Mobile Networking - 3G? GPRS? WIFI? or ..........?

  petescully 18:02 16 Aug 2005

I'm looking for a solution for an organisation, that has advisors visiting rural areas (village halls,etc.) that needs access to the internet for connecting to their databases via VPN.

I guess I'm asking can anyone suggest a reliable method of connecting to the internet, that is accessible in 5 fixed locations for different advisors, relatively quick (bandwidth), (ideally cheap - but not essential), available in rural areas.

The current solution is a pay-as-you-go dial up account - 56k analog connection.

Many thanks for your comments, suggestions and recommendations.

  Taff36 07:57 17 Aug 2005

The 56K dial up is the cheapest option but obviously isn`t particularly quick. It is also the most reliable for your situation. I use GPRS via bluetooth on my mobile phone when I have no other option - it is expensive though for anything more than occasional use because you pay for the download (viewing) of every page in MB`s. For example: click here

Right at the bottom "O2 Active via GPRS is charged at rate of £2.35 per MB. 1MB is equivalent to browsing 150-200 pages, dependent on content. Minimum charge per page 1p."

I find it is difficult to relate to this tarriff because it is dependant on content. The last time I measured it on my bill (Not on the above tariff by the way) it cost me £2.95 for half an hour surfing. I suggest you check out other providers charges.

One other concern is how remote are these village halls? Can you guarantee mobile signals in all locations for each of your advisors mobiles?

  petescully 09:40 17 Aug 2005

Not sure, but as far as I know its ok for standard mobile calls. I've looked at 3g, and its now-where near possible, due to the coverage - or rather lack of it.

How do you find the download speeds of GPRS? Are they an improvement over 56k?

  Taff36 09:44 17 Aug 2005

Yes they are but quite frankly a 56K connection isn`t far behind, so much depends on the phone line. At home my 56K actually works at only 28K whereas somewhere else I get over 40K. Is speed really that critical? What are the advisors doing - filling in the database or selling something that needs access to the database?

  petescully 10:28 17 Aug 2005

I've read anything up to 144kb/s on GPRS but also as low as 64kb/s. They're on 56k at the moment, but they want quicker. At their offices they use 512kb/s, and their database is at about 2mb/s, which they are currently.... content with. 3G sounds perfect - if only it had the coverage.

Or looking at installing ADSL WIFI hotspots in these locations with the intention of shared funding and improved access for remote vilages... - I don't think that would catch on though. All I can do is propose it.

They are accessing (primarily) one database, running searches, and filling in client information. Occasionally downloading the odd word document from their offices.

I've spent some time looking at options, I know there aren't many. It would just be nice to hear about a new technology answering all our problems.

Thanks for responses taff, I'll leave it open and see if anyone knows of any other options.

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