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The Technopolis columnist writes glowingly of service from a train: He was able to get exquisite performance from Los Angeles up to Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County. Near Oxnard, he writes, he saw 1.35 Mbps, a trip peak. His overall speeds were quite remarkable.
The NY Times reports on the use of the Junxion box, which relays 2.5G and 3G cell access to Wi-Fi and Ethernet: Junxion turns a cellular data card into a roving hotspot through a portable box that can be powered by AC and by a car adapter. It also has an Ethernet port. The idea is simple and a few companies sell products or services based on this notion.
I wrote about the Junxion box at its launch for The Seattle Times just over a year ago, and Verizon Wireless said then, “Cheryl Noti, associate director of data development….said the company would probably consider shared usage a violation of terms of service, which could result in a customer warning or account cancellation.”
Today: ” ‘The premise is one person buys an air card and one person uses the service, not an entire neighborhood,’ said Jeffrey Nelson, executive director for corporate communications at Verizon Wireless. ‘Giving things away for free doesn’t work anymore. It never did.’ ” Cingular, by contrast, is interested in the product and may approve its use.
Verizon Wireless has been telling its subscribers for some time that it owns their data behavior, and this kind of response means that they’re more concerned about keeping their spectrum at a lower utilization factor than they are about competing effectively with emerging metropolitan wireless and hotzone wireless options.
Verizon Wireless has loaned me a card to test, and I like it: For some reason, many of my readers think that I’m opposed to 3G cellular and that I think it won’t work. Not at all! 3G is terrific, but cell operators in the US face two problems. First, the technology that’s being widely deployed, EVDO, is highly asymmetric, meaning that 3G is really about pulling stuff down to your phone or computer rather than pushing (photos, spreadsheets, etc.).
The upstream side is about 50 to 100 Kbps; downstream 200 to 400 Kbps with peaks to 1 Mbps. The other problem? Spectrum scarcity. You need more spectrum to be successful with 3G because if a lot of people want it, the existing carriers will be hard pressed to find enough space to support it.
In my first day of testing, I’m overjoyed. The software installed on my eMachines laptop with built-in Wi-Fi (Broadcom mini-PCI) without a hitch, and asked me if I wanted it to manage Wi-Fi, too. I did, and it’s working perfectly. I’ve had much worse luck with this laptop in managing cards and other drivers, so this was a nice surprise.
Second nice surprise is that in my concrete bunker, a temporary office literally across a road from a cement companies truck-cleaning yard, I’m getting very high signal strength and performance.
Third nice surprise is that I used Windows XP’s networking features to share the Verizon EVDO to my local Ethernet, and my desktop Mac is nicely using the same connection as my laptop PC.
Would I pay $80 per month for it? We’ll see how that price evolves with Sprint PCS entering the market at a similar price ($40 to $90 for metered with $90 as the cap, $80 per month unlimited).
Sprint will offer 3G services to cell customers: Their EV-DO service will launch this month and hit half the US population by the end of 2005, the Wall Street Journal reports. Services will cost $40 to $90 per year and include streaming video as an option like Verizon’s Vcast. Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Miami are five cities that the Journal listed among the first to get Sprint EV-DO.