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
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.