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One Month with the Sierra Aircard 860 with Cingular 3G

May 27, 2006

Sunday April 23rd
It took 45 minutes to buy the card. Most of that time was spent answering questions for the Cingular sales person and watching him manually enter the data “data they already have as I am a 15 year Cingular customer. I pass the time by watching people 3 deep buy Razrs.
The Sierra Aircard 860
Captured the card and took it home. After a 5 minute install and I can see the network but it will not connect. Switch to WiFi and get an added bonus – Outlook will not check POP email. Cingular is blocking something. Spent two hours reading through forums and doing an upgrade of the firmware in the card. Same problems.

Monday, April 24th
Took the card and the PC to Cingular. Got laughed at for using the included software -“The Cingular stuff doesn’t work, go download the Watcher utility from the Sierra web site” Did a system restore and installed the Sierra Watcher software. Still can not connect, but can collect POP email. Took it to Cingular again, but the no one in the store knew anything about the card. More people buying Razrs. Another hour trolling through support boards looking for the solution.

Tuesday April 25th
Took it to Cingular again. The manager took one look at my dbase record and sheepishly admitted the clerk had not activated my card. 30 seconds later, it works – really well.

Wednesday and Thursday, April 25 & 26
Never loses connection during 8 straight hours of RSS demos in the bowels of the Moscone. And it’s fast!

Friday April 27
Moving offices on Monday so call SBC/AT&T to makes sure the order for internet service to our new office is on track. It’s not. The rep did not put in the order (nice job, “Gary” of SBC’s Torrance office). Install 3G card on old Vaio and use Windows internet connections sharing out the eithernet adaptor to a router to provide wifi to the new office space. A terrific short term solution, although the engineers complain of slow uploads for doing builds. Probably violating some terms of service, but given the amount of my time they wasted this week, we can call it even.

Saturday May 6
For inexplicable reasons, coach makes my daughter arrive an hour early for her soccer game. Rather than flipping through magazines, I get work done. Nice. No noticeable drain on battery.

Monday May 15
Off to New York for the Syndicate Conference. Works well in San Jose Airport. Arrive at lousy hotel, where the “free” WiFi costs $10 a day. The Cingular sales rep had said that 3G won’t be fully deployed in New York till the end of the year. I fire up the 3G cards and get nothing. Not even Edge. Try it at an agency meeting across town and get nothing. Try it at a partner meeting downtown and get nothing. New York, not a Cingular 3G kind of town.

Conclusion – it’s magic when it works, but Cingular has a long ways to go with thier network and their customer service.

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