Internet independence

I was visiting the London office of a large internet company today and was planning to demonstrate CODA to them, so was a little distressed when I arrived to discover that their corporate internet connection was down, and they had no connectivity!

It all worked out well, though, because somebody in the group had recently bought a Netgear MBM621 – a 3G-to-ethernet router.

We plugged the CODA kit and my laptop into this, and It Just Worked ™. What’s more, the performance was remarkably good. It would be interesting to see whether it worked well outside the confines of central London, but in this situation, it was a real godsend.

This type of device could be a game-changer; exhibition centres often charge exhibitors phenomenal amounts for internet connections at their stands, for example. That little scam may not be viable for much longer.

Netgear call this little box a ‘modem’, but it’s more of a router; it does DHCP and NAT, and the only downside I could see was that it only has one ethernet port, so you need a switch if you’re plugging in more than one device.

Well worth investigating if you need to set up an impromptu network somewhere.

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Or, if you have a recent Symbian S60 phone with WiFi built-in, both WalkingHotSpot and JoikuSpot are applications that will turn your phone into a handy WiFi access point with 3G back-haul. There are both free and premium versions of these applications.

Thanks Jon – I’ve played with Joikuspot a bit and it holds great potential but seems to be very flaky at present. It also only does HTTP in the current version, and does it via their proxy, which can be very slow. There’s no comparison with the performance I saw last week, though it’s useful in a pinch.

I’ll give WalkingHotspot a try!

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