Mobile & Wireless UPDATEbrought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network
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(below MOBILE & WIRELESS PERSPECTIVES)


SPONSOR: LIVE NETIQ AUDIOCAST

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January 30, 2003—In this issue:

1. MOBILE & WIRELESS PERSPECTIVES

  • GPRS Moving Violation?

2. MOBILE & WIRELESS NEWS & VIEWS

  • Test-Drive a Tablet PC
  • Free Downloads for Your Tablet PC

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Back By Popular Demand—Don't Miss Our PacWest Security Road Show!
  • Microsoft ASP.NET Connections

4. INSTANT POLL

  • Results of Previous Poll: PDA Synchronization
  • New Instant Poll: Essential PDA Features

5. RESOURCE

  • Event Highlight: 802.11 Planet Conference and Expo 2003

6. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Ensure Connection Capability in SOHO Environments
  • Access and Modify Server Data in Realtime

7. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.


1. MOBILE & WIRELESS PERSPECTIVES
(contributed by John D. Ruley, jruley@winnetmag.com)

  • GPRS MOVING VIOLATION?

  • I've mentioned in past columns that I'm a private pilot and that I use a Palm VIIx for receiving weather radar data in the air. Bob Anderson, a developer working on an advanced version of the same service, recently told me a fascinating story that might have implications for ground-based users. In brief, he found that General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) doesn't work well when a device is moving.

    Anderson was trying to use GPRS instead of the low-bandwidth Mobitex network that Palm VIIx and Palm i705 devices use. (With the additional bandwidth, he expected to deliver color imagery and support Pocket PCs.) He discovered that although GPRS gave him high-bandwidth connections on the ground (provided a GPRS tower is in range), it didn't deliver any connection in the air. Worse, he encountered the same problem while traveling by car. "I drove Interstate 5 from Washington state to Southern California," Anderson said, "but during the entire trip I was able to complete only one data transaction while the car was moving."

    Anderson isn't alone in his findings: A quick Web search turned up a report that states, "Poor TCP behavior is reported for connections that are used in motion." For more information, see the following URL. (The document at this URL is a raw postscript file that's best viewed by using Google's text-translation capability.)

    These findings aren't entirely surprising. Radio transmission from moving objects such as airplanes and cars is subject to "shadowing and multipath fading, particularly when one of the terminals is in motion," according to T.S. Rappaport's "Wireless Communications: Principles & Practice" (Prentice Hall, 1995).

    However, obtaining a workable network connection from a moving vehicle is certainly possible. I regularly use the low-bandwidth Mobitex network on my Palm VIIx and have also used a Cellular Digital Packet Data (CDPD) modem to achieve much higher-bandwidth connections than Mobitex—both on the ground and in the air. The document at this URL discusses a San Diego State University experiment in which an 802.11 connection (at Ethernet data rates) was established between an airplane and a ground station.

    If technologies as disparate as Mobitex, CDPD, and 802.11 work, why doesn't GPRS? One possible answer is that GPRS is designed to share bandwidth with digital voice signals, which can reduce the signal strength available for high-bandwidth digital connections. GPRS might also be vulnerable to radio-frequency noise sources—for example, the magneto-based ignition system common in small airplanes or a radar detector in your car.

    Also worth noting is that in the United States, GPRS is a new technology with limited coverage. A friend who recently spent a week in Europe told me that Web access for GPRS worked for him "nine times out of ten," when he was both on the move and stationary. (However, he also said that the data rate was highly variable.) GPRS in the United States might simply be undergoing "teething troubles."

    If you've had experience with GPRS—positive or negative—write to me at jruley@ainet.com. Much rides on this technology: Microsoft and Palm are both betting on GPRS in their latest wireless products!


    SPONSOR: MICROSOFT MOBILITY TOUR

    TIME IS RUNNING OUT TO JOIN THE MICROSOFT MOBILITY TOUR!
    Brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, this outstanding seven-city event will help support your growing mobile workforce! Industry guru Paul Thurrott discusses the coolest mobility hardware solutions around, demonstrates how to increase the productivity of your "road warriors" with the unique features of Windows XP and Office XP, and much more. There is no charge for these live events, but space is limited so register today!


