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The Ultimate Wireless Internet in the NJ area!

Discussion in 'Northeastern US Wireless Forum' started by aiwapro, May 1, 2002.

  1. aiwapro

    aiwapro Silver Senior Member
    Senior Member

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    This is a quote from someone on epinions:

    "Voicestream's iStream service in NYC/NJ
    by kweckstrom | Apr 10 '02
    Pros: GPRS service is relatively fast, and DOESN'T user your plan minutes.
    Cons: Only 10MB of data transmission per month, $39.95/mo (for laptop; cheaper of PDA and phone use)
    The Bottom Line: Price aside, this service *works*. If you don't mind the $39.95 additional charge for data services, iStream in the NYC metro area works for relatively fast Data services.
    Recommended: Yes

    NOTE: This epinion will be most useful to those who are considering Voicestream's iStream data service.

    Ok, I've been a verizon customer for a long time now in both Data and Voice categories. I have been using their CDPD products for the past 2 years, and have been relatively happy with it. The speed leaves much to be desired, but with a wee bit of patience, the data you need does in fact get there.

    Their $25/mo Unlimited PDA plan is pretty nice with an Ipaq and a PC Card sleeve, though this service does drive down your battery life. Certainly not an "all-day-long" solution, but who expects that with today's battery technology (blackberry users aside).

    I decided to take a stab at a service I never had the cojones to try before, Voicestream, the artist formerly known as Omnipoint if memory serves. Since they have GPRS someone well deployed in the NYC metro area, I figured what the heck. It's only money, i'll plink down $600 for a Bluetooth-enabled ipaq and another $450 for the T68 ericsson that everyone seems to be hyping. I picked up the Ipaq at Ecost.com and got the T68 at www.cellhut.com at pretty much competitive prices.

    I picked up the phone on my way home last night (Cellhut is here in manhattan) and put it through its usual paces. Voice calling worked very reliably! I was astounded since usually Verizon is the only game in town for reliable mobile phone service, but this seemed to fit the bill very nicely. The phone itself is tiny and light, and the voice quality was remarkably clear on my end. Having done time with Sprint PCS and AT&T wireless in the past, this is a service that actually has a chance of fulfilling my jaded wireless needs

    Last night I figured out how to get Voicestream's Istream working on my notebook with the phone. Configuring the phone with the T39's instructions at voicestream got me close enough to configure the T68. The important part was the dialing sequence of "*9***1#" or something like that, which basically connects the phone to the iStream GPRS service. Since my notebook doesn't have bluetooth, I did it over the IR port, which worked pretty painlessly. Inside my house in NJ, it worked well (I live roughly 2 miles north of Giants Memorial Stadium, the landmark erected to mark the burial location of the late Jimmy Hoffa).

    Upon pulling up my web browser, I was immediately taken to the iStream configuration page, allowing you to configure the type of screen you use (PDA/Notebook), and image compression/quality settings (fast, faster, fastest, fastest having the worst image quality). Apparently, the iStream service intercepts all your webpage calls and runs 'em through their compression scheme somehow, and I must admit that pages responded far more speedily than I imagined they would. Of course, I only have CDPD and Cable Modem to go by. While it's certainly not as fast as Cable Modem, i'd say it's about what you'd expect from a modem operating somewhere between 33.6k and 56k.

    The real test came today.

    Thanks to a babysitter crisis, I had to take a hike into work late today. Fedex arrived this morning with my brand spanking new Ipaq 3870, and I immediately got to work configuring it.

    After figuring out how this bluetooth stuff works by discovering the phone and partnering with it, I was able to connect them. After some fiddling around with the Dialing properties on the Ipaq, I was able to initiate a connection to iStream via the Ipaq and the T68 using bluetooth. Satisfied that everything was working, I headed out the door to wait at the corner for one of the most miserable forms of public transportation: New Jersey Transit buses.

    Standing at the corner, I fired up my GPRS connection via the ipaq, and loaded up one of my tried and true ways to slack, Smartsoft Pocketchat's irc client (www.sspocketchat.com). I'm an irc nut, and one of my gripes with CDPD is that I would occasionally have to re-initiate my connection after being dropped off the IRC server when I lost my CDPD channel and hopped over to another. While I didn't exactly have high hopes for GPRS being much better, I just had to see what it would do.

    Now, I didn't take it easy on Voicestream, mind you. While standing on the corner waiting for my bus, I fired up a few more apps like MSN Messenger, my inbox, and Internet explorer. Yahoo.com loaded up rather quickly, again what you'd expect from a land-based modem. My inbox took roughly the same amount of time to connect to when on CDPD, but messages themselves transferred much more quickly.

    IRC isn't much of a bandwidth hog, but its connection to the irc server is a sensitive one and is very prone to disconnection if you time out. After hopping on the bus, I grabbed a seat. Phone in pocket, I hooked up my little Compaq thumb-board for some leisurely chatting.

    Driving through moonachie, I had no problem keeping a connection. Text flowed freely in #Windows2000 and #3dfx on irc's efnet. Before I knew it, carlstadt passed, east rutherford, giants stadium, and before I knew it we were in Union NJ (blah, I got a local bus). I told everyone to just keep talking because I wanted to see how this GPRS deal would hold up on my commute to work.

    At this point, I was really astounded since normally I would have disconnected at least once on CDPD. GPRS was going strong however.

    I had one last test. CDPD's last enemy. The torturous field test that sends many wireless services screaming in fear. The evil, dreaded Lincoln Tunnel.

    Normally with CDPD, my connection would die around 300ft in the tunnel. While Verizon's VOICE service would work in the tunnel, CDPD is very spotty. GPRS? Stayed connected the whole way through. No hiccups. No disconnects. No problems whatsoever.

    After pulling up into port authority, I finally disconnected and called it a bus ride and headed downtown to my daytime abode.

    Color me surprised. Voicestream's GPRS in the NJ Metro area works."
     

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