You might wonder why I'm posting again so soon after that twelve-post blogging marathon at Hot Chips. Well, I got a new gizmo last night and I just had to write about it.
Two years ago yesterday, I bought a Sierra Wireless
When I upgraded to a
I decided to take a different route to getting the MBP on the Internet. I bought a
Just make sure the phone is on, leave it in the briefcase or set it on the table, and click to connect! That was the dream.
The reality was that good, some of the time. Not so good most of the time. The phone seemed to be fine, but the Bluetooth connection would die sort of randomly. Also, the phone battery would last only 30 minutes or so in this mode, so for longer sessions I had to tether it to the MBP with the USB charging cable anyway.
I used the 8525 anyway from November until yesterday when I was able to upgrade the AirCard. I got the Option
And I'm using it now.
$174 out of pocket for the card plus tax and a $18 upgrade fee that'll show up on my bill. I'll get $100 of that back from a mail-in rebate. I'm committed to a 2-year extension of the data subscription, but that's cool. It's come in really handy over the last two years.
Yeah, the Option card sticks out a couple of inches, so I can't leave it in there when I put the machine away. I'll live. (The AirCard has a little wire antenna with a double hinge, so it was pretty convenient in that respect; I could just fold it back against the bottom or top of the machine before slipping the PowerBook or tablet into my briefcase.)
It's affordable, reliable, and doesn't have a separate battery to manage. What else matters?
Oh, yeah, performance. Here's what happened when I visited speedtest.net:
And that's with only three out of six bars of signal, according to the software. I'll update this when I get a chance to test it somewhere with full signal strength. (Under ideal conditions, the AirCard could touch 2 Mbits/s.) In the meantime, count me among the satisfied customers.
[A quick update the next morning-- that first session, during which I wrote this blog entry, ran a little less than two hours before the connection dropped. I reconnected and left the machine on all night; the Option card stayed connected. This morning, after going into the office (transporting the system with the card removed), the card wouldn't connect at all until I removed and reinstalled it; presumably something failed to initialize properly the first time. That wasted a few minutes, but it's been working fine since then. Signal strength is about the same here as at home, and so is the performance. Still satisfied.]