dialup. You might not want to play a twitch FPS on it for most other things it's fine. Upload bandwidth is a bit low at 300Kbps but my cable was that low until last year so it's definitely usable.
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chill (34294) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:55PM (#27764279) Journal

    Has anyone in the /. community had a good experience using mobile broadband cards at their home, specifically with lots of streaming video or a home server?

    I'm almost certain that running a server would be against the ToS, and yes it is fairly easy to detect. Hmmm...incoming Port 80/443 traffic...

    I know a couple people who've switched to mobile broadband for their main link, but they are not heavy users. Checking e-mail, searching Google, general web browsing, yes. Frequent streaming media? Not unless it is postage stamp sized.

    And Cricket's data plan isn't 3G so it would be a dog.

    • I'm almost certain that running a server would be against the ToS, and yes it is fairly easy to detect. Hmmm...incoming Port 80/443 traffic...

      Verizon FIOS doesn't seem to care that I'm running port 69 for http (they block 80, meh, I can append :69 and I'm out of outrage for the time being) and 443 and 8443 for https (one for apache_mod_svn, for the inquisitive). I've gotten no complaints whatsoever, despite moving 13TB outbound over the past 6 months, according to my RRD server. If they are trying to detect and enforce TOS violations, they are doing a really poor job of it.

      Judging by what you've written, you need to stay on TWC's teat for a littl

    • by vertinox (846076)

      I'm almost certain that running a server would be against the ToS, and yes it is fairly easy to detect. Hmmm...incoming Port 80/443 traffic...

      I don't think it was DynDNS that let you do this, but there are services around that let you host a server on a different and possibly including dynamic port other than port 80/443 traffic between you and the the gateway.

      You still violate your TOS, but it can be done... *coughs* not that I know anything about that.

    • And I forgot the link:

      http://www.no-ip.com/services/managed_dns/free_dynamic_dns.html [no-ip.com]

      *coughs*

      Don't know nothing about doing this either...

      Port 80 Redirects

      Many residential ISPs Block port 80, No-IP Free DNS enables you to run a webserver on a non-standard port, yet users accessing your site never have to enter a port number. For example http://yourname.no-ip.com/ [no-ip.com] can redirect to http://yourname.no-ip.com:8833/ [no-ip.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by jonbryce (703250)

        The ones I've looked at in Britain give you a 192.168.x.x IP address, so no-ip isn't going to work whatever you do.

    • by hurfy (735314)

      My dad's verizon has EVERYTHING against the TOS as far as i can tell :( Pretty sure streaming video is in there too....and gaming...and audio...and BT...and...

      Wouldn't a web server be connected all the time? You think they will like that? I am guessing your card connected 24/7 would clue them in. They assume over xG per month and you are doing something you shouldn't, so i would bet the same would apply if you are always connected.

      I've seen the Cricket commercial where they use it for home. Pretty sure that

    • by icebike (68054)

      A "home server" would not need any incoming ports open via the broadband card.

      I'm sure the OP meant to use the mobile broadband card as the EXTERNAL nic of a NAT router, with the other nic being either wifi or wired, serving other machines in his household.

      These are harder to detect, (sometimes impossible), and I see no reason why they should be prohibited as long as he lives under the cap or pays the fees.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan (30335)

      Has anyone in the /. community had a good experience using mobile broadband cards at their home, specifically with lots of streaming video or a home server?

      I'm almost certain that running a server would be against the ToS, and yes it is fairly easy to detect. Hmmm...incoming Port 80/443 traffic...

      I know a couple people who've switched to mobile broadband for their main link, but they are not heavy users. Checking e-mail, searching Google, general web browsing, yes. Frequent streaming media? Not unless it is

    • by kat_skan (5219)

      I'm almost certain that running a server would be against the ToS, and yes it is fairly easy to detect. Hmmm...incoming Port 80/443 traffic...

      Depending on the carrier you might not even be given the option of violating the ToS. I recently set up a file server as part of an "office in the cupboard" for an over-the-road driving team, which I planned to manage remotely via a Verizon EVDO modem. Unfortunately it turns out that Verizon maintains a firewall that prevented me from accessing the server over SSH. I

      • by NateTech (50881)

        There's about a million ways around that... Hell, that's easy.

