Posts Tagged wifi

If the iPad can do this stuff, I’ll buy it

So the 3G version of the iPad (announced Wednesday) is still three months away, but I already have some expectations that, if met, would cause me to fork over $630 for the sucker…these expectations are realistic technology-wise, though I’m pretty sure they would require a jailbreak to get working…

1. SIP VoIP, over 3G and WiFi, with Bluetooth and in the background
I’ve successfully run phone calls over AT&T’s HSPA network, so assuming the processor on the iPad is “all that” this shouldn’t be difficult. If I can get a SIP client that connects to a Bluetooth headset and allows other applications “up front” without killing voice quality then I’ve got a very versatile system for nformation gathering while “on the phone.” This is particularly useful when you see my other requests below:

2. Full-fledged RDP, SSH and VNC clients…and either GoToMyPC or LogMeIn if at all possible
The iPad can be an excellent remote access tool; its screen has enough resolution to run any modern OS without having to scroll around. Add in the keyboard accessory and you’ve got a lovely little remote terminal that works anywhere AT&T has service (I’m talking about the 3G version here). Or any other non-AWS GSM or 3G carrier for that matter; the device is unlocked. SSH would be a godsend for doing command line heavy lifting, though you’d need a host to SSH to in this case (not a big deal for me). Even nicer, all of the above will likely be available for the iPad as App Store apps; no jailbreaking required.

3. A high-quality PDF viewer
I want a PDF viewer that can search and copy text, preferably at least as good as Preview. Yes, Preview can be outdone with PDFs…it’s not the most compatible piece of PDF reader in the world unfortunately. Read the rest of this entry »

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My experience with GVTC

So I’m headed down to South Padre Island for some downtime with the family before Christmas. We made a pit stop at the Flagstop CafĂ© and my mom noticed that there was a big sign in the window advertising the availability of WiFi.

So naturally I pulled out my HTC Touch Pro, which has WiFi, to see what network they were running on. After registering for an account on the hotspot provider (Less Networks, never heard of them) I checked to see who I was on. Sure enough, the connection there was GVTC, registered as “Guadalupe Valley Telephone”. Right before we pulled out of the place I opened up my laptop, logged into the WiFi network that way and did some tests. Read the rest of this entry »

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WiFindings, August 10th

Just came home from HEB in town. Decided to open up iStumbler shortly after embarking. Didn’t see a whole lot of consumer wireless networks, but wasn’t particularly looking for them. I did, however, see a good portion of the SSIDs of my ISP, Bee Creek Communications. So in about ten minutes I gathered information on five different towers, with eleven different discrete SSIDs. I know I’m missing one or two, but that’s all my laptop (a white MacBook, nothing special) picked up. You’ll probably see most posts about this later as I get back into wardriving (though I don’t actually connect to these networks…just drive by them).

So below are the APs my computer “saw”, along with their channels. To my knowledge, all SSIDs of similar naming (e.g. North Fbg. A and D) are on the same tower, just on different radios/antennas. Also, to my knowledge my provider only uses 20 MHz channels to deploy its service, rather than economizing on spectrum by using smaller bandwidths. So if they’re broadcasting on channel 1 (this is all 2.4 GHz stuff) then channels 1-4 are all at least partially occupied. See this diagram for more details.

SSID – Channel
Hayden Ranch – 9
Hospital A – 9
Hospital B – 7
Grapetown – 11
Grapetown B – 2
Morris Ranch – 3
Morris Ranch B – 7
North Fbg. A – 7
North Fbg. B – 1
North Fbg. C – 11
North Fbg. D – 4

Note that on the North Fbg. tower all frequencies are used in the 2.4 GHz band. Not the best use of spectrum, I’d say…

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As It Turns Out, HughesNet Is Horrible, Rest Stop Edition

I pity him, to think how, with no man to care for him, and seeing no companion’s face, suffering, lonely evermore, he is vexed by fierce disease satellite internet service, and bewildered by each want his ire as it arises. – Chorus, Philoctetes The Man With HughesNet, a Greek tragedy

Okay, so maybe not everyone using HughesNet is suffering, always lonely, is stuck on a deserted island and has a bunch of people in the background chanting about his doom. Still, the plight of someone on HughesNet these days can’t be overstated by much. Hence the excerpt from a play that I acted in my sophomore year in high school. Four years later, I had to Google it to make sure I got it word for word, but I was close enough to find the passage.

