Shackle-free mobility: Mobile Connect Card

Most office workers dream of throwing away the traditional shackles of a desk, yet still being free to access all the same services available on a deskbound PC. Vodafone has released a wireless solution that will enable its users to access their company’s LAN, send and receive e-mails, log onto the Internet, and send SMS messages from anywhere in the world that supports the GSM network.

The Vodafone Mobile Connect Card ships with a GPRS Type II PC card and Vodafone-branded Dashboard software. Connection wise, the card has a stated maximum speed of 45kbps. Similar throughput to a dial-up modem, bundled optimisation software can increase the speed to 57.6kbps, which we confirmed in testing.

The card itself features a retractable antenna on the side of the card, providing sufficient reception for most areas. For harder to reach areas, an optional external antenna can be purchased. A headset is supported on the card via a socket but voice calls can not be made, as the software doesn’t support this function. The GPRS data service is charged at a per-byte rate, so users aren’t charged for an idle connection. Vodafone discourages people from using SIM cards other than Vodafone because the network is optimised for their cards only.

It took approximately five minutes to install the Vodafone Mobile Connect Card. It is extremely easy to set up and is tailored to different user types, with corporate and Internet-only versions available. The included software allows users to monitor their data usage and keep abreast of set data limits. Although the service is still susceptible to the common blackspots experienced by mobile phone users, the concept is innovative nonetheless.

In Brief: Vodafone Mobile Connect Card
A nifty device that is a great alternative to the traditional cabled method and increases the mobility of the average worker.
Price: $599 (excluding GPRS usage costs)
Vendor: Vodafone Australia
Phone: 1300 650 410

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Ryan Shaw

PC World
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