        Have it "phone home" and set up a VPN or reverse SSH tunnel that's on unless the thing goes out of the cellular coverage area, instead of you logging into it.

        Just keep the heartbeats and bandwidth of the "nearly constant" connection to a minimum.

    • The US cable modem companies started the meme that running servers at home was bad, back during the early trials when they had equipment problems, crappy town-by-town tv infrastructure, and lots of pressure from the telco's "web hog" DSL commercials, and they've infected lots of other carriers with it, even though the reasons for it haven't been valid for a decade. (And the fear that they'll get bad publicity if their service is slow because somebody's running a porn website at home and burning their neigh

  • For home use?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by malkir (1031750)
    Well if it's for home use.. why don't you just pay for a 10MB line and get a wireless router.
  • by Joe The Dragon (967727) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @04:58PM (#27764343)

    The 5 GB cap will kill you cable seems to be the best that you can get for now.

  • ...that it isn't viable but you're posting in the hope someone will aid you in continued wishful thinking.

    It sounds to me like your best solution would be 2 broadband accounts. 1 wired and 1 wireless.

  • No (Score:5, Funny)

    by dr_strang (32799) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:00PM (#27764353)

    Terrible idea. Just steal your neighbor's wifi.

    • I do it with a neighbor. I have 'commercial' ISP subscription, so servers are okay.

      They hardly use any bandwidth and pay less than they would if they got service on their own.

      We both get a good deal out of it.

    • Why not steal your neighbour's wife?
    • by Eil (82413)

      But if you steal it, they're bound to notice when it's gone...

    • Half the time if I'm in a random city and need a wifi connection, I can find a Linksys or similar open port and not have to go find a coffee shop.

      I can usually see 3-4 unencrypted wifi connections from home, depending on where I've got my laptop, so on the rare occasions my DSL has gone down, I've got backup connectivity. In practice it's probably more trouble than it's worth, because one neighbor's firewall kills my VPN connection, and another neighbor's ISP doesn't let me upload email, and every could of

  • Viability of Mobile Broadband For Home Use?
    >> Viability Mobile Broadband Home Use
    >> Mobile Broadband Home Use
    >> Mobile Home
  • by frith01 (1118539) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:02PM (#27764367)

    I have mobile broadband for work / support issues, and it does not do well with video streaming. ( watch 3 minutes, wait 3 minutes, repeat )

    Audio streaming is just able to keep up most of the time.

    I can certainly confirm the latency issues are noticeable, but for ssh / remote support it is use-able. buy a host site plan from a friendly web provider, and just remote admin the info.

    • by smoker2 (750216)
      I can watch the BBC streaming news until my battery runs down. Short buffering period maybe once every 15 minutes, but generally ok. Similar with NASA tv. But neither of those use flash.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:02PM (#27764369) Journal
    While it has its virtues (notably the "mobile" part), mobile "broadband" is otherwise a hell of a mess. Higher latency than wired, generally higher cost than wired, almost definitely lower caps than wired, and, under any but the best conditions, slower than wired(of similar price, I'm not talking netzero dialup).

    If you are on the road most of the time, or need an ISP now, not in three weeks when the cable guy gets off his ass and install, then fine. But why would a self described heavy user even consider going with it for home use?
    • by SteveInMI (985850)
      I am a full-time work-from-home WAN geek. I have Sprint data service, with an old PCMCIA card in a D-Link DIR-450 router; it's my backup Internet connection. From time to time, I've used it in short intervals (1 week) as my primary connection. I used to have problems with the connection resetting every 6 to 18 hours or so, although the connection state has seemed much more stable in the last few months. It still won't hold an outbound VPN connection for a full day at a time; my sessions last anywhere fr
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >slower than wired(of similar price, I'm not talking netzero dialup).

      Agreed. Ive used EVDO broadband cards many times at my last job and, frankly, theyre barely passable as mobile solutions and they make terrible fixed solutions. Ive noticed:

      At any moment the card may want to switch you to a different tower. Say goodbye to any established session.

      At any moment youll drop to dial-up speeds because the card decides it doesnt have enough signal to maintain EVDO and drops to 1X.

