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By Chris De Herrera 
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New Wireless Connections for the Pocket PC
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2000
 Revised November 13, 2000
As published on Microsoft's Website

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Until recently, wireless was viewed as a step back in performance compared to dialing up to the Internet. Speeds ranged from 9600 to 19200 bits per second, however now with Ricochet you can go much faster!

Ricochet Offers High Speed Wireless

Big News! On Monday November 13, Metricom announced that its Ricochet wireless network would support PC card connections to their new 128 Kbps wireless service in 21 major cities in the United States. This PC card modem from Sierra Wireless called the AirCard 400 will allow iPAQ Pocket PC users with PC card jackets to connect to the Internet service providers OmniSky and Go America. This solution is expected to be available during the first quarter of 2001.

This high speed wireless connection feels faster than 56 Kbps dial-up modem connection. Since you are connected all the time through this service you can use it to pickup e-mail and surf the Web wherever you are without worrying about additional charges. I hope that the monthly price will be less than the existing 128 Kbps service which is approximately U.S. $75.00.

Figure 1: iPAQ Pocket PC with Sierra AirCard 400 Connected to the Internet.

Enfora PocketSpider Offers CDPD Support

Enfora (formerly known as Nextcell) is demonstrating their new PocketSpider CompactFlash CDPD modem. CDPD (Cellular Digital Packet Data) is a nationwide standard for wireless service in the U.S. Transmissions speeds for CDPD at this writing operate at 19,200 bits per second. Since it is CompactFlash™ type I you can use Pocket Spider in any Pocket PC with a CompactFlash slot. The PocketSpider has a built-in battery so it will not drain your Pocket PCs battery while you use it. The battery is designed to last 8 hours. The PocketSpider will be available at the end of November from selected retailers.

Figure 2: Casio E-125 with Enfora PocketSpider connected to the Internet.

Novatel Wireless Minstrel 540

Hewlett Packard and Novatel Wireless worked together to crate their Minstrel 540, which supports the CDPD standard. The Minstrel 540 has its own battery so that you won’t drain your Pocket PCs while you surf the ‘Net. This solution leaves your CompactFlash slot available for other uses while you browse the Internet. HP has announced service with Omnisky or GoAmerica with pricing of the unit at U.S. $349.00 and U.S. $39.95 per month for wireless service.


Figure 3: A sample of the wireless hardware solutions supported on the Pocket PC:

The availability of these new wireless solutions greatly expands your options in the Pocket PC support for various wireless standards and transmission speeds -- from CDMA, GSM, and IEEE 802.11B to CDPD, and now the high speed Ricochet network. With all of these options you have the widest variety to choose from in wireless of any PDA on the market.

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