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Technology Today - September 2016 - Notes
By Robert Sanborn

Last spring, I picked up a really cool traveling hotspot called the “Around Town LTE Mobile Internet” Aircard from Netgear. What I really liked about it is that it has not contract to deal with so if it takes you a year to use up the 1GB of data, then you are not paying a monthly charge for it. We used it for mostly while we were traveling on our different trips around the country to give us hot spots as we traveled and when we arrived at our various destinations. While the good news is the great plan to pay for only what you use and not matter how long it takes you to use it, the bad news is that it is on the Sprint network which can be very spotty once you leave the warm confines of a big city.

Sprint Indy

The view below shows what the coverage for data looks like in New England where we tended to spend most of our time this summer and as you can see, it is not very good at all.

Now granted, today, there are a lot of ways to take your internet with you when traveling and the newer smartphones already include that feature in their mobile hotspots you can create as you go.

Sprint NE

The biggest problem with using the cell phone is that it can be a rude awakening when you run over your data plan limit with sometimes very little warning and are hit with an expensive add on for additional data.   What I also liked about the Around Town Mobile is that you can easily check to see by a quick glance on the screen, of how much data is left, and can go online to add to it in whatever increment you like. So the execution of the idea is excellent but unfortunately, as the maps show, Sprint’s coverage is lacking.

What prompted a return to this device was that I turned it on the other day to let someone else use it and it would not power up. Plugged it in and it runs fine on the charger but as soon as I unplug it, it dies, and now it tells me the battery is not connected. So I have a call into the tech support to see if it is worth the effort to try a new battery though I see the battery replacement cost anywhere from $16 to $35. Problem is, is it the battery or the unit itself that has gone bad. Maybe tech support will give me a hint but after a week of waiting, still haven’t heard anything.

 

Netgear Around Town Mobile

Having still heard all this, if you are interested in the Aroundtown Internet, here is the link.  I checked the Newegg link but it is out of stock. Amazon has it for $129 new but Best Buy has it for just $99.

Robert Sanborn

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