Before I start, I'd just like to say that I'm willing to work until
you are completely satisfied with the answer. Please ask for
clarification if you have any questions.
Note: "KB" refers to kiloBYTES while "Kb" refers to kiloBITS (there
are 8 bits in a byte)
I have looked at several roaming wireless internet providers and I
have narrowed it down to a few choices for you. While a remote
connection to Windows 2003 Terminal Services has a very small
many of the wireless services available (though they have very
extensive worldwide coverage), such as GPRS or GSM, are simply too
slow and painful to use, averaging around 2-4 KB/s.
Generally, for speedy wireless internet access, your options are
limited to either satellite, cellular networks or hotspots. As
mentioned before, GPRS/GSM is probably too slow for your purpose.
Satellite is probably a tad too excessive for your needs. Satellite
internet access involves mounting a satellite dish on your techs
vehicles, providing up 1000 Kb/s download speeds anywhere in the
United States. Hot spots are likely too limiting. What you would need
is either CDMA or UMTS.
Earthlink Wireless Enhanced Access
Coverage: Fairly extensive coverage in California and most places in
northern California, over 1000 cities across the US
Speed: up to 144 Kb/s (18 KB/s, CDMA2000 1x network)
Cost: $299 for the AirCard, and from $19.95/month depending on usage
Earthlink utilizes the national 3rd generation CDMA2000 1xRTT wireless
network, providing a much needed speed boost over the older wireless
protocols. Speeds are up to twice as fast as a dial-up connection and
there are no domestic roaming charges so you only pay one price for
Based on the description of your intended us, you should not really
have that high of a bandwidth requirement and the pricier monthly fees
for higher bandwidth requirements do not apply to you. The monthly fee
is actually cheaper compared to what many of the other larger carrier
companies are offering. The $299 initial investment may seem
expensive, but most wireless hardware will set you back the same
amount. I highly recommend this solution.
Earthlink Wireless High Speed
Coverage: Over 3300 locations in over 300 cities and 43 states, with
many, many hotspots in California
Speed: up to 11 Mb/s (1375 KB/s, 802.11b protocol)
Cost: $21,95/month for unlimited usage ($39.95/month after 12 months)
or $4.95/month for one "connect day", as well as an 802.11b network
card, though most laptops have them embedded
If you know your techs are going to be near cities (and buildings such
as hotels, restaurant, airports, etc), then a better choice would
probably be Earthlink Wireless High Speed, with hotspot access. While
not as mobile as its Enhanced Access solution, it is cheaper and
faster, so it deserves consideration.
There are other companies which provide the same services that
Earthlink does, but with higher base costs. For comparison, I have
compiled an Excel sheet (http://www.maxlin.ca/tos/ga/wireless.xls)
which compares the major wireless providers. As you can see, Earthlink
is by far the best in terms of pricing.
If these solutions are not enough, may I suggest:
Ground Control Mobile Satellite
Coverage: Literally everywhere in the US
Speed: 400 Kb/s (basic plan)
Cost: $99/month + setup/hardware
Utilizes a satellite network to provide blazingly fast internet
anywhere in the United States. Requires a satellite be mounted on your
techs vehicles. Like I said before, this is probably excessive, but if
you want coverage everywhere, then this solution provides that. More
information can be found at
Other, slower alternatives include utilizing the GSM/GPRS network.
They are, however, much more inexpensive, with unlimited internet
access for about $29.99/month and similar coverage area
If your are willing to wait however, trial runs of a new network
protocol, UMTS, are being run in Atlanta, which will provide speeds up
to 384 Kb/s while remaining extremely mobile (PC Card)
(http://www.novatelwireless.com/pcproducts/index.html). The service
should be publicly available soon.
In conclusion, I highly recommend Earthlink Wireless Enhanced Access
as the solution to your problem. If you have any questions, feel free
to ask for clarification.