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EV-DO card saves the day (for now)

With my motel's Wi-Fi spotty at best, the EV-DO card I have with me is letting me get online.

TEMPE, Ariz.--One of the things I've found on my Road Trip around the Southwest, and on plenty of previous travels, is that motels are a terrific place to get a good, free Wi-Fi signal.

Most often, motels provide better Wi-Fi than pricey hotels, and that's something I've been railing away at for some time, hoping that I can make a small dent in those establishments' arrogance towards their paying customers.

So when I pulled into this city just south of Phoenix Sunday night, I was pleased, but not surprised, to discover that my room would have Wi-Fi.

Yet, after nearly a day of trying to use it, I can say that it's spotty at best. It goes in and out. I'll be using it and suddenly it will disappear. Not an unfamiliar experience for anyone who uses Wi-Fi away from home or the office, of course, but frustrating as I was trying to get some work done.

Fortunately, I'm carrying a Verizon Wireless V740 ExpressCard--an EV-DO card--with me. This little wonder is the first device I've used to access the Internet via cell networks, and it's been great.

The EV-DO card Verizon Wireless lent me for the Road Trip is providing a helpful alternative to Wi-Fi Daniel Terdiman/CNET

For sure, it's not new technology, but this card is the latest and greatest. It lets you access the Internet at the highest speed possible given the cell access you have. If you're in an area with full EV access, then it's nice and speedy. If it's just the 1X network, then you have slower speeds, but at least you can get on.

Most of the time, that is. As I was sitting here trying to write this blog entry, the service seemed to go in and out. I'm not sure why that is, but it was a little frustrating.

Still, it's mostly working right now, and I have to say, it is a pleasure to know that I can get online independent of a Wi-Fi signal, and at whatever speed is available. If it's slow, I'll just send and receive email. And if I'm outside of a city, that's really all I should expect.

But if it's the full-speed service, it's wonderful, and frees me up to go wherever I want.

Now, of course, many people have been using this technology for some time, so I'm a little late to the party. But better late than never, as they say.