Anyone that’s attended any modestly crowded tech convention knows that the first thing to fail is the convention’s Wi-Fi. Attendees all rush onto the network as soon as the presentations start, researching presenters, checking emails, reading online news. And it is not long before the network goes kaput. Any presenters attempting live online demos can kiss their dignity goodbye.
If you’re a reporter or blogger who’s trying to get a story out – or even live-blog an event, which I did this week – it’s even more frustrating. News really doesn’t matter if you can’t post the words or upload the images to your site.
But I am learning (regardless of what my parents say) and for our DEMO live coverage I used Novatel Wireless’ V640 Express Card over Verizon’s EVDO network. I used the same card at CES, when the pressroom Wi-Fi was totally unusable and I had to file news throughout the day. Now I’m using the card to send this story to WWD from my friend’s kitchen Los Angeles – it’s the only real option, since my friend’s only broadband access is an unsuspecting neighbor’s unsecure Wi-Fi connection.
So far the card has worked mostly flawlessly, and has brought me a wireless broadband connection throughout Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Oakland. The GigaTeam has swapped the device around and have all taken turns on it when needed and found the same good stuff. Once it didn’t work because of cell tower coverage issues, but we live-blogged the Apple iPhone event through a Blackberry.
Of course with today’s EVDO connections close to 50 to 70 kbps, it’s slower than most Wi-Fi connections, and takes its sweet time when doing tasks like uploading photos to Flickr. Hopefully we’ll get our mitts on some of the Rev A cards soon enough.
Though, overall this card is the safest way to file news from conventions that promise Wi-Fi but hardly ever delivers. For web workers in general, I’m surprised not more people are connecting to wireless operator’s broadband networks using laptop cards. Well, I’m not surprised considering the price. Of course you can get a really good deal from Sprint if you opt for their USB modem. It will be worth it – because once you try EVDO it’s hard to go back to searching