New iPad & Verizon LTE

On the day the new iPad was released, mine arrived at the office via Fedex and I set it up immediately. Eagerly anticipating the new retina display, camera and a faster processor as a big upgrade from my 64GB original iPad, I was surprised to find myself equally as delighted with the Verizon LTE connection as I was with the iPad itself!

As someone who is very active in tech coverage within Minnesota at a site I run with three others called Minnov8, I am constantly challenged to get logged on to event or public Wifi in order to liveblog or tweet during events. Too often all the Wifi slots are used up by other attendees, the “press” Wifi is overloaded, and filing stories or delivering social media content is incredibly frustrating.

Whether it is being at some event at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the Minnesota High Tech Association Spring Conference, the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association annual event at the Minneapolis Hilton, or even interviewing some startup or technology leader during any given week at their offices, having a connection I can count on is an imperative. 

Fortunately the Verizon LTE connection has been both reliable and fast since I set up my new account on the iPad on March 16th. So fast that the following Monday I challenged my buddy and his new iPad with AT&T “4G” to a test while we were in a restaurant for breakfast. In the exact same location he achieved just over 1mbps download with his AT&T’s so-called 4G HSDPA and my download speed was 10 TIMES THAT at just over 10mbps. Wow. 

I’ve already used that speed to engage the Verizon LTE personal tethering capability in order to use my laptop when I had a client emergency and had to use the tools I had on my Macbook Air to take care of it. The week after I’d setup my new iPad I was on the road and got a call from a client with a big problem. Realizing I was 20 minutes from the office I thought, “HeyI’ll pull over and connect through tethering on my new iPad and take care of my client’s problem right now.” In less than 10 minutes I’d pulled over, logged on with my laptop, fired up the software I needed, fixed the problem, and emailed my client that all was well. Right there the service cost of $30/month for 2GB paid for itself many times over in goodwill.

Here’s the frosting-on-the-cake for me though: security. The stakes are going up quickly as more and more of us are always on and always connected with our mobile devices, logging in to all our online services and sharing much through social media. As such, those of us in-the-know realize how vulnerable we all are and that we need to ensure we are as safe and secure as possible while online.

Firefox, the open source web browser, has a plugin architecture. One plugin, called Firesheep, makes it trivial to view passwords and logins in public Wifi networks.

I cannot tell you how often I talk with people in public Wifi locations and they are logging on to email, Facebook, Twitter and other sites WITHOUT ANY SECURITY! When the Firefox plugin called Firesheep appeared, making it trivial to “sniff” passwords flying through the air, I truly thought the availability of that plugin and its ease-of-use would scare people in to taking action to protect themselves while in a public Wifi location. It hasn’t. To learn more about how treacherous Firesheep is see, “Firesheep Firefox Add-On Hijacks Twitter, Facebook Over Wi-Fi“. 

LTE (i.e., 3GPP Long Term Evolution) is a technology that provides enhanced security through strong mutual authentication, user identity confidentiality, along with several other security technologies. Though no communication technology is completely secure or immune to compromise, I am significantly more comfortable logging on to my email, social, banking or shopping sites using my Verizon LTE connection than I am doing so within some coffee shop or other public Wifi network!

Only one downside to this whole adventure with the new iPad and the Verizon LTE however: I’m carrying the new iPad with me virtually everywhere I go and it’s really tough to jam in to my pants pocket!

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.