We’ve all had that agonizing experience: visiting some place that should know better and discovering that the “Internet” still means plugging an Ethernet cord into a desktop computer. “Wi…Fi? What is this mystical term?” You’d think the fact that every Starbucks on the planet and most McDonalds at this point have “free wireless Internet” plastered all over their walls that people would think, “Hey, maybe I should look into this whole ‘wireless Internet’ thing”, but apparently not.
Here’s how it works. You either buy a USB stick modem or a boxy portable WiFi hotspot, and then you get a data plan to go with it. There are pros and cons to this strategy, though.
The pros boil down to the gear being fairly cheap, the data plans being cheap, and the total lack of contracts. Buy a $50 stick or $100 hotspot from NetZero, choose which plan you want, and change it at any time.
The cons are essentially, well, you get what you pay for, in both speed and data caps. This is essentially a rebranding of Clearwire’s WiMax network, and the claims of “4G” are largely marketing smoke and mirrors. Comparatively speaking, the network is slow, and the coverage map may not go deep enough into rural areas if that’s what you need.
But, hey, if you need portable, cheap WiFi and you’re not picky about speed, you finally have some options that don’t involve selling your soul to a wireless carrier.
NetZero launches 4G Wireless Service [Engadget]
I want more like this!
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