Saturday, May 14, 2005

Union's GlobeTrotter Fusion 3G/GPRS/GSM/WLAN Card - On loan from Maxis


I have been testing this product out today, and I can wholeheartedly give it a big thumbs up!

GlobeTrotter Fusion... good stuff!

Ive been out of the office, and since we are not in a very well connected area, wifi spots are virtually non-existant, and we need internet access. Fortunately for us, Maxis had loaned us this 3G/GPRS device for us to try out to find applications for our employees. Although 3G is not available outside the Klang Valley, we still could connect with GPRS, and its quite a relief to online withdrawal symptoms.

Installation was pretty painless, the only annoyances was the required reboot for WinXP after the installation of the drivers, and the fact that when you plug in the device for the first time, it sets itself to "Airplane Mode" and setting it too airplane unfriendly is not obvious.

The utility to manage the connections and all the little features is well done: easy to use! Although they could have done without the silly fade in when the app starts. Ah well, thats what you get when you give programmers the ability to make windows transparent...

Mobility Manager: Good Connection Utility...

Connecting to GPRS was easy, however speeds are limited to 56kbps. Brings back experiences of yesteryears: the dialup days... But performance was slow and steady. The traffic was very consistent, and the Utility reported the realtime download and upload speeds, which was very reassuring.

So after enabling TCP/IP forwarding and allowing my laptop to be a gateway, I plugged my machine to the WAN port of a wifi AP, and suddenly the entire room had internet access. So these busy executives could read their emails while pretending to be concentrating.

Of course if I were a real guru, I would have been able to use my built in wifi to create an ad-hoc network for them, but WinXPs pointy clicky didnt allow me to do that. Pity.

Curious to know if this device was supported by the Union for linux, I browsed their website and was dissapointed that its not. However they gave kudos to Paul Hardwick and his experiences with linux and 3G. He has written an Unofficial GlobeTrotter Linux HowTo. I havent tried it out yet, it looks simple enough, and will confirm it works in Malaysia's Maxis when I have the time...

Now, where can I try out 3G again?

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