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Discussion Starter #1
I've looked at the BRAT (Bell Rogers And Telus) websites, and their rates are rather high, to say the least. Wind and Mobilicity look promising. Are there any other providers. By the way, Wind's website crashed my linux system twice on Saturday evening. The second time, I couldn't even shut down gracefully with MagicSysReq. I have acouple of questions...
  1. How is their coverage and signal strength in the GTA?
  2. Do their USB mobile internet sticks work with linux?
 

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I'm with wind, so here's my input

1. I've had excellent strength everywhere I've been.
But since I'm one person and the GTA is a huge place, that doesn't mean there aren't holes :p
Something to note is basements and concrete structures are signal killers.
If you're going to be using data on the road or outside, you should be fine wherever you go. If you need access in the depths of a huge building.. maybe not.
It also helps to have a sensitive receiver. I'm not sure how the modem fares, but I know there was a huge difference in usable signal going from my samsung gravity to nexus one. Places where my samsung said no signal, my N1 hangs on (barely - 0 bars, lol) and works.

2. Good question. I just googled and some users have had success with ubuntu.
Their modem is the huawei E181, so you can check on that.

Another option is that if you have an AWS phone you know tethers easily in linux, you can use an internet-only sim in the phone. As long as the APN is correct it will work to tether.


Internet speed depends on signal. On the lowest possible connection (0 bars, aka extremely weak) I pull in about 1mbps.
Once I get 2+ bars I pretty much get full speed (~3.5mbps).
A 3G+ device might be able to get higher sync.
Upload is consistent around 650kbps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Please note, I said "mobile internet", not "tethering to a phone". One thing I managed to get off the Wind site, before it crashed my machine, was their traffic management policy http://www2.windmobile.ca/WIND Docs/ITM-Policy.pdf. The important part is...
Our data add-ons for mobile phones are optimized specifically for mobile phones and only certain ports are open: those required by our mobile phones and platforms that our data add-on service supports (See Table 1.0); note that the same will apply to a phone-tethered laptop. In our data services for laptops, all ports are open except for port 25, which is closed to mitigate email spammer activity in the Internet.
So I'll probably run into limitations, and be stuck with "standard ports only". The other thing to note is that a smartphone that supports tethering will cost me more extra than my current Virgin Mobile pay-as-you-go plan. I don't use the cell phone a lot, and don't see the point of subscribing to prepaid cell.
 

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If you use a SIM card activated on a mobile data plan (ie Infinite Laptop) rather than a voice plan with a data add-on and put it into an AWS phone and tether the ports will be open. Ports are determined by the subscribed service, not the device used to connect. You can get a SIM activated with only Infinite Laptop and put that SIM in a Huawei U7519 and tether away.

That said it's potentially slower and has a higher likelihood of problems so if you can I would strongly recommend the E181 over tethering.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you use a SIM card activated on a mobile data plan (ie Infinite Laptop) rather than a voice plan with a data add-on and put it into an AWS phone and tether the ports will be open.
Another point is that tethering still requires me to buy a non-subsidized smartphone plus a sim card plus a tethering cable, and it gets rather clunky laying it out on a table. Compare that against buying a "stick" that plugs into a USB port. I already have a "dumbphone" cellphone to do my cellular calls with.

Actually, I might do the reverse of what you suggest. I could get a netbook with a microphone and install VOIP and put phone calls through as "data". The BRATs (Bell, Rogers, And Telus) probably wouldn't like that, but I do not have a fudiciary duty to their shareholders.
 

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^^^^
WiFi tethering is avaiable on some Android phones (requires Android 2.2 or later). Again with Android, you can also tether with the same USB cable that's used for charging and data transfer.
 

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The tethering was just a suggestion if you happened to already have an AWS phone :p

And I probably wasn't clear in my explanation, but what Colin said is correct.
If you subscribe to an internet plan, you get internet access (and also texting ability if you want it - even from a computer apparently)

It doesn't matter what device the SIM is in, it is still an internet-only (+sms) sim. This gets you unrestricted access, unlike a mobile sim, which would be voice and data as a secondary add on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the input, guys. I'm finding out how much I don't know. Now I understand how people feel when I try to explain OTA to them.
 
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