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Mark Atwood
I don't trust this... "Sierra Wireless Connect 881U"
I got a piece of blow-in spam from AT&T, they went to sell me a "Sierra Wireless USB Connect 881U" device. On first glance, it looks kinda cool, a USB modem for GSM GPRS/EDGE.

On the other hand, it requires a huge download and install of "special" client software.

Yeah, "special". Short-bus special, I'm sure.

All the software it should need to install is, well, nothing at all. Either provide a network USB interface, and/or a serial USB interface speaking PPP.

That it does not, makes me suspect strongly that they are utterly without clue, and cannot be trusted.

Does anyone reading this use this device? Is my mistrust accurate?
4 comments or Leave a comment
rhonan From: rhonan Date: February 19th, 2008 03:54 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I don't know the GSM version, but I'm familiar with the Sierra Wireless CDMA cards. I assume that like the cards, they unload some of the processing onto the laptop's processor, much like a Winmodem. There is actually a lot more to a cellular connection than a dial up. I also know that cellular networks want to account for every billable second. So it does not surprise me that there would be a proprietary software to load.
ladyallyn From: ladyallyn Date: February 19th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Not using that particular model, but have used both the USB and PCI versions of the device. Downloading the most current software has provided good connectivity in places where we didn't otherwise have it, so overall experience is good.

VASTLY better, by orders of magnitude, than my Verizon broadband aircard... which was never up to broadband and rarely on the air (USB or PCI version).
From: pir Date: February 19th, 2008 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)
I've only used similar things in Europe, I've got a 3.5G HSPDA modem from work. It had a fairly big software app... which only gets used to set up the device initially, after that I just use the OSX dialer. The modem also works on my Eee PC with no extra drivers.

Seems to depend on the device, some need lots of host side software to use it at all, others just have a big application that's mostly (terrible) UI to let you pick which cell network you're connecting to and give you pretty indicators of signal strength and throughput so you can ignore it.
mauser From: mauser Date: February 20th, 2008 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
My knowledge is a bit out of date, but I have to agree with the assessment that it's probably just the radio hardware in the device, and the actual protocol stack lives on the PC. I know that was something we had an issue with on the Palm/Phone we were working on all those years ago....

(Also, the Stack was crap, but everyone used it because nobody wanted to invest in making a better one because one existed already, even if it was crap. Management can be so short-sighted.)
4 comments or Leave a comment