      Serious throttling. I have yet

  • I use Sprint's service which was advertised at the time of my contract as "truly unlimited". I have not had any unusual problems.

    The issues to consider - I have a fairly small pipe size - Hulu is pretty rough due to not being able to buffer enough - and latency - I can't really do FPS over this connection because I can't get under the 100ms ping barrier. However the GF plays WOW on it just fine.

    I pay about $60 per month which is a bit steep for what I'm getting, but it sure beats dialup. We had a wire
    • by fl!ptop (902193)

      I did splurge and get they Lynksis router with the PCMCIA slot in it ($300 when I bought it).

      i have used and recommend cradlepoint routers [cradlepoint.com], which are in the $140-$150 range. they have 2 models, so choose accordingly for pcmcia or usb cards. before purchasing one, call them and verify their router will work with the brand/model of aircard you're purchasing, there are a few that don't work now (but i've been told they're working on drivers).

      • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

        by mrslacker (1122161)

        I don't ;-)

        Ok, I work for a competitor, and our product is quite a lot more expensive. But I personally made sure that every freakin' mobile device (I know of) available in the US over the last few years, and many more sold outside the US, work with it.

        Oh yeah, our stuff does that no one else really does effectively, which is aggregation of mobile (and wired) connections. But the pricing is such that's not really a consumer level product:

        http://www.mushroomnetworks.com/ [mushroomnetworks.com]

        The product in particular is the Por

    • I use Sprint Wireless Boradband, as well. I switched after Verizon started throttling my speeds after the first 10-15GB in a month. I regularly sustain 1.1-1.3mbps, and get bursts of up to 2.5mbps. I've never experienced less than 800kbps on the EVDO Rev.A network. I've been using it for my home (wherever that may be) connection for about 2 years now. With it I've been able to sever the accursed chain of my calling/voice-plan provider.
      My Setup:
      1. Free (with contract) PCMCIA Card
      2. Airlink AR360W3G Route
  • For ATT (Score:5, Informative)

    by moniker127 (1290002) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:06PM (#27764425)
    Here is the information for ATT aircards:

    Aircards: Sierra Wireless 885, 881, 881u, Option GT Ultra, Ultra Express, Quicksilver
    5 GB/month
    60 Dollars / Month
    700kbps-1.7 mbps down, ~200 ping to google (on 3g)
    75kbps-125kbps down, ~300 ping to google (on 2g)


    When you go over 5 gigs, data useage is charged at half a cent per KB, but service will be turned off as soon as it is detected by the switch (which can take anywhere from an hour to a week, or forever)

    Coverage map:
    http://www.wireless.att.com/coverageviewer/ [att.com]

    Phone support: 1-800-331-0500 (24 hours).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by moniker127 (1290002)
      And yes, we do all read slashdot.
    • by C10H14N2 (640033)

      I have a GT Ultra with ATT for $62.98/month. I almost always go over 10GB/month and have never been charged an overage fee for data and I have never had my service cut off.

      • Then you must've had your card for more than a year or two. There used to be unlimited data plans, but they stopped provisioning them in the middle of last year. All new plans are capped at 5GB though, don't believe what the salesperson may say to you.
  • Verizon (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Using verizon in a metro area. I get 2.5mbps down and 512kbps up. Lowest ping time is around 80ms but usually around 100ms. If you idle a few seconds the modem will stop talking to the tower. The next packet out will wake up the modem and the initial ping will be around a second. and then back down to 100ms

    I have a USB type modem hooked into debian. Have to plug the dongle into a windows box every so often to track my usage with the software they provide.

    Go over and they charge me 25 cents a MB!

    Sprint wants

  • huh??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by massysett (910130) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:12PM (#27764483) Homepage

    I have a good idea of what the costs and limitations of Cable and DSL service,

    So you are...considering getting something even more expensive, even slower, and with even tighter caps than the worse cable caps?

    ???

    • by iamhigh (1252742)
      Also he mentions the contract in the first sentence, but I wonder if he realized that the cell phone companies are far worse about lock-in and IME, more likely to come after you (or report to credit bureaus).
  • In Norway, there is an interesting discussion whether one can define Mobile broadband as "Broadband". The Post and Telecommunications Authority has defined what may be called "mobile broadband":

    "You should have seen a download speed of at least 640 kbps for the operator to be able to call the service "mobile broadband". The upload rate should be at least 128 kbps."

