Friday, November 27, 2009

Pay-as-you-go mobile broadband

Because of some recent internet provider issues (see previous post) I found myself in urgent short-term need of some mobile broadband.  I don't really require it often enough to justify the $60 a month fee that is typical for most plans.  So I picked up a Broadband2Go USB stick, which allows for pay-as-you-go broadband.  You buy a certain amount of data (e.g., 250 MB) and you have a certain amount of time to use it in (e.g., 30 days).  You don't pay again until the next time you need to use it.  Ran into a couple of problems.

The first was that somebody apparently registered the card I originally purchased and then returned it.  The cards can only be registered once, so I had to return the card for a new one.  After that, registration went fine.

The second had to do with VPN.  Normal internet access worked fine.  VPN with a Nortel IPSec client worked well also.  However, when I attempted to VPN into another network using the Microsoft PPTP client, I recieved a 721 error message - indicating that the connection may not support GRE packet traffic.

That last one is a bit of a killer.  If I get it resolved, I'll follow up with another post.  If I do, the pay-as-you-go plan will definitely be worth it.  If not, the stick is another candidate for the technology scrap heap.  At least I'm not stuck with a year long plan and a monthly fee.

Who knows.  Sprint just bought out Virgin Mobile, which supplied the plan.  Perhaps Sprint will manage to get the VPN issue straightened out.




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