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Huwaei E220 HSDPA USB Modem

I donít know about you, but my ISP is not very reliable. I does provide a fairly good service most of time. However I browse the web for a living and ďmost of the timeĒ is not enough for me. When my internet connection goes down, I canít work and if I donít work, I donít make money. As simple as that. I also trade shares on Wall Street and waiting for my ADSL connection to come back is not an option when I urgently need to buy or sell shares. It could simply cost me a huge amount of money.

I therefore decided that I needed a backup internet connection I could use whenever my primary ISP goes down. Ideally it should be a wireless connection so that I can still connect to the internet if the water company bulldozes my phone line or if some thieves sell my copper pair to China.

I opted for a GSM modem. It provides 1.8MB of bandwidth and I can easily switch between the ADSL connection and the GSM modem in a matter of seconds.

Only problem is that my house has thick concrete walls and metal windows and the GSM signal is fairly weak inside my home office. A weak signal translates into a bandwidth much lower than the nominal 1.8MB advertized by the GSM company. It also means frequent disconnection and that can be really problematic when you are logged on a secure server or when chatting on Skype. Besides, I am a bit paranoid about GSM radiations and I donít like the idea of having a GSM modem lying on my desk and slowly frying my precious brain several hours a day.

I therefore decided to install the GSM modem outside my house on the balcony. I used my mobile phone to find out where on the balcony the GSM signal was strongest. That sweet spot is more than 5 meters away from my computer and as you probably know a USB cable canít be more than 5 meters long. I therefore bought 2 USB cable and a USB hub that I used as repeater to refresh the USB signal. Given the technical constraints, I had no other choice but to hang the USB hub on a wall in the master bedroom. I didnít tell anything to my wife and she didnít notice the eyesore for a whole month but when she finally noticed the dangling hub, she could see it even when sleeping. I really had a hard time explaining to her why I couldnít survive without that ugly piece of junk.

In order to protect the GSM modem from the rain, I built a neat little watertight enclosure made of PVC piping and a cable gland. I then used a piece of large PVC trunking to shield the enclosure from the early morning sun rays.







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