One of the reasons for purchasing my EEE PC was so that I could use it whilst out+about… I don’t really see the reason to torture myself with it’s small keyboard whilst at home – I have an all singing and all dancing for use at home.
I’ve been wanting this ability for years – I purchased an old Toshiba Portege years ago but ubiquitous web access was a no-no… When wifi became mainstream – I purchase a few 802.11b cards – but no one had AP’s yet!! As the years moved forward – the ability to have an internet connection wherever I happened to be came closer and closer.
The ultimate ‘net access whilst out+about’ is whilst in a foreign country…. The thought of using the internet in a far flung country has been on my mind for years. It’s been possible to use dial-up etc. and in later years even GPRS… But the cost has been enormous.
As soon as I saw the EEE PC – I knew I had to have one. It was perfect for travel-internet usage… A low-power, small and easily carryable laptop with USB and Linux for a cheap price… Almost cheap enough that if it gets damaged in transit it’s not too much of a loss.
I arranged to go on holiday to Italy and Sweden this year — and after a bit of searching realised that a 3G modem from the Three UK network — would be the ideal companion. The reason being — the same network has coverage in these countries too — so you can roam on these networks as if you were at home… Quite good when you have ‘mobile broadband’ of 1/3/5/7GB per month to use.
Question of tariff
There are various tariffs available – from PAYG to 7GB on a 12, 18 or 24 month contract.
Usually I’m contract all-the-way, however the PAYG has certain properties that make it much more desirable than the contract offerings… To put it basically – the PAYG allows you to buy a chunk of data and use it for the next 30 days… However if you’re a heavy user (like me) – once you’ve used the chunk you can buy the next chunk.
In comparison – the contract offerings are simply “You have 1GB to use over the next 30 days. After this there’s a fixed price per meg.”.
So — the key with the PAYG is you top-up with £10, buy 1GB of data (your account now sits at £0)… Once you’ve used your 1GB allowance – the net access suspends (because you have no credit left) and you have to top-up… This allows you to get out of the larger “£X for 1MB” charges. And then you can buy the next 1GB of usage.
The only problem – on PAYG you have to pay to buy a 3G modem.
As an existing customer of Three – I was able to get the best of both worlds: A free huawei E220 modem on an 18 month contract for £5/month – but I also had a spare PAYG sim so I could swap and change.
Anyway – to cut a long story short I’ve been using my EEEPC with my 3g broadband in Italy – and it works really well. I’ve been here a week – I’ve been browsing digg/slashdot/theregister/bbc/reading emails etc…. all my normal stuff and watching my dogs in the kennels on a webcam… and streaming ogg’s from home via winamp through XMMS and I’ve used just 400MB. It’s pretty amazing really.
As I said in my post earlier in my blog – this thing really does need an integrated Huawei E220 – it deserves it!! But until then – I’ll stick with my 3G dongle – it’s worth it for the time being.