For some time, I have dreamed of having high speed Internet access from anywhere. I have seen other people use different types of high speed cellular data cards, but never had an opportunity to use one myself until this week. Last March, when I co-presented with several others at the SITE conference in San Antonio about the K-12 Online Conference, one of our team used a Cingular (now AT&T) 3G wireless data card to not only get online but also bring Darren Kuropatwa into our presentation via Skype. The card’s Internet access was fast and slick. I loved it.

This week as I’ve been here in Honolulu as part of the “Oklahoma Digital Learning Project – 2007 Hawaii” team, I had my first opportunity to play with a cellular wireless high speed Internet access device. Because AT&T cellular towers in the Honolulu area have not yet been upgraded to 3G speeds, I was not able to use an AT&T wireless card. Instead, one of the US Navy IT professionals helping support our videoconferencing efforts obtained a Verizon Wireless USB720 Modem. I have been delighted at its ease of use as well as platform compatibility: It has worked seamlessly on both my HP laptop running Windows XP as well as my MacBook running OS 10.5. We have NOT had to use the card for videoconferencing during our actual distance learning project, but it has still been informative to test it’s capabilities. Currently, I’m using it to write this blog post from my HP laptop, as I’m downloading a 243 MB archived mp4 video file of our videoconference today so I can edit, compress, and re-post it online. This wireless data card is enabling me to both post images to Flickr as well as post this blog entry. Very cool.

I did use the card earlier in the week to iChat videoconference back with Lance Ford in Howe, Oklahoma. The available speed of the network on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was fast enough to connect to an iChat videoconference, but not sustain it with acceptable quality. The image pixelated regularly, and in a short period of time I had to reconnect three different times after the iChat conference disconnected because of insufficient bandwith availability.

Despite those limitations, it is REALLY cool to have (at least for a few days) access to a cellular high speed wireless Internet connection in addition to the hotel connection. Here is the bandwidth I’m getting on the device this evening from the hotel, which is comparable to what I was able to get both upstream and downstream from Pearl Harbor earlier in the week:

Verizon USB720 Wireless card bandwidth

I am particularly impressed that people can buy this device and rather than pay on a contract basis, pay on a “per use” and “as needed” basis. That really appeals to me, since I wouldn’t always need to have access to the web via a celluar network connection. Most of the time I can use available wifi networks, but there ARE some times it would be handy to have Internet access when wifi is not available. It would be nice to just have to pay fro this service when I needed it, rather than assuming I’d need it all the time and want to pay for being able to use it every day.

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on

On this day..

Share →

One Response to Impressed with Verizon USB data modem

  1. Bob says:

    Just to let you know, from Engadget Mobile:

    AT&T launches 3G in Hawaii, last reason not to live there eliminated

    Posted Nov 12th 2007 5:32PM by Chris Ziegler
    Filed under: ATT, GSM, HSDPA, UMTS
    We don’t typically report on Verizon launching EV-DO in some random market here or AT&T launching HSDPA in some other random market over there, but we figured this was a story worth picking up on. AT&T has now launched its 3G network services on the beautiful island of Oahu, striking down just one more reason why any human being might consider not living (or visiting) there.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Sharing from Matthews, North Carolina! Connect with Wes on Mastodon.