My son, Alexander, and I are in the Chicago-Midway airport awaiting our flight to Washington D.C. This is the second trip I’ve taken with my AT&T Sierra Wireless network laptop card, and I’m delighted to report we’ve been able to successfully share the Internet connection between our laptops! (I’m calling this a “card” but it really isn’t… Macbooks don’t come with PC Card slots, so this “device” plugs into an open USB port.)

AT&T Sierra Wireless USB Laptop Connection Card on my MacBook

I’m running a Macbook with OS 10.5 Leopard, but because Alexander’s Macbook Pro is 5 years old and just has 256 MB of RAM, he can’t run OS 10.4 Tiger which is required for the Sierra Watcher software. Running OS 10.3 Panther, he CAN (of course) connect to WiFi hotspots, including “shared” WiFi connections. The Macintosh operating system makes it easy to share an Internet connection you are using on one port (like wired ethernet) to another port (like airport.) In this case, I’m sharing the AT&T wireless network connection (the card is physically plugged into my laptop with USB) to Alexander as a shared WiFi network. I’ve made this somewhat secure (at least to casual web-surfers who are here in the airport gate area) by adding a simple WEP password to the connection.

Sharing an AT&T cell network wireless connection

The actual downstream and upstream bandwidth we’re sharing here is not fantastic, since it is an EDGE (2G) rather than 3G connection. I do not know what the status of the AT&T 3G network upgrades are here in the Chicago area, but at least for the location where we are now at Chicago-Midway only an EDGE connection is available.

Bandwidth on AT&T EDGE from Chicago Midway

I’m hoping there will be a much faster 3G network connection available in Washington D.C. this week. If so, we’re hoping to do some live broadcasting over Ustream from the memorials, museums, and other sights in the D.C. area. I’ll be updating on Twitter throughout the week, and announcing live broadcasts via Twitter if we are able to share those. At a minimum, I’m hoping to live-stream my presentations at COSN on Monday afternoon about copyright and using cell phones for learning. I’ll post the session times and descriptions next in another post. 🙂

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2 Responses to Sharing a cell phone network Internet connection

  1. Pat says:

    I just got a Verizon Broadband thingy that is a usb connector. I never thought about ustreaming our upcoming trip but thanks for the idea!

  2. Brian Crosby says:

    Wes – I have the Verizon Card and I bought a Kyocera wireless card router to share it with my students from time to time … not all my students but 2 to 6 at a time. Looking forward to Ustreaming from field trips and conventions and the like soon.

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