IF YOU THINK you have to depend on access to the internet while underway in Ireland, you use the mobile internet--you are not using broadband. You might be connected over 3G but that service should not be equated to the same wifi or wired broadband standard commonly discussed by others who enjoy a different standard of connectivity. I make these observations as a hard-pressed over the air advocate (OTA). I pay for 3G service from O2-Ireland and it works well as dongle internet access, even at night (see right). In fact, I cite O2-3G as the fifth most valuable piece of technology in my life for 2008. However, there are several distinguishing factors standards when you compare a one megabit wifi connection to a seven megait per second HSDPA connection. Here is what I have observed after using O2-Ireland's internet services.
When moving while connected, you will drop or decelerate. Unlike voice connectivity, you cannot expect to ride from cell to cell and maintain the same standard of connectivity. 3G cell service is not a blanket. In fact, most communities rally against overlapping 3G coverage. So while standard cellular telephone service normally overlaps, it's unusual to find strong, overlapping 3G coverage on main road or railroad routes in Ireland. This means my blue O2 logo (HSDPA) becomes green (EDGE) and then sometimes disconnects. This takes my browsing down, sometimes crashing Firefox. And these things also happen when I am sitting in one place for hours.
Slow multi-streaming. I cannot count on running several datastreams simultaneously when using O2 3G. If I try to upload a photo to Flickr, publish a blog post, download an MP3, and synchronise my podcasts, my browser either gets confused or it crashes. This happens even with the best OTA connectivity. You can run all these datastreams simultaneously with wifi but not OTA. Yet people often work with concurrent datastreams pulling information in and syncing data out. You cannot run this kind of operating environment with a typical OTA connection.
Smart, selective connectivity. It may sound as though I don't like OTA 3G--not so. I depend on 3G FTP access to work and work in the background. I use O2 3G to great effect with Online Meeting Rooms. My Nokia E90 performs admirably with several instant messaging systems working together. But these single applications do not mirror the way people work when connected to broadband during the normal shift in the office. Consequently, I think it's a misnomer--even false advertising--to consider my O2 3G service broadband. It's high-speed mobile internet access but it's certainly mudding the waters to call it broadband.
Sent mail2blog using O2-EDGE Typepad service in County Tipperary, Ireland.