Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Broadband Blues

Since I live in motels for a major portion of the week, availability of broadband in said "home away from homes" is pretty important to me.

Many is the times I've been disappointed. Usually it's a problem with signal strength - the motel's owners put a WallyWorld wireless router in their office and called it good. Which is apparently the case tonight - while it's a secure network, I'm only getting one bar on my meter from the built in card in this laptop.

Ok, so I've got a backup. I carry a USB wireless stick that gets better reception. Only tonight, when I hook it up, the status light blinks about three times and quits. My 'puter recognizes the gadget, but it ain't workin.'

Well, crap. Normally, that would be it right there, unless I wanted to take my laptop outside in my underwear to get a better signal. No one wants that. While I'm an internet addict, I'm not willing to go that far.

But, things have changed. I've got a Droid 2 and it can be tethered. Verizon wants another $20 a month to use it as such.

Say what? I'm paying for an unlimited smartphone data plan that I can't access?

Enter PdaNet. The download is free, but you can't go to a secure site with the free version - so Gmail, or Google Reader, or dowloading email from my ISP's server ain't gonna happen. Unless I pop for the full version - which was supposedly somewhere around $25. They had a special and I got it for $17.95, if memory serves.

Works pretty stinking good, too. I've noticed the charging really can't keep up with the battery drain - so a long session really pulls the it down. I've read some reviews about how hot the phone gets as well - and that is a tethering issue period and has nothing to do with anything PdaNet does. This phone warms up, but not enough to make me worry.

So, if you've got an Android phone, I heartily recommend PdaNet. It doesn't support bluetooth tethering, but neither does the Verizon setup.

I can still get my fix!


drjim said...

I bought a Virgin Mobile USB stick that lets me access the Sprint data network. It's neat because it's pay-as-you-go, with NO contract.
So far I've been amazed by the speeds I've gotten when I've used it.

Anonymous said...

I have a Buffalo card in my laptop, with an external antenna. Amazing what a difference in signal strength that antenna makes.

Lisa Paul said...

Okay, I lost my morning coffee at "Wally World Wireless Router".