December 12, 2000, 4:05 PM —
Do you frequently need access to email from places away from home or work? In hotel
rooms worldwide, you can generally find telephone data ports for connecting a laptop,
enabling you to dial into an ISP. But what about when you need to check email messages
or browse the Internet from an airport or customer site, where it's usually difficult
or impossible to find a landline connection? A wireless WAN connection in these
situations makes access much easier, especially when used with a small handheld
computing device such as a PalmPilot.
If you're already a Palm V user, you don't have to abandon your thin, sleek device for
a bulkier Palm VII, which has a built-in CDPD (cellular digital packet data) modem.
Simply attach an Omnisky href="http://www.omnisky.com/products/modem.html">Minstrel CDPD modem when you feel
the need to go wireless. Omnisky offers unlimited wireless WAN access for a monthly fee
when you purchase a Minstrel CDPD modem. Omnisky is the only wireless WAN provider for
the Palm V we've found, and, unfortunately, the Minstrel modem is exclusively for the
Palm V model.
With Omnisky, you get the following features:
I find it hard to live without my Palm V, and I've been testing a Minstrel CDPD modem
for several months. I use the modem mostly from my hometown of Dayton, Ohio; however, I
travel from time to time and have used it in other cities, such as Dallas and Chicago,
as well. So far, it's been useful and reasonably fast for checking email from a car or
airport and accessing the latest news or stock market quotes through an href="http://www.avantgo.com">Avantgo.com Web channel.
The basic concept of
CDPD is to use the existing analog cellular telephone system to send digital data
at 19.2 Kbps when voice calls are not being made.
The biggest problem I've found using CDPD wireless service is limited coverage. Even
though CDPD uses the widespread analog cellular telephone infrastructure, CDPD doesn't
have the same coverage as analog cellular phones. Most areas don't provide CDPD service
in all cell towers.
You can be fairly certain that signal strength will be high enough to make a connection
if you're in the heart of most large cities, unless you're buried within a large
building. But don't be disappointed if you have trouble making connections even a few
miles away from downtown areas.