By Jason Brooks  |  Posted 2004-12-06 Print this article Print

We tested T-Mobiles GPRS network using a Sony Ericsson GC79 PC Card, which T-Mobile sells for $200. The GC79 combines a GPRS radio with an 802.11b radio, which is a handy and slot-saving paradigm for machines that lack built-in Wi-Fi.

Using the GC79 to access the T-Mobile GPRS network, we experienced an average downstream transfer rate of 24K bps and an average ping latency of 1,307 ms. We saw better transfer rates in some locations than in others, but nowhere did we break 40K bps. In addition, the ping latencies we saw were fairly long across the board.

Whether the performance available from the GPRS network is good enough for a particular enterprise application must be determined after site- and application-specific testing. The fact that T-Mobile offers a $30-per-month unlimited-service plan—about half the cost of the alternatives—makes it worthwhile to at least investigate whether this service would suit your needs. However, for general-purpose connectivity, we found T-Mobiles service too slow.

The GC79 card that we tested came with a T-Mobile-branded connection manager application that, like the AT&T Wireless tool, could also control our Wi-Fi radio. Unlike the AT&T Wireless utility, however, the T-Mobile tool didnt handle automatic switching among GPRS and Wi-Fi links.

Click here to read Labs review of AT&T Wireless service.
Click here to read Labs review of Sprints service. Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at jason_brooks@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.

As Editor in Chief of eWEEK Labs, Jason Brooks manages the Labs team and is responsible for eWEEK's print edition. Brooks joined eWEEK in 1999, and has covered wireless networking, office productivity suites, mobile devices, Windows, virtualization, and desktops and notebooks. JasonÔÇÖs coverage is currently focused on Linux and Unix operating systems, open-source software and licensing, cloud computing and Software as a Service. Follow Jason on Twitter at jasonbrooks, or reach him by email at jbrooks@eweek.com.

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