3G for iPAD

So you’re an Apple enthusiast, you probably already have an iPhone – and now you’re considering the iPAD – but which version? Do you go for the WIFI only or get the 3G version and land yourself with ANOTHER contract?

Well, there may be another way. As it happens I have a Vodafone 3G dongle allowing (fair use) unlimited access to 3G signals to supply broadband to the laptop.

That won’t work, I hear you say, it’s a USB dongle and  the iPAD won’t handle a USB dongle! True, but, as I found out this morning, the SIM in the Vodafone dongle works in a phone – at least, for data anyway. I just happen to have a Nokia e65, but any old phone with WIFI will do… head on over to Joiku where they have software for most phones to turn the phone into a WIFI access point. You run the software, it makes the call – and supplies a WIFI signal for your laptop. Which means of course – your iPAD. I’ve yet to try using this to provide a signal for the iPHONE so that I can use SKYPE (which refuses to work on 3G or even 3G with a VPN) – but that’s because I went out to do my testing with a flat phone battery and just managed to knock off a couple of emails to prove that it all works.

More on the SKYPE episode later but if you can lay your hands on a suitable phone, the only downside to using this as against the dongle – is that you end up with something else to keep charged… but rather than adding another contract that surely has to be a worthwhile compromise?

Peter Scargill

The Future’s Bright

The future DOES indeed look bright, at least for Smartphone users and specifically those on Orange.  I’ve just had a very interesting weekend – the end result of which, my Smartphone is now a WIFI ACCESS POINT and I have to say, I’m very excited about the whole thing…

Here’s the story:

I have a smartphone – the HTC Tytn, soon to be replaced by the much smoother-looking TYTN II.  Why this phone? well, it has WIFI, it handles 3G, it has a touch-screen, it plays movies… it’s not the best unit in the world as a PHONE – but generally complete with Windows mobile 6 it’s a very competent unit.

But, here’s my problems with the phone and with Orange or rather what WERE my problems:

The phone has had DUN (dialup networking removed) – for reasons well beyond most of us, Microsoft decided – presumeably at the request of the mobile phone companies, to remove this. Of course you still can use the phone to provide internet access to your laptop, but it’s hardly a point and click operation.  Secondly the cost of internet access on Orange has always been a little prohibitive – charging per megabyte simply doesn’t work in the modern age.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I was introduced over the weekend to a software package for the phone called WMWIFIROUTER – which does exactly what it says – turns your mobile phone into a WIRELESS ACCESS POINT. I can’t vouch for other phones but it works a treat on the HTC.

So now, after pressing a button – you get a WEP-protected WIFI access point for those times when you need access on the road – or at meetings where WIFI is not available. Lest anyone ,miss the point here – we’re talking WIFI on the road, which means the passenger in your car gets access for laptop use, for pocket gadget use – whatever.

The only catch is the cost of the 3G service – well, not any more. Those of you who rely on mobile access will know about the 3G dongles from 3 and Vodafone etc, plug into your laptop – instant 3G access to the web. Well, some of us took that a little further – you can plug those dongles into the likes of Draytek routers and give yourself a WIFI access point which can be used by more than one device at once – but the catch is – you need mains (or an invertor) to power the Draytek.

This new software solves ALL of the above problems except for the cost of the 3G – and that’s where Orange come in. My pal who introduced me to this pointed out that he felt he had a deal with Orange – something like £30 a month for unlimited use of broadband – in addition to phone calls.  So I rang up Orange and said I wanted a service that included unlimited data connectivity (EVERYONE has fair use policies so typically “unlimited” might mean 3gig on average).

Orange, for the first time ever, vastly exceeded my expectation. For £30 a month – as a long-term customer (apparently £35 if you’re not a long term customer or perhaps don’t spend enough), they gave me 700 cross-network minutes, unlimited landline calls – AND unlimited broadband.  To prove it was not a fluke, my wife Maureen who ALSO has a smartphone (the HTC Tytn II which has GPS included) rang up – and got the same deal.

So – there you have it – at last, affordable, on the road, broadband access. I for one am WELL pleased.