Nextel Wireless Broadband Part II: Speed

After a full week of having my Nextel Wireless Broadband service and card, I must
say that so far I’m currently a very happy customer. The coverage within the coverage
area that I have traveled is excellent. I have found that in some large buildings
the signal is unavailable, but so far this has been rare. In an unplanned experiment
on Friday I used the service to listen to the live .Net Rocks broadcast while traveling
about 20 miles. The coverage during the trip was solid and I never a missed a minute
of Rory and Carl’s interview of the Channel9 team.

 

[It should be noted, that Nextel and Flarion do a great job
and make very clear that this device, as with other mobile devices such as cell phones
is not designed for user while driving and should only be used when it is safe to
do so. In my case, my Tablet PC sitting on the seat next to me acted like a radio
without any need for direct attention. Be safe with your mobile devices!]

 

I have been very impressed with the speed of the device. I seem to typically see speeds
of around 900kbps with bursts higher. In areas with very low signal the speed has
dropped down into the 400-500 range, which is still faster than many other wireless
services. Top speeds have been in excess of 1mbs, and for much of the week has actually
been better than the performance of my cable modem, which despite marketing claims
of now being twice as fast, has been performing pretty poorly the lately.

 

Overall I think this product is a great solution. I understand that Nextel is still
investigating other wireless technologies before committing to building a national
network, but if this is the minimum we have to look forward to, the future of wireless
broadband is extremely exciting.

 

If there are any other software developers out there looking at targeting this type
of mobile platform, drop me a note. I think this is a great area of opportunity for
field service, real estate, other industries on the go.

Nextel Wireless Broadband: Have Network, Will Travel

Today I received and installed my cT-1000 Nextel
Wireless Broadband
PC Card. The hardware is manufactured by Flarion.
Nextel and Flarion launched a trial in the Raleigh-Durham area back in February and
have been expanding the coverage in the triangle area as the trial has continued.
The trial appears to have been called
a success
as Nextel is now offering the product to the public.

 

Nextel is currently offering plans ranging
from $34.99 to $74.99 depending on usage and speed requirements. Download speeds range
from 750kbps to 1.5mbps with bursts up to 3mbps possible. Packages also provide private
or dynamic-public IP addresses with static IP addresses available for a small fee
($10.00). The hardware is currently being offered for $50 (Regular $199) until June
30th.

 

I think there is great potential in this product for mobile users that move within
the RTP area. While being marketed as “Cable-speed without cables”, the result of
bandwidth and mobility greatly increases the possibilities for mobile applications.
This modem in a TabletPC creates and extremely versatile and well connected platform
for software developers.

 

The setup in my Toshiba M200 went extremely well. In fact, compared to devices I have
installed from other manufacturers, this was amazing simply. The process was to insert
an auto-starting CD, click next 3 or 4 times, agree to run unsigned code (Which is
something in this day and age I think they should correct and instructions should
not tell you to ignore those warnings. Get your drivers signed!) and then insert the
PCMCIA card. I was connected. Plain and simple.

 

I haven’t had much of a chance yet to test the speed and coverage in
the area, but I’ll report back when I do.

It’s a community, it’s a blog, it’s a coBLommOGunity!

Actually, I
really don’t how to describe it in  a
word, but it’s pretty nifty. I’m talking about the new Channel9
site from Microsoft
.



 

The main choices
are:



 

Echo
Chamber
 A place
where the Channel9 folks get to speak through posts on wide ranging subjects



 

Videos Described
with
Next
time your manager comes to you and tells you that you’re going to be filming amateur
videos, run, run hard and don’t look back.
and
while not flashy, provide some good insight. I think it’s great that the people
making these great products have a way to share and at times explain or set the record
straight.
>



 

Who
We Are
– Those responsible for this content.



 

Moblog
Photos from inside.



 

Wiki The
user editable website



 

Forums
A place where in traditional forum style conversations take place ranging from introductions
to discussions on content and technology.



 

There are RSS
feeds everywhere which Robert
Scoble said
that they were even going to list for us all in one place! (He’s also
got a number of links to much more comments about the site, good and bad) User profiles
provide a basic sharing of interests and information while the “Avatar”
images give us a personality.



 

I need to go
play some more, but I thought I would share. Check it out!

April TRNUG Meeting Review: Indigo

This months guest speaker was Doug Turnure,
Developer Evangelist, Microsoft and shared a great look at the “Vision” of Indigo
and how we’ve moved from the start of object oriented programming to the service oriented
models that are being put in place today. With the builds in flux as they are since
PDC, Doug was unable to show us any live code, but it sounds like the Indigo team
is on top of things. There was some good insight into the importance of standards
and why Microsoft was waiting on some of them. (Microsoft waiting for standards? Haven’t
written that much in the past, but I think it’s a great sign)

Some key points on Indigo:

Services Are Autonomous

Boundaries are explicit

Share schema, not class

Policy-based compatibility

If any of you know Doug, check with him next time you see him and verify if he really
encrypted the notes he passed to the girls in school so the teacher wouldn’t read
them out loud and embarrass him!

It was a great presentation we look forward to seeing Doug back in the Triangle soon.

NOTE – The next MSDN event in Raleigh is on May 4th!

An audio replay of the WSV203 session from PDC that Doug referenced is available here and
the powerpoint slides are available here.
(If you’re interested, all the PDC sessions are available here)

April Fools Week?

Well what a week it has been. Google is going to give away free email with a gigabyte
(Or was that a Googlebyte?) of storage, Sun and Microsoft have put aside their differences
and reached a 2 billion dollar “framework for industry cooperation”, the
charter yacht company that is supply the boat for our May trip to the British Virgin
Islands went out of business, and I’ve been just swamped with work. Don’t
you just love it when projects overlap like waves and the workload just gets higher
and higher, and the world around you seems further and further away? Anyways, I am
glad it’s the end of another Friday and I can look back at what this all means.

If only I could do the Bill Gates “Think Week” to gain perspective. What
would be my key topics for the year?

  • Connectivity – As the availability of wide spread,
    near constant network connectivity increases that applications and advantages.
  • Mobile Devices – To use this network anywhere,
    you must have a device that you can use anywhere. From Tablet PC’s to Pocket
    PC’s and smart phones, there are some cool applications just waiting to be written.
  • Developer Productivity – And to take advantage
    of the above the whole “Do more with less” slogan becomes a fact of life
    as we’re all tasking with making more of these things happen quicker. [This
    is the category that would include RSS]
  • And in all fairness to Bill,
    yes security is a must
    . Or as Steve Ballmer would probably say, “it’s
    a must, must, must, must, must, must…”

Now back to Google and Sun. A gig of space? That’s just insane! You would need
to google it just to find anything! And should we really be ok with the potential
of such content being categorized for us? Or having adds displayed based on the content?
If they could somehow perform a Googlekill on incoming spam it might be worth while.

As for the announcement
by Sun and Microsoft,
good for them. I think it’s great for the customer to have two companies of
their size say let’s cut the crap and get some work done. In the end, isn’t
that what’s going to make a difference in the world of technology. Not lawyers
and government regulators, but technical innovation that also has the potential to
bring financial rewards.

Bring on the weekend!

PS – As for the BVI trip, we’ve been able to rebook through an alternate agency so
all is well.