    (Source) [google.com]

    According to my tests, 640 kbps is hardly archived anywhere in Norway, and I guess it's pretty similar in the US.

  • by ThousandStars (556222) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:21PM (#27764573) Homepage
    Do not get ClearWire, if they're on your radar at the moment. I made the mistake and wrote about it here [jseliger.com].

    Be wary of some of the wireless providers, because they seem to impose even more restrictions on Internet usage than wired providers.

  • by JWSmythe (446288) * <jwsmytheNO@SPAMjwsmythe.com> on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:24PM (#27764589) Homepage Journal

        I had some good success with Verizon Wireless. Really, it depends on where you are , to how good the service will be. I've had better than 1Mb/s down while driving. Then again, I've had what felt like double digit bytes per seconds in not so great areas.

        After one move I had a problem. The DSL provider said they could service the house. We gave them two weeks notice to get the new line ready. They were "provisioning" it for 3 weeks, until they finally said they couldn't do it. {sigh}

        So we put in an order with the cable company. It took 2 weeks for the "install package" to come in, and 3 more days after I plugged it in for it to actually work. During that period, I had a PC with my Verizon Wireless air card up, and it acted as my NAT for the other computers. It wasn't a great area for cell service, because of the mountains. Even the wireless service was hit and miss. I swear, when it got windy, the service would go down. More likely, trees were blowing between my card and the tower, but I still blame the wind. :)

        I highly recommend getting a card that has a jack for an external antenna. It makes a HUGE difference in service quality. Check out evdoinfo.com [evdoinfo.com] for good information on the card offerings from Verizon and Sprint.

        The Verizon card gave me one thing that you can't get from a residential or business provider. I had my laptop running on a cross country drive, feeding telemetry (GPS data and video) to my web site, so friends and family could see what I saw and where I was. I got a call in the middle of the desert, asking if I was ok. I showed to be about 20 feet off the road, not moving, and facing desolate nothing. In reality, I was tired, pulled off into a rest area, parked the car facing away from the only building there, and was taking a nap. The rest area was new, so it didn't show on Google Maps yet, which is what I was using to show my location. I hadn't looked when I stopped, I just saw a place to sleep so I took it.

        I opened one eye enough to look at the screen, saw where I was on the map (100 miles from nowhere, parked 20 feet off the road), confirmed that's where I was, told them it's a rest area now, and went back to sleep. :) After a couple hours, I woke back up, checked my email, did a little online recon to see what was ahead (not a damned thing), and then started driving again.

        Sure there were some dead spots. My phone would drop, and the Internet connection would usually follow behind by about a minute. The card's antenna was suction cupped to the windshield, so it had a better signal than the phone. That was very intermittent though. Most of the time I had at least some sort of service. :)

  • I really didn't have anything too pleasant to report on my experience with mobile broadband. After a month I repackaged everything they sent me and mailed it back. I wouldn't recommend mobile broadband to anyone that wasnt, ... mobile, and in need of a connection just about anywhere at any time.

    First, I had very little success sharing a connection (and it was a violation of the TOS).

    Second, I encountered what I believe to have been a queue system on the cell towers hosting the service. (I was using
  • Cricket limitations (Score:2, Informative)

    by IronyChef (518287)
    Cricket Broadband FAQ [mycricket.com]:
    You cannot use the service:
    * As a router or web server
    * To initiate VOIP conversations
    * As a web hosting or email service
  • Having used this kind setup at two different locations, it is good for browsing and email, but streaming video is marginal at best, impossible at worst. If you are into S&M, you could run a server on it, but you would have to have some kind of dynamic DNS so the world could find you, and it would violate the contracts I have seen. Speed seems to be determined by signal strength, plus other network factors, like oversubscribing, but I can not say for sure. That is just a guess from watching the data rate
    • by kimvette (919543)

      If you are into S&M, you could run a server on it,

      I don't know what kind of service you run, but I have no idea what S&M has to do with an ISP. Maybe you're referring to bandwidth caps being analogous to anal rape?

