Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Look ma....... no wires (part two)

Back in October, I hinted about a new means of connecting to the internet called WiMax. The service is here, offered by most of the internet carriers like Bell and Rogers. Notice anything unusual about that list? That's right - it's all cell phone carriers (except Telus - what's up with that?), with no mention of a cable company anywhere. But the fact is, the only actual provider is Rogers (at the moment) as witnessed by the signal strength when near Rogers cell towers. The other providers lease their service from Rogers. A friend of mine from Ottawa gets WiMax for $45/month for a 512kb/s connection. You get a modem which only needs AC power and connects to your computer / laptop via a regular network cable. As long as you're somewhere in a major city served by Rogers 3G data towers (124 of them and counting), you'll have internet access. The map pictured here shows coverage for Calgary. This is a roaming service suitable for those who travel a lot and want / need decent internet access wherever they go. The roaming is supposed to be seamless, but at the moment, there are some issues when you need to switch from one tower to another. I'm guessing this will be fixed at some point.

A word of warning to anyone considering getting this service but opting for the more expensive (and supposedly faster) plans of WiMax, they seem to be throttling their speeds, maxing out somewhere around 800-900kb/s, so paying for anything above the 512kb/s plan currently seems to be a waste of money.

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