Mobile Broadband Options
Number of metro
Laptop data plan
EV-DO (A and O)
HP, Dell, Lenovo
HP, Dell, Sony
Mobile Broadband Connect
HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba
Data Connect $20-$60
5MB to 5GB; Unlimited for
Usage limits iPhone users only
No. of PC Card modems 4 from $50 to $100
EV-DO – Evolution Data Optimized. It comes in two different versions, Revision O (slower) and A.
EDGE -- Enhanced Data for Global Evolution
HSDPA – High Speed Download Packet Access
Total Internet for Data
Broadband Access $60
6 from $50 to $100
Only on eBay
4 from free to $150
BASELINE APRIL 2008
3 Use your PDA or smart phone for
your broadband connection.
If all else fails, you can use your phone’s
broadband radio and either a Bluetooth
or cabled connection to link your
laptop to the Internet. However, this
isn’t as simple as it sounds.
Some carriers try their best to discourage you from doing this and make
you purchase a different kind of data
plan that meters your monthly megabytes. There is a software program
called PDA.net ( www.junefabrics.com)
that will let you work around this
for some Windows Mobile and Palm
As for the carriers, Verizon does the
best job of partnering with laptop vendors and offers the simplest plan, but
its network is the slowest of the four
major players. T-Mobile wants you to
buy a phone and connect that way, but
it offers a real bargain when it comes
to using both Wi-Fi and mobile broadband connections.
AT&T sells three plans, one that
offers barely any data usage (only 5MB
a month), another that is still somewhat
stingy at 5GB a month and an unlimited
plan for iPhone users only.
broadband and figure out which plan
makes the most sense for you:
BUY A NEW LAPTOP FROM DELL OR HP
with the optional high-speed modem
card included if you’re going to make
mobile broadband your computing
lifestyle. If you already own a newer
laptop, check to see if a broadband
modem card is available for your wireless carrier.
NOT USING A WINDOWS LAPTOP? Then
you’re better off getting one of the
plans that allow you to connect your
PDA or smart phone to your laptop.
Or you can buy the Sierra PC 5220 PC
Card modem (if your laptop has a PC
Card slot), since it works with both
Mac OS and Linux. Mac users can also
try the Kyocera KPC650 card.
UPDATE YOUR PHONE’S ROAMING LIST.
Carriers that use multiple high-speed
broadband networks like AT&T and
Sprint don’t make it easy for you. If you
use your phone for data access, it may
still be connecting on the slower network. You need to update the preferred
roaming list (PRL).
As the carriers continue to build out
faster networks, consider doing a PRL
update every couple of months. If you
need help doing this on your phone,
call your carrier’s customer service.
COVERAGE MAPS. Check out
Evdomaps.com for coverage compari-
sons of Verizon and Sprint networks.
They claim to give you actual speeds
experienced by users, but take this
advice with a few grains of salt.
T-MOBILE ISSUES. T-Mobile seems
to be moving away from supporting
laptop users. Once upon a time, the
carrier offered and supported the Sony
Ericsson GC79 PC Card, but now the
only place to buy that card is on eBay.
The company is investing in the higher-speed HSDPA network in Europe and
will eventually get around to upgrading
its U.S. networks.
On its Web site, T-Mobile offers
four smart phones that support mobile
broadband, and if you use its network,
those phones are worth considering. If
you still need Wi-Fi coverage, take a
look at T-Mobile’s unlimited Internet
access on mobile broadband and at any
of their Wi-Fi hot spots around the
world at no additional charge.
AT&T and Verizon also have combination plans, but they charge for the
additional coverage. 3
Tips for Travelers
Still not sure what to do? Here are a few
tips to get the most out of your mobile
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