Wireless Broadband for the Common People Like Me


The best is still surfing at wi-fi hotpost, Starbucks etc. Even kedai mamak and McDonald's one. No problem there even though there might not be much privacy. Nowadays, even hotel lounges charge for broadband use. So what's next?

Personally I use my E71, boot up a program called WalkingHotspot. It will turn my phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot and I can hook up to 5 devices onto it wirelessly. So if I go out on a holidays with my family, I can use my MacBook while my wife and Idlan can use the other laptop. I also use it at home because the stability of the connection and the fact that Streamyx can be really slow at times where I live. The main drawback is you need to have the phone charger with you since it drains the juice. There is also the problem with latency! So if you are into online gaming, it can cause slower reaction time.

When I used my Dopod, I turned the unit into a Bluetooth Local Network. It can only hook up to one device. The connection is a bit slower as it depends very much on how fast your Bluetooth ship is. On both cases, the connection speed depends on the GSM signal speed to your phone. Using my E71, using 3G netwook, the connection goes up to 45kB/s, which is pretty decent. No problem watching Youtube on that speed. EDGE goes at around 15kB/s. If you have a stable HSPDA signal, it can go up to 120kB/s. When I was on holidays in Kota Bharu, I was getting downloads at 350kB/s. That's screaming! I you want to test your connection speed, click here.

What seems like the in thing at the moment is WiMax. Certainly in Silicon Valley, the technology using microwave essentially - no you can't fry your egg with it - there are concerns about slow adaption of this technology. Other newer technology are catching up fast. The main drawback is the cost on it's basic infrastructure. Once the antennas are up, you're blazing. The technology is basically based on a base station spouting out microwave signals. Then you have a capture device, similar to an ADSL modem inside your home. This device will translate the signal and hook up into either a router or straight into your computer's dataport. Since the technology is directional, the receiver needs to be pointed towards the emitter  antenna.

There is also a mobile device that goes straight into your Laptop USB port that will capture the signal and feed it directly into your computer. This is the main selling point to this technology. The advantage, connection speed is faster than 3G mobile modem. Drawback, you have to be in an area where the service is available, re, mainly in Lembah Kelang.

In Malaysia, there are 4 companies that are licensed to provide this technology. The familiar one is Pocket One Networks or P1 W1MAX by Green Packet Berhad. Other players are YTL with Y-max. The other two are Asiaspace (AMAX) and REDtone-CNX, most likely going to be made available in Sabah and Sarawak. At the moment, I am very happy with my E71 connection and will probably stick to it.

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