    2. MOBILE & WIRELESS NEWS & VIEWS
    (contributed by John D. Ruley, jruley@winnetmag.com)

  • TEST-DRIVE A TABLET PC

  • Microsoft and its partners are running a promotion in which you can test Tablet PCs from Acer, Motion Computing, Toshiba, and ViewSonic at the airports of several major US cities: Boston; Chicago; Denver; Dallas; Newark, New Jersey; and St. Louis. For more information, go to the following URL.
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/tabletpc/airport.asp

  • FREE DOWNLOADS FOR YOUR TABLET PC

  • Already own a Tablet PC (or work with someone who does)? Microsoft has several free downloads available, including Windows Journal Viewer, which lets non-Tablet PC users access Journal files; PowerToys; and the Office XP Pack for Tablet PC. For more information, go to the following URL.
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/tabletpc/downloads/default.asp

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND—DON'T MISS OUR PACWEST SECURITY ROAD SHOW!

  • If you missed last year's popular security road show event, now is your chance to catch it again in Portland, Oregon, and Redmond. Learn from experts Mark Minasi and Paul Thurrott about how to shore up your system's security and what desktop security features are planned for Microsoft .NET and beyond. Registration is free, so sign up now!

  • MICROSOFT ASP.NET CONNECTIONS

  • Microsoft ASP.NET Connections + Visual Studio .NET Connections + SQL Server Magazine Connections equals the largest gathering of Microsoft product architects and independent technology gurus. Four days of hard-core drill-down sessions. The Microsoft product team delivers 35 of the more than 100 in-depth sessions. This conference will save you months of trial and error. Go to http://www.devconnections.com

    4. INSTANT POLL

  • RESULTS OF PREVIOUS POLL: PDA SYNCHRONIZATION

  • The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's Mobile & Wireless Solutions nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How often do you synchronize your PDA?" Here are the results from the 73 votes:
      - 77% At least once per day
      - 11% Every 2 or 3 days
      -  7% Weekly
      -  3% Monthly
      -  3% Never

    (Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

  • NEW INSTANT POLL: ESSENTIAL PDA FEATURES

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "Which feature most influenced your choice of PDA?" Go to the Mobile & Wireless Solutions Web site and submit your vote for a) Brand/OS, b) Memory/expandability, c) Wireless connectivity, d) Size/weight, or e) Color display.
    http://www.mobile-and-wireless.com

    5. RESOURCE

  • EVENT HIGHLIGHT: 802.11 PLANET CONFERENCE AND EXPO 2003

  • March 14, 2003
    Tokyo

    At 802.11 Planet Conference & Expo 2003, 802.11 industry experts and business innovators converge to exchange ideas and strategies and chart new paths through this transforming technological landscape. Learn how to build a high-gain antenna, a turnkey wireless LAN (WLAN) installation, and a multihop network. Learn about security, public markets, multimode networking, and value to the enterprise. For more information, go to the following URL.
    http://www.jupiterevents.com/80211/tokyo03/index.html

    For other upcoming events, check out the Windows & .NET Magazine Event Calendar.

    6. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com)

  • ENSURE CONNECTION CAPABILITY IN SOHO ENVIRONMENTS

  • SMC Networks announced the Barricade Turbo Universal Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband Router. This wireless router lets small office/home office (SOHO) installations receive local networking and broadband connections. The router offers built-in 5GHz 802.11a, 54Mbps wireless Access Point (AP) technology, and the flexibility for configuration as a 2.4GHz 802.11b, 11/22Mbps autosensing wireless cardbus adapter. The Barricade Turbo Universal Wireless Cable/DSL Broadband Router costs $299.99. Contact SMC Networks at 949-679-8000 or 800-762-4968.
    http://www.smc.com/

  • ACCESS AND MODIFY SERVER DATA IN REALTIME

  • SYWARE announced mEnable, wireless software that lets mobile users access and modify server data in realtime. The software now supports Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, so any applications written in C++, Visual Basic (VB), embedded Visual C++, eMbedded VB (eVB), and Visual Studio .NET can wirelessly read from or write to any ODBC-enabled data source including Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, Oracle, and Sybase databases. mEnable runs on most mobile handheld units, including laptops and all devices running Windows CE. Pricing for mEnable with 10 runtime licenses is $499. Contact SYWARE at 617-497-1300 or info@syware.com.
    http://www.syware.com

    7. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT MOBILE AND WIRELESS PERSPECTIVES — jruley@winnetmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — jbovberg@winnetmag.com
      (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@winnetmag.com
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR MOBILE & WIRELESS UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Email Customer Support — mobile_&_wirelessupdate@winnetmag.com
    • WANT TO SPONSOR MOBILE & WIRELESS UPDATE? emedia_opps@winnetmag.com