One of the greatest inventions for my new seventeen inch Mac Book Pro — new Mac Book Pro 17-inch LCD review coming soon — is my new Option GT Ultra Express modem from at&t that allows me to go “3G Wireless” and have fast internet connectivity the world over.
Yes, I have a fast DSL line I use for work, but as our recent East Coat melting made clear, you cannot predict the terms or conditions of the weather and its effect on your local electric grid.
With my Mac Book Pro laptops — and their delicious, yet hardly-used-for-anything-useful, “Express Card” slots — the Option GT Ultra Express modem is a perfect fit for staying in touch in the USA on the at&t network.
If I go abroad, my 3G modem will still work and connect me to the web. If my local power dies in the USA, I whip out the 3G modem and I’m good to go.
at&t presently offers several discounts and cash back incentives for purchasing the Option GT Ultra Express.
With a two-year contract, my modem was $49.00USD instead of $300.00USD and I pay $60 a month for 5 gigs of data traffic transmission. I pay my own way. I bought my modem and I pay the monthly fee. I get no favors or discounts from at&t or any other entity. I am writing this review because I enjoy the product and I want you to know about these solutions and opportunities.
Now 5 gigs may not sound like much — but for my limited plans for usage — it’s fine because it isn’t intended to be an “always on” internet solution.
If I did my math right, and if I use 166MB of traffic a day, I’m well within my usage plan and that’s plenty for me.
In a three hour tour of heavy use — downloading music, watching video and publishing web pages and working with FTP — I used around 79MB over 3.5 hours on the 3G network.
Beware the days of “all you can eat for one price” on the internet are coming to a close and that includes cable modems and DSL.
All broadband connections are expensive for ISPs to provide and we will soon be going back in time a decade or so when we had metered internet access.
AT&T also said Thursday that limits on heavy use were inevitable and that it was considering pricing based on data volume.
“Based on current trends, total bandwidth in the AT&T network will increase by four times over the next three years,” the company said in a statement.
Internet metering is a throwback to the days of dial-up service, but at a time when video and interactive games are becoming popular, the experiments could have huge implications for the future of the Web.
Metered internet brings back the bad-old-memories of paying a penny per minute for my ISDN line and, if I really wanted to go fast, I could combine both sides of my ISDN line to go twice as fast… for two cents a minute! Those were the incredibly fast days of “fast on, fast surf, faster off…”
3G on at&t is also the new connectivity speed standard for the new iPhone 2.0. Since at&t will not presently let you use your iPhone as a tethered internet modem for your laptop, you need to buy a 3G modem and a data plan if you want 3G access on your laptop.
Here are the 3G (HSDPA) speeds you can expect:
Expected HSDPA download speeds of 600 Kbps – 1.4 Mbps
Expected HSDPA upload speeds of 500-800 Kbps
Compared to the current — and truly awful at&t EDGE internet access —
Expected EDGE download speeds of 70-135 Kbp
— you can see how much better 3G is in every way.
Having that sort of internet connectivity in a regional emergency provides tremendous peace of mind and its everyday convenience is unparalleled.
Now, when I travel on a train or airplane, or when I’m stuck in a meeting or waiting to meet someone, I can fire up my new wireless modem and have a surprisingly fast internet connection. My 3G connection feels, and reacts, as fast as my 3MB DSL line.
In my local testing over the last week, I was able to pull download speeds between 1,271 kbps and 1600 kbps and upload speeds between 489 kbps and 940 kpbs.
Those speed tests were done in a basement surrounded by bedrock with a single window available for emergency egress and a “single bar” of connectivity.
The higher connectivity speeds were accomplished by spending an extra $75.00 to purchase “launch2et
” — special modem software for wireless connectivity.
I recommend launch2net for anyone trying to get a good and reliable — and simple! — solution for any 3G wireless device to work with your Mac. Pay for the product like I did! Don’t install launch2net and then take the coward’s way out.
The mobile world is changing! We’re getting faster in the USA and we’re going to owe a dearer price for the privilege of getting there quicker by paying more for the transport.