Broadband to Go

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Getting Started With EvDO

Setting up Verizon's VZAccess PC Card is a snap. After installing a small application from a CD-ROM and sliding in the card, you gain access to the network via a quick activation process. Assuming that you're setting up where you have a decent EvDO signal, you should be up and running in less than 5 minutes.

The VZAccess Manager software isn't entirely intuitive, but you'll probably have no need to use it except to double-click the program icon and to click Connect to hop on the network. Logging on never took us more than 10 seconds--faster by far than connecting to any Wi-Fi network. We were then able to use our notebooks as if they were connected via Wi-Fi or wires.

But one of the first things our testers noticed was that network speeds varied dramatically. When we were able to sustain downloads, speeds typically ranged from 300 to 500 kbps--but in some cases they soared to 2.5 mbps, and in others we weren't able to connect at all. Some Web pages loaded in seconds in one location, while in another we had to wait for up to 3 minutes. Move a few feet closer to an exterior wall, though, and you could be back to a blazing connection. This is fine if you're bumming around the house, but it's a different story if you're stuck in a location where you can't easily move a few feet in hopes of snagging a better signal.

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