Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Stream of Consciousness Regarding Communications

First, in our home base, we JUST get DSL (no landline phone. no TV). We get it
through ATT. We get movies (Amazon, Netflix, Apple), TV shows (, hulu),
and the program guide (TitanTV) for our HDTV tuner (eyetv - which USB connects
to our Mac Mini) which gives us great TV over the air.

* Why I list it here - Everything about this is MOBILE except the DSL portal.
(TV is mobile, favorite things to watch portable). Pseudo-pro - Using ATT DSL
gives me FREE DSL at Barnes and Noble, Starbucks and LOTS of other places which
is KIND OF an RV-ish solution. Also, since we have PVR, we can set the system to
record at home base and get home and watch what we want.

* Important Note : Entertainment over Internet takes LOTS and LOTS of bandwidth.
The NUMBER ONE (repeat : Number one) thing to look at when looking at mobile
solutions is how much bandwidth you use in a month. Most cellular plans have a
5GByte limit which is not so much if you do much media - including backup,
music, video, streaming radio and so forth - maybe even homeschooling courses
could work against that.

* Cellular - I have not had cellular, but I know several people that have a
Sprint 3G data card and have been thrilled with its performance. It is subject
to the 5GB limit UNLESS you were an early purchaser. I have one friend that is
an early purchaser that BELIEVES that Sprint is now 'metering' out his
connection - so that is something to think about. I have heard that T-Mobile's
network is slow. I imagine that means ATT's could be as well (comments anyone?).
So by power of deduction I'm thinking Verizon's would be a good choice to
compete against Sprint.

* WiFi - I've noticed that the WiFi at the RV parks I've stayed is highly
suspect. Either spotty connections ran by non-techie people, weak signals, or a
remote park with good WiFi but a bad connection to the main network. I do not
think you can rely on this at all.

* WiMax - Just started selling in Austin. Looks great, but coverage will be a
problem for a long while. Probably cannot rely on this either.

* Dial-up - Do people still use this or rely on this? Ick.

* Satellite - No experience. I have seen some bandwidth limits imposed as well.

What Sheri and I plan on doing will be something along the following...

* Cellular MiFi (or similar system) that allows for cellular to the trailer, but
then use WiFi to send to the different devices (we have two laptops, one
desktop, an iPod).
* Cellular voice communications - no landlines at the home base.
* Use WiFi from the parks for entertainment where possible.
* See if we can get a package deal (currently : $50/phone unlimited voice +
$60/month Cellular data) better than $150/month.

- To investigate - It may be that satellite could be workable. I'll check that
out when I have a chance.

- A killer product/service would be a box that was WiMax + Cellular to the
network and WiFi locally. But I have found a WiFi plus WiMax, which I don't find as interesting.

Anway, I hope this gives you some ideas on communications.

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