I had my first experiences with a USB-based cell phone data access card this past December in Pearl Harbor when I helped facilitate our USS Oklahoma Memorial Dedication Videoconferencing and Digital Learning Project. That was a real “a-ha” moment for me. Although in that particular location (the center of Pearl Harbor) on that particular cell network, the upstream bandwidth was NOT sufficient to support an interactive videoconference with either iChat AV or Skype— the ability to simply plug a USB device into my laptop and get online was STUNNING. This is the future. Anywhere, anytime connectivity.

Today, that dream is alive for me at the 2008 Oklahoma Technology Association’s annual conference, thanks to a generous (and regrettably short-term) loan from the amazing Lance Ford from Howe Public Schools. Lance has been using a USB Sierra Wireless 881 card from AT&T Wireless. Students in Howe schools are creating a new virtual field trip about their local area, and are exploring (literally) the bleeding age of rural connectivity. This is the Internet Frog Speed test bandwidth result for my connectivity here in downtown Oklahoma City on the AT&T 3G network:

Bandwidth over AT&T 3G Cell Network in Oklahoma Bandwidth over AT&T 3G Cell Network in Oklahoma City today

Not bad! 🙂 After a quick download from a wired connection in one of the presentation rooms here at the conference of the “Sierra Watcher” application for Mac OS X, my laptop connected immediately to the Internet. I am SO THRILLED to be online during the conference!

Unfortunately, for some inexplicable reason, Cox Communications does NOT provide FREE wireless access for conference participants hosted in THEIR facility, the Cox Convention Center in downtown OKC.

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