Toy Box: Data goes mobile, properly

Forget about trying to read your email on your cellphone's tiny screen. Forget about trying to wade through contracts or order forms on your handheld. Both Telecom and Vodafone networks now offer PC cards for your laptops or handhelds that allow you to make full use of the higher-speed networks on offer.

Forget about trying to read your email on your cellphone’s tiny screen. Forget about trying to wade through contracts or order forms on your handheld. Both Telecom and Vodafone networks now offer PC cards for your laptops or handhelds that allow you to make full use of the higher-speed networks on offer.

Vodafone sells a range of cards including the Nokia D211 that uses both GPRS capability and Wi-Fi, better known as 802.11b. The D211 allows users to take advantage of Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re in the office and switches over to GPRS when you’re out and about.

Telecom offers G-Trans, a “future-proofed” CDMA card. You can use it now on the CDMA network at 14.4kbit/s but when Telecom launches the upgrade to CDMA 1x in July it’s capable of reaching speeds much higher.

Theoretical maximum speeds for both networks are greater than 128kbit/s, but both companies stress this is highly dependent on network capacity, server loading, distance to cellsite and so on. An average of around 40–50kbit/s is expected.

Both cards are “always on”, allowing users to connect to virtual private networks or WANs as readily as if they were in the office. They retail for around $1000 each depending on the contract.

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