Phil, you may be the only one still following this blog who will find this interesting; but I’ll make the report anyway. I am located too far from town to get cable or DSL service, so I have had a Hughes Satellite system for several years. When not throttled back because I have exceeded my daily limit, it provides download speeds approaching 100 KB/s.
I have also had a Cingular (now ATT) aircard for a couple of years for my laptop, which got me speeds in the 25 KBS range on their Edge Network anywhere my cellphone would work. Recently, I noticed that my cellphone was indicating that the new 3G network was available at my home location. Yesterday, I purchased one of ATT’s new “Mercury” USB adapters that you see the guy plug into his laptop in weird locations in current TV commercials.
The device is a marvel of technology. The installation software is built into it, so all one need do is plug it in to any computer and run the painless install program. It even has a slot for a micro-SD memory card, so that it can also be used as a portable flash drive. I bought it at Radio Shack, and a 2GB memory card only cost $ 13 (I still can’t get used to how small and cheap memory is now).
The performance is even more amazing. The response time to a request is noticably faster than dealing with the latency of the trip up and back through the satellite and Hughes Network Center. More importantly, it is approximately twice as fast on the download speed. I reach speeds over 300 KB/s with it, although it averages less… probably 150 KB/s, which is still half again Hughes best speed, and I would have been tickled with a 75 KB/s average on that network.
So far, I couldn’t be happier with my purchase, and will probably now cancel my Hughes account. It is like I just got a turbo system. Not only is it nice to be able to watch videos uninterrupted because they load faster than they play, I can download an hour-long podcast in a couple of minutes, and fast servers like the Drudge Report load and refresh snappier; but as far as I know there is no FAP (fair access policy) to throttle me back for transferring too many MB of data in too short a period. ◄Dave►