Wednesday, February 2, 2011

USB Modems

I was recently asked about the reliability of 4G USB Modems such as the LG VL600  or the Pantech UML290 as a replacement for Broadband, especially in areas that have intermittent cable connections or slow DSL.

I asked my staff about their experience with USB Modems in general and here is what they said:

"I have had very good luck with the Verizon 3G service.     The coverage and performance has been good but my experience is limited to the north of the city. I have not tested the 4G service yet.    I do know that all of the towers in the greater Boston area received all new equipment within the last 6 months to support the 4G and they upgraded the land line circuits to support increased demand by a minimum of 3 fold and more in some locations.    It turns out it was the schedule of the land line upgrades the controlled the 4G roll out schedule."

"I use the Verizon 3G service for remote connectivity. I have had two of the USB versions of the device and moved to the MiFi version about 9 months ago. I use it daily to work on the train and other locations for at least 2 hours a day.

I find it very useable but there are areas of low/no signal. The device works via USB or wireless and lets up to 5 users/devices connect via the 3G.

I find it most useful for heavy Internet use and remote access to my work desktop. It is not very useful for video viewing unless you cache and then play them.  It is fine for email, Internet searching and working on / moving office files.

4G is available in the Boston area but I will need to get another device to take advantage of this upgrade.  The 4G performance should be better (at least twice as fast at this time). Pricing on 4G seems the same as 3G and the USB modems  will switch to 3G if/when 4G is not available. "

There you have it - 3G and 4G USB Modems and MiFi are credible alternatives for some uses when Broadband is not available.   One of our clinician sites is in a location with very poor access to any ISP.   We are now investigating the possibility of using 4G as the internet connection for that office as part of implementing our software as a service electronic health record.


Jesus Vasquez said...

I have a 4g phone with a wifi hotspot option. This allows me to use my phone as a hotspot and connect my laptop as needed via VPN to the office to do work where ever I have cell reception. I lost DSL access last week during a winter storm. I had to use my phone as an emergency connection and it worked pretty well.

Rich Forsyth said...

I resell this tech, and I just setup a store with a 4G modem. This was nice as I was able to provision both internet and VOIP for new location all without having local teclo running new connections from their lines. Saved time and headaches, and if this location doesn't work and we need to move it, we just box everything up and move it. Nothing to disconnect with local teclo, just move the modem to the new location and it just works.

The signal could be better at times, but I will blame to snow for now.

Rich from under the snow in Cleveland

Lauri S said...

I'd be interested to hear your decision re: 4G wireless for a medical practice's connection to its records. I would be particularly concerned about loss of connectivity.