Can’t find Wi-Fi? Consider Cellular

These days, you often don’t have to travel far to find wireless Internet access. But some hot spots carry steep prices, and you can’t always count on finding one when you need it.

So, if you need Internet access on the go, try cellular service. All major cellular providers offer Internet cards for your laptop. They slide into a PC Card slot, much like a Wi-Fi card.

The cards give you Internet access anywhere you have cellular coverage. The concept is simple, but deciphering the pricing and technical details can be confusing.

These days, cellular providers tout broadband-like speeds. Certainly, the cards are far faster than dial-up. They fall short, however, when compared with cable and DSL speeds.

Some networks are faster than others. So it helps to understand the differences.

First, there is EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution). EDGE is a high-speed Internet service that is considered to be 2.5G, that is, between second- (2G) and third-generation (3G) cellular broadband services. It is provided by wireless phone companies that use GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology. Users typically experience speeds of around 200 kilobits per second for both downloads and uploads, although its theoretical limits are higher. This average speed falls shy of the 256Kbps.
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