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Sree's Thoughts on Connecting Wirelessly to Internet
Thursday, Oct 3, 2002

I am writing this sentence in a taxi en route to LaGuardia airport.

I am writing this sentence a week later, on my laptop, in the office.

What's going on here? I have been testing out Sprint's PCS Connection Card, a high-speed wireless connection to the Internet . And I typed that first sentence on a laptop in a cab on my way to Boston. I was even able to keep working while waiting at the gate for the plane and then once inside (and before we left the gate), I was able to stay online until the cabin doors were closed. I downloaded several documents from the Web, allowing me to get some important work done. If not for the card, I would have been reading a magazine, waiting impatiently to get to a place I could go online.

That's what the Sprint card does, it allows almost any place to be a place I can go online. And it's very liberating.

The product is basically a credit card-sized card that you slip into the slot of your laptop and then it acts almost like a cellphone, connecting you to the Internet through Sprint's network. Naturally, you are restricted to wherever Sprint has coverage, but in a couple of weeks of testing in two cities, I rarely had problems getting access. In fact, I had few of the usual problems cellphone users do of "dropped calls." The card, which is made by Novatel Wireless, allows you to "dialup" at higher speeds that a regular modem and much faster than any data connection you might have tried with a cellphone. Sprint says its new "3G" network supports data transmission speeds averaging 50 to 70 kbps, with peak speeds of 144 kbps.

Now that I have told you I liked how it works, the next question is about the pricing. The card itself costs $249 (until Nov. 3, Sprint is offering $50 off for a price of $199). There are various data usage plans, including the : $99 "all-you-can-eat" plan (until 11/3 it's $50 off the first month for a price of $49). It is definitely not aimed at regular consumers. However, if your business will pay for it and you are on the road a lot, it is definitely worth it.

For more on this, visit the Sprint PCS Vision site. The card is also available nationwide in Sprint stores.

I will do a separate piece in the weeks ahead about what is known as WiFi technology, which allows you to set up small wireless networks in homes and offices.

Write to and let me know your thoughts.

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To join the LOW-volume "Sree Tips" e-mail mailing list, send your name and e-mail address to No more than once a month, you will receive an e-mail message with tips and tricks about new, useful and fun Web sites.