Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Verizon cellular hot spot on new iPad not an economic replacement for cable or FIOS; it's just a backup


I checked my data usage on my new iPad for the remainder of the cable outage caused by the June 29 derecho.  Verizon says I used a total of 3GB during the billing period.  It had totaled 2 GB until two days before cable was restored. I used much less than 1 G last week on my road trip, when I used the hot spot in the  Charleston, WVa motel. I did not watch videos with the hot spot. I satisfied myself with the motel's cable. 

I had upped my allowance to 5GB, but Verizon billed me both the additional $20 for the allowance, and a $10 overage after all.  This seems wrong, like double billing.

Curiously, Verizon is telling me that my iPad service is eligible for an upgrade on 9/11/2012.  I don’t know what this means.

Cellular wireless, while quite efficient, right now is apparently not an economically viable substitute for land based cable or FIOS, which in suburban and rural areas is very subject to outages caused by storms and which some remote areas still don’t have.

I do have unlimited data on my smart phone, but that would go away when I get another upgrade at a discount price (in 2013).

I also noted Saturday that in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia, that Verizon’s cellular Internet service was spotty, and 3G at best.

Cellular wireless is very popular in the workplace, for workers who carry laptops to customer homes. It is also now popular in the home security business, since it has no lines that can be cut.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Road games: Your iPad is your bullpen


How good is wireless Internet on the road?

Wednesday, I tried it in three random locations in the Virginia and West Virginia border areas, using the Verizon New iPad and a Gateway Windows 7 netbook.  In one location I could not connect. In two others, it started to work after about ten minutes of patience.

I had to turn the “hotspot mode” off on the iPad, go to Safari, and wait about five minutes for the iPad Safari to find its normal Verizon Internet access (according to my own contract) from an appropriate nearby tower.  

I could then go to Settings, switch back to Hostpot on, let the iPad go to sleep once, then reawaken it, and wait for WiFi to say “On”.

Then, the Gateway Internet connection options would find the iPad, and when clicked, would offer the connection mode, which should be “Public” when on the road.
  
When you play on the road, the home team bats last and knows how many runs it needs.  You take your turns paying your dues. 

Monday, July 02, 2012

A "shocker" text from Verizon on iPad hotspot data use after DC storm


I got a bit of shock in a text message from Verizon Wireless this morning, saying that I had used a little over 1G of my iPad data limit of 2G (I had thought it was unlimited when I got it, since June 25, though the next billing date of July 25.

I started using the iPad hotspot late Friday night June 29 after the derecho knocked out cable Internet service. 

The cost for the iPad on my account was $30 a month for 2G.  I upped it to 5G for $50 pro-rated.  But I don’t see how I could have used 1G in one day.  I didn’t watch any big videos. 

The 4G service from the iPad is very efficient, almost as fast as cable.

On Saturday, June 30, thought, the service was spotty, stalling and dropping at times because Verizon had power issues with its towers.

Perhaps Carbonite auto backups are an issue, since Carbonite seems to back up a lot of unnecessary files.
I checked my history and found that Verizon recorded  1.024 gig every month since January, so it only reports in whole 1G increments.  Once a significant fraction of 1G is used, the Verizon application reports  a whole gig as in use.

I have surfed on the iPad when traveling,  including some video, and apparently not run into issues with excessive data.  I have to see if hot spot use changes the calculation.

My Droid data use is modest, a few hundred megs a month, including watching some MLB replay videos and weather channel maps and reports.  

There's a story in PC Magazine by Sascha Segan, March 21, 2012, "How to avoid burning through your iPad 4G'a data cap".  Best advice: watch the video streaming.  The link for the story is here.

The YouTube bit rate per second, linked on this story, is also helpful, here

Verizon provides a spread-sheet style analysis of each episode of iPad access, but it doesn't show up until the next day.  Times appear to be MDT.

 For what it's worth, most of my own still pictures now are small (< 200K).  There's little need for finer resolution for most ordinary blogging.