False msafiri 69 LOOK OUT FOR: WIMAX The next-generation of Wi- Fi, WiMax offers slightly slower speeds, but can spread its SIGNALS up to five miles. That means less hassle finding a hotspot, and wider broadband coverage across large areas. It’s perfect for Africa, and will catapult online connections into even the most remote areas. Wi- Fi If you’ve got a laptop, you’re ready to connect using Wi- Fi. Unfortunate-ly, you’ll need to be within range of a hotspot, and they typically only reach 10 metres from the base station. That said, if you’re within range, Wi- Fi is incredibly fast. It’s also found in the latest mobile phones too, so if your handset has wireless features, you can check e- mail or surf the web at speed. EDGE/ GPRS If you’ve got a mobile, there’s a good chance it’s running on a 2G network. That’s bad news for connecting to the Internet, since it’s slow and will struggle to handle web pages or large e- mail attachments. However, if your network supports EDGE or GPRS, it’ll increase speeds to a bearable level, even using a 2G connec-tion. We’re not saying web pages will load in a jiffy, but they’ll be in your hand after just a couple of seconds wait. 3G The next generation of mobile networks is already here. If you have a 3G phone, it can use the mobile network to hop online. It’s much faster than 2G, and unlike Wi- Fi, there’s no need to be right next to the base station for a decent signal. The speed and reach of 3G networks is increasing all the time, but for seriously speedy access you’ll need HSDPA too. HSDPA If you bought a 3G phone in the last 12 months, chances are it already supports HSDPA. It’s the fastest way to get online using your mobile phone, although you’ll need to use a 3G network that supports it. The most advanced networks now use HSDPA to run at up to 7.2Mbps. That’s faster than most broadband landlines. By the end of the year, some networks claim they’ll have reached 42Mbps. That’s quick enough to download whole movies in minutes. SPEAK THE LINGO Connecting a continent as large as Africa needs more than one type of technology. Luckily, there are lots of options. Cut through the techno- babble and ‘ geek speak’ with our simple guide to the latest connection conventions.
False msafiri 70 TECHNOLOGY BlackBerry Bold Q US$ 600 ( SIM- free) Q www. blackberry. com The BlackBerry Bold is the newest e- mail centric phone from the firm that made them popular, and it doesn’t disappoint. Inside this traditionally- shaped handset is all the necessary 3G and HSDPA circuitry to get you online in a heartbeat, as well as GPS to provide directions should you get lost. Its screen is also twice the quality of previous BlackBerry handsets, and improved battery life means it’ll keep kicking for up to 13 days too. Fancy extras like a 2 megapixel camera, stereo bluetooth, and a built in MP3 and video player mean it’s not just a business mobile, but more like a souped- up entertainment machine. iPhone Q US$ 400 Q www. apple. com Apple’s mobile phone serves up one of the finest mobile internet experiences around. Sure, it’s not 3G, and uses a slower 2G and EDGE connection, but there’s Wi- Fi inside too, so if you can find a hotspot you’ll see a vast improvement in speed. What really makes it special is the web browsing and e- mail software inside. It’s one of the few handsets to show web pages exactly as they appear on a desktop PC. That means they’re simpler to navigate, and thanks to its super- sharp screen, easy to read. When it comes to e- mail, it’s hard to fault too. The iPhone has the ability to view graphically rich messages, just like a full-blown computer, and it’ll also decode attachments in seconds, letting you browse through pictures, documents, spreadsheets and presentations without worrying that your phone can’t open them. EeePC Q US$ 390 Q www. asus. com The EeePC isn’t just a tiny laptop with a low price, it’s one of the most inventive portable computers around. It shuns Windows in favour of a more lightweight Linux operating system. You’ll still be able to hop online using its built- in Wi- Fi abilities, but because of it’s less weighty software, you’ll squeeze more life from its battery. In optimum conditions it’ll stay powered up for over 3 hours, even while surfing the web. What’s more, because its batteries are small and light, it’s easy to carry a back up if you’re venturing away from mains power sockets. 3G dongle Q US$ free ( with mobile contract) Q Available: from mobile networks They might have a silly name, but 3G dongles have a very serious use. Slip in a SIM card, plug them into your PC or Mac and they’ll let your computer access the internet using the mobile phone network. As you’d expect, they still need you to pay a monthly fee, and you won’t be able to receive calls through them, but if you need to get online away from Wi- Fi hotspots, and without plugging in to a landline, then they’re pretty much the only option. Look out for versions that support speeds of 7.2Mbps and above, as older models won’t be able to access the ultra- fast speeds being rolled out by the most modern mobile networks. PocketSurfer 2 Q US$ 300 Q www. pocketsurfer. com. au This tiny device uses 2G mobile networks to surf the web and get THE gear 13 GREAT PRODUCTS, FROM THE LATEST 3G MOBILE TO A T- SHIRT WITH BUILT- IN WIFI HOTSPOT DETECTORS