Alexander and I are in Albany, New York, tonight, we just flew up after school today so he can tour Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute tomorrow and Olin College in Massachusetts on Friday. Friday morning I’ll be sharing my 4th closing keynote with educators in India over videoconference, but I won’t be using my speedy home cable modem (100 Mbps down / 20 Mbps up) or my H.323 hardware. Instead I’ll be using cell phone tethering on my iPhone via AT&T’s LTE network, and Vivo Meeting Cloud Video Conferencing on my Macbook Air laptop.
Here’s why I’m relieved to have tethering enabled on my iPhone 6S and LTE network connectivity. Our hotel wifi here in Albany is ridiculously slow. According to speedtest.net, I’m getting less than 5 Mbps down and not even 0.5 Mbps upstream. That’s not enough to use for videoconferencing.
On the local AT&T LTE network, however, via iPhone tethering, I’m able to get over 40 Mbps down and 3.5 Mbps upstream. This should work fine for videoconferencing.
I’m reminded of 2007, when I facilitated a videoconference back to Oklahoma classrooms from Pearl Harbor, for the dedication of the USS Oklahoma Memorial on Ford Island. At that time, Honolulu still had EDGE speed cellular data networks, 3G was not yet rolled out. Our team had to buy a 100′ ethernet cable at the local Circuit City so we could connect to a cable modem used by the firemen in their firehouse on Ford Island, and then connect our Tandberg Videoconferencing gear in the garage of the firehouse with the USS Missouri battleship immediately behind as a backdrop.
When the actual Memorial dedication ceremony took place later that week, we didn’t have electrical outlets and ethernet connectivity close enough to position our videoconference unit camera by the stage. Streaming with a service like Ustream or Periscope wasn’t possible yet, because of the EDGE cellular data connection speeds. (Those particular services hadn’t yet been invented yet, either.) We were just emerging from the “stone age of cellular connectivity.” My what a difference 8 years makes in our “modern” technological era.
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