Brunei Darussalam


If I owned a VERTU phone I probably could not resist an opening line such as “Patience is a Vertu” but for the ordinary person like me, there’s a saying, “Good things come to those who wait!” And wait I did for the day when computing became mobile. Not just the convenience of going online on the road but doing so without giving up the speeds we’re accustomed to at home! Or not. I’ve waited and waited for the day when mobile broadband becomes a reality—for me, that is. I consider myself a late adopter of stuff so last Christmas I bought a 3.5G Nokia E51 phone to replace my (cough, cough) Nokia 6020. Without knowing it, I got a HSDPA phone before I knew what it meant and certainly before I got to know that my carrier would be providing this service.

© Jan Shim Photography

To cut a long story short, I discovered much to my delight that a previously obscured modem driver installed by Nokia PC Suite software has twice the the connection speed that I wish I had discovered sooner. Some of the more obvious places I had looked showed a maximum speed of 480 Kbps. I wasn’t thrilled considering there was a possibility of connecting at much higher speeds in HSDPA mode and capped at 480 Kbps this was going to be same or slower than my home broadband. To cut another possibly long story short, I “found” the right menu where twice the speed of 921 Kbps can be configured (applies to Windows XP). There are a number of places where the modem driver can be found and for some strange reason the other menus do not go beyond 480 Kbps. What you want is Control Panel | Network Connections | Right-click “Properties of Nokia E51 Modem (OTA)”

You’ll see the following window possibly showing 480 Kbps or so and the drop down menu reveals the magic number, 921,600 bps.

I took an extra step of disabling the internal modem of my Dell Inspiron 8500 so that the Nokia modem becomes the only default I need. I took the opportunity to update the Nokia PC Suite software to the latest release 200.34.36 including an phone software and USB Cable Driver upgrade.

This morning I took my laptop and phone on the road and decided to surprise my IM contacts from the BILLIONTH BARREL MONUMENT parking where the team DONNAVVENTURA visited not too long ago. One laptop, one phone and a bunch of cables later, I was online and chat with a few friends whom I thought would be keen to share the experience. Mobile 3G broadband isn’t exactly new technology but when our first 3G provider made its debut everything was costly. The cost of 3G phones alone were prohibitive to say the least and I wasn’t keen to have another monthly bill to settle. So I waited.

© Jan Shim Photography

This is a 150w inverter that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter socket and it powers my laptop. It has enough juice to power items such as TV, game consoles, fax machine, mobile phone and camera chargers among other things. The inverter allows me to use the laptop as long as I want to as long the engine is running and the car battery is being charged. I drive a roomy MPV that has a second power ciggy socket right behind the driver seat so it’s perfect aligned to my needs.

© Jan Shim Photography

I’m satisfied for now that I’m able to connect at speeds twice that of my home broadband when I’m on the road. I now have a back up broadband connection when the home network suffers an outage as it has proven worthy a number of times. Whether or not I’m connecting to the internet from a laptop of just accessing the net on the phone, the Nokia E51 has become an indispensible productivity tool. Being able to choose between WiFi or 3.5G connectivity gives me the best of both world.

That said, I am going to be knocking on Nokia’s doors (again) for a modem driver that gives us at least 3.6 Mbps considering that 14.x Mbps HSDPA is rumoured to be in the pipeline. At the car park, I ran a speed test and at the request of an associate who insisted that I publish the result of this one test I did from the car park, here it is! This might just be a spike but even at 1 Mbit it’s already twice as fast compared to the 480-ish Kbps I’m getting at home.

What I consider TRULY MOBILE computing taking into account data risks, power consumption etc is when emerging Solid State Disk (SSD) technology replaces the hard drive. Although companies such as Dell now offers SDD as an option, 64GB at SGD$1,200 is far from being affordable but I’m very excited at the possibility. Imagine all the advantages that SSD attracts: extremely reliable data storage, no moving parts means no heat or risk of crashes, and certainly longer lasting battery performance.

WARNING The phone’s new software performed a reset and wiped out all my SMS and Email messages including my Gmail and Yahoo mailboxes and configuration. Even my MP3 songs and custom dictionary entries were not spared. Wiping out the previously stored dictionary entries was a good thing though. Some words that I had added to supplement predictive texting turned out to be a nuisance, am glad to have them reset.

7 thoughts on “ON THE ROAD WE GO!

  1. its amazing what you said about an internet speed faster than the one at home, i for one cannot imagine that. though i know its possible, its just amazing to see how enhanced technology has become. we hardly have any excuses now a days for not calling or keeping in touch with someone. and other than to see my children, if i am ever blessed (or cursed lol ) with that gift, grow and have kids of their own, i always want to see how much technology has defy the odds of our limits today, and morph into more advanced gadgets to make their lives easier, just as how the mentioned enhancements in technology has befitted you, and all of us at that. nice post J


  2. I’m jealous of your fast cell networks. The US lags behind when it comes to cell technology. Some are still using 2.5G, and 3.5G isn’t even an option here yet. Not that it matters just yet for me, my cell phone is ancient… waiting to see what the iPhone 2.0 has to offer before I decide to upgrade to that or something else.


  3. I think what has happened here is that our land line broadband has been so unreliable that users are open to ANY alternative providers that promise better and faster services and 3.5G makes a lot of sense seeing how nearly everyone owns at least one cell phone and the youths (especially in Asia) demand so much out of their mobile phone—MP3, MP4 videos, Instant Messaging, Internet browsing, Emails, Video calls, SMS, MMS—whoa, where do we draw the line between a computer and a phone?

    And, as I’ve illustrated, with 3.5G HSDPA phone, where we go online is no longer limited to Cafes and WiFi hotspots and I like the fact that the back seat of my Toyota Granvia is a lot more comfortable than most sofas in a cafe. I just have to remember to bring my own coffee but seriously I’m considering a table of some sort so I can actually work inside the car.

    Matt, you have no idea how long we’ve envied people in the States. In comparison, you guys have some of the fastest broadband speeds on earth that we can only dream about. We live with 500~800ms ping times and frequent Request Time Outs so you see out home broadband is light years away from what you and many developed nations have had and may have been taken for granted.


  4. So, how to get 3.5mbps when i want to use E51 as a HSDPA Modem on XP ?

    Any special driver ? where to download ? coz i am using PC Suite 8.6, still max. only 940kbps


  5. I too am getting a max of 940Kbps with the E51 and while that’s twice the speed of my home broadband connection, with our service provider providing up to 7 Mbps, I’m certain that the E51 has to be able to connect to at least 3.5Mbps. I have been in touch with Nokia tech support about this and hopefully Nokia releases a PC Suite update for this soon.


  6. The ‘912kbps’ which is reported by windows is not related to internet speed at all. You may as well change this to 115.2 kbps or even 1.2 kbps and that won’t make any difference. On performance tests E51 typically showed 1.1-1.3mbps. Actual speed depends on signal strength, number of users connected, your voice call or data plan etc. But even on perfect conditions I doubt you could get something over 3Mbps



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