Monday, April 4, 2011

3G - 3rd generation mobile telecommunications

3G - 3rd generation mobile telecommunications. What is 3G:

3G is a wireless (mobile telecommunication) service that is able to transfer data at higher speeds and greater efficiency through the use of packet-switched data (Data transmitted from multiple users in individually addressed discrete packets). Services include wide-area wireless voice telephone, video calls and wireless data. 3G networks have been "live" for about a decade, so it is tested technology.

3G works with Skype.

3G allows telephone calls while you are accessing the Internet.

3G & ICE Modem

As of last week ICE was providing 3G service to users who had a 3G compatible mobile phone bought in Costa Rica or through the rental / purchase of a USB modem stick. The cost of the modem is about $80 or it can be rented monthly for 18 months at about $4.50 per month. The equipment provided by ICE is a Huawei E166 USB modem stick.

The Modems are both Windows and Mac compatible and the installation software is provided on the USB stick.

Installation is straightforward and I have yet to hear of anyone that has had any trouble during the installation process. This is across a handful of users with little computer experience.

ICE provides a configuration guide for Windows in Spanish that has screen shots in English for the first few pages then switches back to Spanish. (if that makes any sense) The important thing is that with the screen shots it is very easy to walk through the installation regardless of the language.

3G Speed

For those users trying to get rid of their dial-up service the 3G network is definitely much quicker and it is worth taking a little time to see if it is an acceptable alternative. For those users on high speed connections 3G is probably not a solution for you but depending on your internet use it could save you some cost without slowing you down to a crawl.

It is critical to remember that speed on a 3G network is dependant on a strong signal. Without a strong signal the network will switch you to the "Edge" protocol transfer speed which is little better than dial-up. Interestingly "Edge" technology was strongly supported by "Apple" until fairly recently. Using the modem it is possible to extend the connection wire to about 20 – 24 feet without suffering speed degradation. I have my modem hanging in my garage as that is where my strongest signal is. 7 meters of cable costs about 5 mil at Satek.

For page loads and website access the 3G network is virtually as quick as the high speed internet connection that I have with AMNET. The speed difference comes into play on the upload/download of information to/from the internet.

I would be very careful of using a single ICE 3G connection for multiple users or for users that will have multiple downloads/uploads going at the same time. Currently the 3G Network offered by ICE runs at a max download speed of +/- 800kbps and upload speed of +/- 500kbps. These are quoted rates under ideal conditions. According to an article in La Nacion this will change in February with the speed doubling to 1.5mbps. Which may make these options more attractive at that time.

And yes there is a cost increase associated with the increased speed.