  • I have Alltel data service as I live in a rural area where the only alternatives are 24-36Kbps dialup or 400-700k satellite. I pay about $60 per month and Alltel is "unlimited," however with the Verizon takeover I'm not sure how this will affect things. I typically get speeds between 400-800Kbps, but have gotten up to 1Mbps on occasion. If you want more information about the various services look at www.evdoforums.com. Note that like any wireless technology, the total bandwidth at the tower is shared by all

    • by adler187 (448837)

      Also, I forgot to mention my ping times are usually between 200-400ms, but can get up as high as 8000ms (yes 8 second ping times) under high load. I do live down in a valley and have no line of site to the tower and need a 15dB antenna to get decent signal.

  • I'm on a boat (Score:4, Informative)

    by kindbud (90044) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @05:47PM (#27764873) Homepage

    No really. I'm on a boat. I live aboard at the marina. Can't even get a POTS line, let alone DSL or FIOS or cable. But I have a very strong 3G signal at the docks, and even out in the Catalina channel.

    I've lived aboard my boat for the past 8 months with Verizon Wireless as my only internet access. I play Xbox360 games, EVE Online, and download songs and the occasional video from iTMS. It's got better performance than the WiFi ISP that covers the marina. They charge $40/month and rate limit to 1Mb/sec download. I usually get at least that, and often up to 2200kb/sec. Latency is OK, 100-200ms. Fast games do not seem to lag.

    I use the CradlePoint CTR-350 router on the boat, and carry a PHS-300 battery-powered hotspot with me on the commute to work which I use to listen to Pandora or surf the web on my iPod touch.

    I have a grandfathered unlimited data plan for $59.95 that I've been using for three years before moving onto my boat.

  • Fido is a cell phone service provider, here in Canada, and they called me asking whether I wanted their 3G USB dongle for my computer. It went along these lines:

    Fido: Sir we would like offer you a USB stick to allow 3G connectivity from your computer
    Me: Sounds interesting. How much is it?
    Fido: 30$ a month for 1GB
    Me: Do you think I'm crazy?

  • Can you get U-Verse as just internet -- no TV?

  • You said you would love to have FIOS, DOCSIS 3 should be rolling out for most systems this year, that will have the same speeds as FIOS.

    Mobile Broadband should be used for mobile devices, I hate the idea of people using mobile service as a home service it just makes the mobile experience suck for the rest of us.
    • by Jaqenn (996058)
      According to stopthecap.com's review of Time Warner Cable's recent earnings call, they do not currently have, nor have they ever had, immediate plans to implement DOCSIS 3 anywhere outside of New York, NY.

      http://stopthecap.com/2009/04/29/take-away-message-of-the-week-a-tale-of-two-companies/ [stopthecap.com]
      1. Time Warner's only firm plans for DOCSIS 3 upgrades were for New York, NY (a city that was never on the "experiment" list we note).
      2. Despite assurances that test cities would be getting upgrades as a result of the t
  • We are full time rv'ers that travel and work, we have 2 with Verizon, and they work great. But you do any audio, any video, and much photo, you will easily jump over the limit. And like cell phones, you do that, and your dropping a lot of money very quickly. I just did for work. I was earning money, so it's our cost of doing biz when I need it. But we travel and use wifi rv parks and business networks and coffee shops when we can, and our cards when we can't. We use macs, they work great, and except in th
  • my folks in Upstate NY have an ATT aircard because they cant get cable or dsl, and the dail-up connection was so slow that banking sites were timing out there browsing. According to ATT their house is supposed to be in a HIGH coverage area, for phone, data and 3G, but after using for a couple hours, I soon realized it was not. There are spots in the house, where the aircard would say it has a signal but not be able to transmit or receive anything. It would say that its connected at 3G speeds, but I dont thi
  • Do you already have a wireless phone with mobile dataplan? If so, you might be able to tether the device to a laptop if the phone uses a USB cable. I used to use it with my Motorola phone and laptop before switching to the iPhone. Since the iPhone I've had a company issued USB cell card for AT&T. Our cap is higher than 5GB a month (15GB I think), but it's really designed for business travellers who are checking Email, remoting in via VPN, and downloading power point presentations and word documents,

  • You actually got more than 5M of bandwidth out of Time Warner? There must have been an alternative carrier in your area.

