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Cell Phones
Technology with Integrity

By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc.

Nearly everyone has at least one cell phone, and many of us use it for email and appointments as well. ATT now has “3G” data service in our area – a significant improvement in speed for internet access.

3G stands for 3rd generation, meaning the next level of high speed data service. This affects cell phone users who surf the internet or receive email on their phone. It also is the technology used by laptop “phone” cards, which allow access to the internet from anywhere you can get a wireless phone signal.

AT&T says the network can hit speeds of 3.6 Mbps to 14.4 Mbps. using a technology called High Speed Packet Access (HSPA). With this change, AT&T now has faster uploads with HSUPA than Verizon or Sprint has with their EV-DO Rev A network, which has been available in Visalia since last year.

The practical benefit is that your cell phone is as fast as basic DSL for internet access, making it very usable. Both technologies are fast enough to exceed most needs for internet browsing and email.

Currently, there are multiple 3G technologies used by different wireless carriers. AT&T uses HSUPA that is based on W-CDMA technology, while Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, and U.S. Cellular, use CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology. T-Mobile is currently lagging, with an older 2G technology called EDGE. For 4th generation (4G) services, AT&T and Verizon plan to start moving to a technology named Long Term Evolution (LTE) in the next 3-5 years, with speeds up to 200MB/Sec.

If you have a cell phone and use a laptop, consider getting set up for “tethering” which allows you to surf the internet via your cell phone. The cell phone talks to your laptop via Bluetooth, and then connects to the internet using the internet data service. It typically adds only $5 or $10 per month to your cell phone bill if you already have an unlimited data service plan.

Not all phones support these features – be sure to check which types of data the phone can use. Also, if you are connecting with an Exchange mail server, make sure your data plan includes unlimited texting. The phone uses text messaging to communicate with the server, and can quickly use up your allotment of text messages.

Guide to cell phone services and plans: www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000117211

ATT on 3G: www.wireless.att.com/learn/why/technology/3g-umts.jsp

More on 4G technology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3GPP_Long_Term_Evolution

Tim Torian has taught computer networking at the College of Sequoias and Cal Poly Extension. He has a BS in Computer Science, and has been consulting on computer networking for the past 30 Years. His industry certifications include: Cisco CCNA and CCNI, Microsoft MCSE. He was recognized as Entrepreneur of the year for 2008 by the Tulare County EDC. He is president of Torian Group, Inc. which provides a full range of Technology Consulting services to local business, including computer services, networking, web and custom software development. www.toriangroup.com


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