month I wrote about O2 Germany's CeBIT highlight -
Surf@home and today O2 revealed more information about it.
heise.de, O2 will start with Surf@home shortly after the CeBIT. As previously explained, the Surf@home wireless router will include a UMTS interface on one side, a W-LAN and LAN interface on the other side (Bluetooth
isn't included - unfortunately).
Since it is a router as well, Surf@home customers cann either build a local area network through the Surf@home box while they are also allowed to connect several
PCs with Surf@home to use it in a kind of "Internet connection sharing mode".
O2 Germany, inventor of the homezone (called Genion) will use a similar zoning concept for Surf@home where the box (or better USIM) will get a dedicated area where it can be used. Outside this area, Surf@home will not connect with O2's UMTS network anymore. Therefore it's clearly addressing customers who wants to use it in a dedicated area (home, office, wherever) but it's not designed for travelers like consultants (or other geeks
;-)) where a PC card or Bluetooth linked UMTS phone might be the better alternative anyway.
Like with DSL (but also with GSM and UMTS modems), the Internet connection requires a dial-up and because right now there are no plans
for a volume plan but for a time-based plan - a dial-up makes sense.
Unfortunately this means, that the Surf@home concept is not interesting for
users with low volume always on requirements (like E-Mail pull (without large
attachments for sure) or Instant Messaging addicts).
A price wasn't given yet but should be competitive to today's DSL fees in Germany. However, O2 indicated,
that their plans might include a volume of 30 or 40 hours already (which might
be good enough for "standard" web surfer).
Down- and upstream were announced with the UMTS typical 384 und 64 kBit/s. However, due to the latency, Surf@home
(as all wireless WAN connections like GPRS and UMTS) online games will not work
proper with Surf@home, nevertheless it's good enough for Web, E-Mail, FTP, etc.
I had the chance to use the Surf@home box yesterday as well for a couple of
minutes and I'm really impressed how good it works already! It's fast (at least
fast enough for personal home use), easy to use and simply great. In my mind,
O2's Surf@home will replace the Acer Bluetooth Modem,
I gave my girlfriend for Christmas since it does what she was dreaming about: a
completely wireless but fast Internet access at home!
Cheers ~ Arne
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