What does this have to do with my short, albeit rather painful, experience with HughesNet? Not much, other than the painful part. In fact, the rest stop west of Eden, TX, while remote, is quite different than a deserted island. For one thing, the structure on which the internet satellite dish was purched was well-maintained. Second, US-87 runs by said rest stop. Third, the Texas Department of Transportation instituted the free wireless hotspot as a public safety measure, seeing as how some carriers’ cell phones (ahem, Sprint…ever heard of roaming on Five Star Wireless in the Eden area?) just flat out don’t work around those parts. Of course, you can’t use any sort of voice communication technology over HughesNet, but I suppose that’s beside the point. Still better than a deserted island with vipers and no free public WiFi, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

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All AT&T, All The Time

I must say, AT&T has been active and\or in the news lately…

Starting off with the wireless division, we see the iPhone getting a few new laurels to rest on. It has snagged the top spot for most sold US wireless phone this quarter from the Motorola Razr, and also appears to be 2X the reliability of BlackBerries and nearly 3X the reliability of Treos. AT&T has also opened up free AT&T WiFi access to iPhone and other smartphone users. This is particularly cool since the company also bought up hotspot operator Wayport right around ten minutes ago.

Last but not least, 1.1 million customers and a lot of spectrum, towers and other such infrsatructure got traded for a cool $944 million in AT&T’s buyout of Centennial Communications, yet another regional GSM carrier to fall under AT&T’s sway.

UPDATE: Looks like AT&T will be allowing iPhone tethering…for $30 on top of your regular data plan. The transfer limit is 5 GB with this option, and if you’re thinking that the total data cost is equal to that of a dedicated modem, you’re abso-freaking-lutely correct. Ripoff? Yes, but I suspect people will bite. Though Sprint’s network is generally faster, and tethering is only $15 on top of a data plan, which is also $30 on top of a voice plan but also includes everything from navigation to text messaging.

Speaking of WiFi, you get that free with most AT&T DSL/U-Verse plans. Which may be capped. The monthly transfer caps are as follows:

$10-$20, 768K, 20GB (DSL only)
$25-$32, 1.5M, 40GB
$30-$36, 3M, 60GB
$35-$43, 6M, 80GB
$55, 10M, 150GB (U-Verse only)

The caps are a bit biased speed-wise toward the lower-end tiers, but of course cost-per-GB-wise toward the higher tiers. Overages will be $1 per GB. The caps are squarely between Time Warner Cable’s proposed 5-40 GB limits and Comcast’s 250 GB cap. What’s funny about this is that AT&T hs plenty of backbone infrastructure, especially with U-Verse, to allow everyone to download as much as they want. Of coursse, business-class users won’t see these caps, but users in the Reno, NV test market already are, or they’re being grandfathered in at 150GB per month. What’s unnerving is the result if you only qualify for a lower-speed DSL connection due to distance from the CO: low caps, high overages.

Speaking of U-Verse, AT&T has introduced an 18 Mbps tier (1.5 Mbps upload) for $10 more than the 10/1.5 Mbps one, or $65 per month, though people have reported that they’ve gotten better deals by calling AT&T to upgrade. The caveat: the U-Verse service has to share bandwidth with any TV that’s running, and the shared pipe is only 25 Mbit/s wide downstream and 2 Mbit/s upstream. This “profile” is due to the fact that VDSL (the tech upon which U-Verse is based) drops off quickly speed-wise as distance from the VRAD (fiber-fed DSL terminal) increases. The result: if you’re watching TV, you get 14-15 Mbps internet speeds instead of 18 Mbps, though TV quality doesn’t degrade while the internet is being used. No word on caps on this tier; let’s hope they’re to the tune of 250GB…competitors are sure to deploy DOCSIS 3 in response to this new U-Verse tier, and Comcast‘s caps are well above AT&T’s proposed ones.

Last but not least, AT&T is trying to create a video search engine (!?!) in partnership with a startup by the name of Divvio. Once can’t but think that this new service, dubbed Videocrawler, will be a nice tool for chewing up your gigabytes once caps are in place. Why I oughta…

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