3G at the EIFF

It’s been bad timing for me and this 3G Mobile Broadband review until this week. First the modem doesn’t work in my works building and secondly I got married and headed off on honeymoon for almost three weeks. I did try and get 3G to let me blog my honeymoon but, rather tellingly, they said the cost was way too much.

So these next two weeks are a great trial as I cover as many films as possible during the Edinburgh International Film Festival. That means I’m on the go between cinemas almost constantly through the day and trying to keep the reviews coming out.

This first week has been interesting and shown two sides to the 3G Mobile Broadband.

The biggest has been the benefit over the free WiFi provided as part of the EIFF Delegate Centre. You see everyone with a pass can sit in this area, enjoy an overpriced coffee and cake, and utilise the free WiFi provided.

Well I was in for the first time yesterday and it took an age to connect for the first time. When it did it was fast, but suddenly during my session the connection died and I couldn’t get back on.

Slapped in the 3G USB Broadband Modem, launched the app, and connected no problem. Well that’s not entirely true, I did get disconnected at one point and had to wait a while for the signal to reacquire.

What struck me as odd though is that both at my work, at the EIFF centre and at a few other locations where I’ve had no 3G signal, I’ve had GPRS on the phone. Now I thought that the 3G Modem had a GPRS connection too and that if there was no 3G it would drop down, apparently not.

There’s something else that the 3G Modem offers over WiFi. You see during the EIFF there are three cinemas you really go back and forth from, and two of those have free WiFi. Free, open, all access WiFi.

Now I’m not saying anything against these cinemas and their WiFi offerings, I actually use them a lot and I love their coffee shop areas where I can do this. However sometimes you want piece of mind and security.

There are applications out there that can snoop in on the traffic on WiFi hotspots and with a bit of work, dig out personal and sensitive data.

Although I’m quite confident about secure HTTP connections through WiFi, and I never try to do anything overly sensitive and personal on open connections, there is that little bit of concern, fuelled by sensationalised media.

So the 3G offers the next best thing. Your data is not heading out on an open cloud before reaching a privately hired broadband service, one which is out with your control and signed with a private contract between two third parties. There’s no personal control there for you, no liability and protection should something go wrong.

With 3G I’m sending my data directly to the company that I have a signed contract with, a company that has signed an agreement with me to keep my data safe and secure, and a company that has the scale, funds, and resources to do that.

Now that makes me feel much more secure. So, as I had to do yesterday, I had no qualms when I remembered I had an urgent bill to pay and just leapt on the 3G Broadband Modem to pay it through my online banking service – something I might have been a little unsure of doing with an open WiFi connection.

So the 3G Broadband Modem is doing well so far, and although it’s not as mobile as I had hoped, it is giving me access right outside screenings to get my reviews written and posted.

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