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MOBILITY: Welcome to the Wireless World!
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 19.10.02 - 19:47:00 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 5448x
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This article was originally posted by Arne Hess, Apr 19, 2000 on Microsoft's site and was reedited/updated before posted today:
Communication and information, wherever you go? Yes, it is possible to carry the world in your pocket. Here are some suggestions to help you use this capability to the greatest advantage.

Pocket PCs Can Connect You to the World
Who cannot recall situations: An airline flight being delayed or cancelled; you’re tired of newspapers having the same headlines as the day before; or feeling bored, because your neighbor isn't interested in small talk?

What a perfect time to surf the Web, prepare for an upcoming meeting, write some e-mail to keep in touch with your office, or just read some notes, while you wait for that delayed flight. This is easy enough to do, as long as you are close to a desktop computer, even if it isn’t your own. But what if you’re traveling where there are no computers, e.g., foreign airports (without those expensive “Web stations”), train stations, or simply your hotel room?

Well, you are virtually carrying the world in your pocket with your Pocket PC and your mobile phone or even better with your Pocket PC Phone Edition like an o2 xda or T-Mobile Phone Edition. There are also some GSM/GPRS PC and CF cards available like the GlobeTrotter from Option (a GPRS PC card) or the RTM-8000 from Audiovox (a GPRS CF Card).
Today’s most widely used cellular phone standard - the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM), allows you to use your Pocket PC and your mobile phone (Pocket PC Phone Edition) to transmit data wirelessly.

You can visit the home page of the GSM Association to find out where you can use your wireless device. Most of the available GSM networks around the world allow you to set up data calls, as well as voice calls, for international roamers. This means that you no longer have to boot your portable computer and connect it to the fixed line network if you want to send e-mail messages. Just use your Pocket PC, your mobile phone, and your existing Internet Account.

How to Get Connected
First, you need to make sure that your mobile phone has a modem which your Pocket PC Phone Edition already includes for sure. Newer models have a built-in modem; this is state of the art today. For certain models of older phones without built-in modems, there is software available for your Pocket PC, from a variety of vendors, that emulates a modem.

There are a couple of ways to connect your Pocket PC to your cellular phone:

  • Use a normal cable connection - this connection is also required for the soft modem solutions.
  • Use a wireless connection via infrared; this is the more convenient method. Almost all new handsets today have an infrared port.
  • Use Bluetooth connection; this is the most convenient method and more Pocket PCs as well as more mobile phones includes Bluetooth today.

Also, be sure that you are using the right phone for the right country. GSM uses three frequencies: 900 megahertz (MHz) and 1800 MHz is used for Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia; 1900 MHz is used for North America.

To connect to the Internet, all you have to do is set up the dial-up connection, and you are ready start surfing the Web, receiving and sending e-mail - wirelessly!

How Fast Is Wireless Surfing?
Today, the GSM standard supports transparent and non-transparent data connections of up to 9.6 Kbps. Some modern GSM networks use a new code scheme that allows surfing with 14.4 Kbps. However, please note that 14.4 Kbps must be supported by your mobile phone also. Beside this some GSM networks also supports HSCSD (High Speed Circuit Switched Data). Here, several GSM channels are used in parallel (up to 4 per upload/download) which means you could theoretically connect with a speed up to 4 * 14.4 Kbps = 57,6 Kbps (HSCSD isn't supported by any Pocket PC Phone Edition device today).

Beside the circuit switched data services the next GSM evolution called General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is introduced in more and more countries and networks, it is possible to use cellular GSM networks for data transmission of up to about 28.8 - 56 Kbps (see also my previous column: How fast is GPRS in reality?). Note that you need a GPRS enabled GSM mobile phone to access GPRS networks while all Pocket PC Phone Edition devices supports GPRS by default. Also the international GPRS roaming (GRX = GPRS Roaming Exchange) isn’t widely available today and only a few networks already allow international GPRS roaming. But this will changed within the next months as voice roaming before.

My latest experiences looks pretty promising and I'm able to use GPRS in more and more countries. However, ask your operator before you go abroad if GRX is available and make sure about the costs!

Final Conclusion

Using your Pocket PC with your cellular phone is the perfect combination if you don't already have a Pocket PC Phone Edition. There are a lot of moments and locations where it is not possible, or just not convenient, to use a notebook or laptop computer, especially if you are in a hurry. Now, with your Pocket PC, you can write a short e-mail message to a friend or co-worker, whether you’re in an airport, a hotel, or a meeting.

Traveling with hand luggage only? Need to stay overnight in a hotel? Get in touch with your family, friends, and colleagues via your mobile companion!

Cheers ~ Arne


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