NY Times’ Pogue:  What’s the holdup on universal wireless Internet?

“Someday, we’ll tell our grandchildren how we had to drive around town looking for a coffee shop when we needed to get online, and they’ll laugh their heads off,” David Pogue writes for The New York Times. “Every building in America has running water, electricity and ventilation; what’s the holdup on universal wireless Internet?”

“Getting online isn’t impossible, but today’s options are deeply flawed. Most of them involve sitting rooted in one spot — in the coffee shop or library, for example,” Pogue writes.

“If you want to get online while you’re on the move, in fact, you’ve had only one option: buy one of those $60-a-month cellular modems from Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile or AT&T. The speed isn’t exactly cable-modem speed, but it’s close enough. You can get a card-slot version, which has a nasty little antenna protuberance, or a U.S.B.-stick version, which cries out to be snapped off by a passing flight attendant’s beverage cart,” Pogue writes. “A few laptops have this cellular modem built in, which is less awkward but still drains the battery with gusto.”

Pogue writes, “But imagine if you could get online anywhere you liked — in a taxi, on the beach, in a hotel with disgustingly overpriced Wi-Fi — without messing around with cellular modems. What if you had a personal Wi-Fi bubble, a private hot spot, that followed you everywhere you go?”

Pogue explains, “Incredibly, there is such a thing. It’s the Novatel MiFi 2200, available from Verizon starting in mid-May ($100 with two-year contract, after rebate)… In essence, the MiFi converts that cellular Internet signal into an umbrella of Wi-Fi coverage that up to five people can share… You’re spared the plug-and-unplug ritual of cellular modems. You can leave the MiFi in your pocket, purse or laptop bag; whenever you fire up your laptop, netbook, Wi-Fi camera or game gadget, or wake up your iPhone or iPod Touch, you’re online.”

Full article here.

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