On Tue, 2 Nov 2004, Tim Raymond wrote:
> I'm interested in experiences people have with being network connected when
> on the road in various places in VT and beyond.
> Here is what I know so far.
> There are various pdaphones available using Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc
> but except for the Kyocera 7135 they are digital only. Digital coverage in VT
> is not too good. Verizon has the best digital coverage but it is only about 40%.
> Some smartphones come with bluetooth and bluetooth is available for laptops.
Devices is one battle, availability and coverage is another. Sprint has
minimal coverage, T-Mobile has voice only via ATT, ATT/Cingular are pretty
poor, and Verizon, sadly, has the best coverage. I've got a Blackberry
7750 through them that has received data and voice coverage in some fairly
remote areas of the state, but you'll find that the extremes (NE, NW,
southern VT) have no data coverage.
Verizon being Verizon, also doesn't offer a WAP browser for the BB's,
making them the only provider out that doesn't. You may do well to check
out Earthlink, who resells the 7750, although I'm not sure who they roam
with. If you want a browser you'll need a BES server (runs on Windows,
optionally chats with Exchange), with MDS (Mobile Data Services) enabled.
BES licenses run ~$4500.
Out of the various RIM devices, the 7750 has the largest color screen.
The 7290 is a quad-band device offered by ATT/Cingular, and with the
release of Blackberry Enterprise Server 4.0 WLAN capabilities will be
added. There is no free SSH client for BB's, NeedText makes a nice
unlimited user/server one for $695 + maint.
The hiptops from companies like Danger are great, solid SSH clients,
feature rich etc, but you'll find the providers have minimal coverage, and
even less data coverage.
The Treo 650 is palmOne's latest offering and addresses many of the issues
found with the Treo 600 (removeable battery, better design for removeable
media, bigger keyboard etc).
> Here is a scenario:
> I need to have a phone that allows me to make and receive calls in various
> places in VT. Some places will have digital coverage, many won't. I need to be
> able to access the Internet for web pages and email from various places in VT
> and outside VT. I don't have to be able to connect to the Internet from analog
> only places in VT, I only need to be able to use the phone there. I need to be
> able to access things like a schedule, todo list, etc from anywhere but these
> apps and the data can be local to the device. I definitely want to have as few
> devices as possible to accomplish my tasks. My preference would be to have a
> Here are some things I don't know:
> Is there more actual digital coverage than I can see on the providers'
> coverage maps? Are most of the digital dead spots in VT in places like mountain
> tops where I won't be going so much? Can I put bluetooth on a laptop and use
> that to call out on a bluetooth enabled cell phone and connect to an ISP?
The maps are inexact, I used to have a dead spot in my bedroom at Henry
St., but not my office on the other side of the wall. Sometimes digital
service will creep into a location, and sometimes a place that should be
2000' from a tower will have analog only.
A laptop with BT can theoretically use a BT cellphone, but you'll run into
the issue of modem drivers/scripts. The new trend is for providers to
lock down the phones and disable BT for security reasons also so be
Most providers have a 30-day trial period where you can gracefully cancel
the contract and return your phone, I'd take advantage of that and do some
> I'm hoping that someone has researched this an knows all the answers? Or
> perhaps has some of the answers? If you've looked into this at all, what are
> your experiences? Have you found a solution?
My solution was to buy a BB 7500 from Verizon, a BES server, NeedText's
Windows Administration tool, their SSH app and assume that Verizon will
always have coverage wherever I am. For the off chance they don't, VPN
over SSL with Netscreen and SecurID web authentication or Passfaces
authentication will serve as a last resort.
Not a solution for the budgetarily challenged.