What is it: a high-speed GSM data card
Applications: for cellular Web browsing and file transfer
In theory, cellular data cards seem like a great idea because they allow you to access email, the Internet and the company network, wherever you are. However, there is one major problem - they just aren't fast enough to be of any real use. They are very slow at handling data - 9,600bits/sec compared to the average modem speed of 28,800bits/sec.
Motorola hopes to change this situation with Digital Data Fast (DDF), which uses some rather nifty V.42bis compression techniques to produce speeds of up to 36,000bits/sec. However, there are a few drawbacks - the transfer speed depends on the type and size of files being sent, and how easy they are to compress.
The Cellect-2 comes with the relevant cables, and installs itself automatically under Windows 95. The version tested also has a built-in 28,800bits/sec landline modem, although there is a digital cellular-only version on the market for u399. The card requires a Motorola phone, so we tested the system with a Motorola International 8400 GSM.
Once everything is plugged in, operation is easy. Everything works just like a normal GSM modem, except that it's much faster. The speed boost really is noticeable, particularly when browsing the Web, which is at last feasible using a cellular phone.
Obviously the increase in speed varies according to the type of file.
For instance, there is no performance improvement with JPEGs as they are already compressed, and transmitting text files achieves the most dramatic speed increase.
In this system, the card is actually compressing the data, which means the data packets travelling through the GSM network are still sent at only 9,600bits/sec.
High-speed cellular cards are particularly useful for remote working: sales staff on the road can retrieve from their office PCs, database and sales documents which are often too large for a slower connection.
Until now, the main advantage of cellular data has been to keep in touch, via email only. With this package, real remote working is possible, so users should soon be able to work from anywhere in Europe at speeds which allow them to use the company network at a reasonable pace.
This product is not the be-all and end-all of cellular data. It is almost a stopgap until networks are upgraded. But for companies that already have users with data cards, or that are planning to use them, it is well worth a look.
Verdict: a great product, especially if you need cellular data for more than just email.
Contact: Communicate on 01344 291294
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