3G archipelago hopping

This summer’s access to the on-line banking services provided by our banks could very well just have been optimized, and improved compared to last summer. One of the few problems with having a house in the Stockholm Archipelago is network coverage. Forget about tri-band and quad-band, fancy phone features, and what not.. if you live in a shadow spot as far as the networks go, it doesn’t really matter what features your phone or wireless card has.

After having read a number of reviews and tests, I finally settled for Sierra Wireless‘s AirCard 850. It’s a very pricey piece of hardware at USD 395 (Sierra Wireless’ webshop price), but if I get what the card promises, it’s worth every penny. The card is a quad-band card, with support for 800/900/1800, and 1900 MHz as well as 3G (UMTS 2100 MHz). Depending on your setting, it will automatically fall back to GPRS if it cannot establish a decent 3G connection.

Installation of the card was a real no brainer in our HP NC6000 notebook, as was the insertion of the SIM card. It took just over two minutes to get it configured, installed, and operational. A complete driver and firmware upgrade from Sirra Wireless over the Internet took five minutes to complete and it didn’t lose any important settings.

I’m coupling this card with the Tele2 “mobile broadband” (“Tele2 Mobilt Bredband”) service; getting that service activated on an already existing Tele2 account turned out to be a major operation, involving two hours of phone conversations with some nimrod at what they refer to as “Customer Service”.

Unless something earth shattering occurs, I’ll be testing the 3G access-from-the-archipelago this weekend. If I can keep myself from going out in our new boat that is 🙂

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