The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
As mentioned in yesterday's newsletter, I recently ordered an Apple iPad tablet computer. I expect delivery on or about April 3. The iPad is available with varying amounts of memory and can also be ordered with or without 3G wireless networking.
All iPads include wi-fi wireless networking at no additional charge. While normally very fast, wi-fi requires the user to be within 100 or 200 feet of a wi-fi base station, normally referred to as a "hotspot." Such hotspots can be installed in homes, and you will also find many more in restaurants, coffee shops, airport waiting lounges, and even on some commuter trains. The short range of wi-fi hotspots limits the usefulness of such connections.
In contrast, 3G wireless networking connects to cell towers with a range of five miles or more, depending upon obstructions. If you are within range of a 3G-equipped cell phone tower, you can surf the web via a 3G connection at roughly DSL speeds. In fact, you can even surf the web and check email and do other online chores while traveling along the highway, hopefully when someone else is driving.
3G wireless networking is offered as an extra-cost option on the Apple iPad. If you order 3G networking, you must pay an extra $130 for the iPad plus an additional $40 to $60 a month for the online service obtained from your local cell phone company.
I decided not to pay $130 for the 3G option. Instead, I found a cheaper way to obtain 3G networking service. In fact, the method I will use should be even faster than using the iPad's internal 3G option. Best of all, I can also share this cheaper 3G connection with other computers, such as with a laptop or even with an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch.
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