  • Wimax is supposed to be available in a lot of places Real Soon Now, and it's definitely better than mobile broadband.

  • Read the ToS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by LinkX39 (1100879)
    A coworker of mine who lives in a rural area out of range from all the cable and DSL providers was looking into going with a mobile broadband solution. Knowing nothing about the topic he handed me a Kricket brochure and asked if it was a good deal, and it was a good thing for him that he did. His intentions were to set up a webcam in his backyard so he could watch the animals as they came out of the woods. With that in mind I scanned the brochure and happened upon their terms of use, which stated that the s
  • by RJFerret (1279530) on Wednesday April 29, 2009 @07:35PM (#27765993) Homepage

    I used my phone tethered exclusively for over a year and was satisfied.

    However I didn't do much with videos, just Second Life and streaming music there and the like.

    Download rates from DSLReports ran about 750 down at my tower (below average), if I drove down the highway I could get 1100 down from neighboring towers. I forget what the upload rate was, maybe 250ish?

    SL daily plus music streams was tons of data, but I had Sprint's unlimited plan.

    The only other issue was when it would reconnect, which happened fairly frequently and was only an interruption of a sec, but disrupted SL and would need a reload if a page was in the midst of loading. There were a couple outages impacting just my local tower, once for a week. However all outages still provided dialup speeds, only the EVDO was out.

    It was possible to watch streaming video if you let half the video download first.

    IMO the needs specified are greater than what EVDO will provide.

  • Earthlink has access to Time Warner's lines due to some legal magic, but from what I understand they do not have any caps nor do they plan to implement them. Same speeds or close to it, but without the bullshit.
  • I've yet to approach anything near Alltel's claims of 3 megabits down in places, but it does exist (I have friends who use it).

    They have no usage caps yet. Hopefully the Verizon merger won't change that.

  • I have unlimited mobile "broadband" in addition to cable. The mobile is fine for E-mail and web browsing and the occasional YouTube. Most of the time, it's actually very fast. But it just isn't quite as predictable as cable, and it is still a fraction of the speed at a much higher price.

  • when they wrote:

    ``I am about to be released from my contract with Time Warner for my home internet service''

    Sounds like "I'm about to be released from the Big House...".

  • Get the best bang for your buck. Set up a proxy (IPCop + Squid + SquidGuard). You'll block 95% of the ads and save on bandwidth from that and the proxying, plus you can track your bandwidth usage for yourself.

    Just make sure you can return the modem and cancel service with a full refund if the service is cruddy. MetroPCS' data service for the BlackBerry Curve 8330 was the worst. Horrible beyond compare, but they didn't have EVDO service, but even the service they had was horrible and spotty and would wor

  • I've got a 7.2Mb/384kbit wireless card as my main internet connection in Japan for about $50/month. I am a very heavy user (a few GB/day down is not unusual (all legal, no bit torrent etc.) and haven't noticed any problems except for the some latency issues when using facebook or what not. Note that it is still plenty fast to stream youtube/dailyshow etc.. without any major problems. It really depends on what unlimited means and the coverage in your area. Here unlimited seems to really mean unlimited. Thus
  • I work for an agency under DoD and have teleworkers who are out in the boonies. The sticking point for me is it's agin' the law to allow privately-owned hardware to connect to a gummint PC so what we do is recommend a Cradlepoint MBR-1000 aircard router.

    It's a great solution - and since we're inflicting bandwidth limits on our VPN solution an aircard talks as fast as a cable modem.

    Check the router out - we really like them.

    http://www.cradlepoint.com/products/mbr1000-failsafe-broadband-n-router [cradlepoint.com]

  • That and outgoing speeds. I've used a cellular data connection for my personal internet access at work for years. More as an experiment than because I'm worried about being snooped on. (And I'd just as soon not have to worry about clicking on a NSFW link and having that http request in the log.) For 2 years, I used EDGE and it was a bit better than surfing on a 56k modem. The incoming speed was ISDNish but the latency made the overall experience similar to a 56k modem. I've been using 3G for about a y

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