Finding a alternate internet connection

In previous posts, I had talked about the portable internet setup I had come up with using the Cradlepoint CTR-35. Having just recently upgraded to an iPhone 5, I got spoiled with LTE access. Although I can enable the Personal Hotspot service add-on (hopefully without loosing my legacy unlimited data contract), I wanted to look at other options. Here is what I have found so far –

FreedomPop1) – This is a new service that seems to have come online recently. They have two different options worth looking at. The one I am leaning towards is the standard “hockey puck” device that allows up to 5 devices to be connected and have access to a LTE/WiMax connection. The interesting thing with this product offering is that once you have put a “security deposit” down for the device (which is not refunded if you keep the device for more than 12 months), you can get up to 500MB in data per month with no charge. There are two other plans where you can get higher speeds for what appears to be a reasonable monthly charge. At this point, the current device they have runs on Clear’s network. From the research I have done, they are negotiating with the other carriers for getting devices on their networks and be able to offer a similar deal. I will be doing some tests with this device.

2) – This service involves installing a piece of client software on a mac or windows computer. Once you have that done, you go to a web site with your iPhone’s browser. The next part is a little vague but as I understand it, something in that connection allows your mac/windows client to connect via your iPhone’s LTE/3G connection without resorting to hacking/jail breaking the phone. The disadvantage here is that if you have a Wifi only iPad or similar device, there isn’t a client for those devices to where you could use this option for internet access. There isn’t a trial option for this service, so unless I can get them to let me try it out and kick the tires, may not able to try this one out. This offering does have a yearly service change of $30. I have had a conversation with the folks that run this site/service. For the time being it only does WEP encryption between the iPhone and the windows or mac client. They are looking at implementing WPA2 but no timeline for that level of security.

What got me looking at this was a recent situation where I needed to come in from an external connection to verify/validate an AnyConnect VPN Connection to a Cisco ASA firewall. I also like having the option of having a backup internet option to be able to check email on my laptop while traveling without having to pay a hotel’s daily charge for internet access or just as bad, getting a connection slow enough where going to a dial up connection would be better. Will post my next entry once I have a chance to try out FreedomPop’s product offering.

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