Home > Broadband, Mobility, Telecommunications > 4G Breathes New Life Into Old PC

4G Breathes New Life Into Old PC

At the test in Starbucks, the Verizon 4G wireless modem tested just great on reasonably up-to-date compters.  Verizon rolled out is fourth generation wireless broadband service to some 40 locations last month.  Speed test pages downloaded way faster than with a 3G cellular modem.

But, I wondered, would 4G show any difference on a sort of crappy old PC? About a year ago I bought a refurbished ThinkPad with a 40G hard disk and I-don’t-know what processor. And, of course, Windows XP. This one is old enough that it’s an IBM, not a Lenovo. I keep it around as a computer-of-last-resort if the other assorted machines around the house fail. Safari is the machine’s only saving grace. I simply can’t tolerate the crawling pace of Internet Explorer.

The VZ Access software supplied by Verizon installed with no problem. And it found the modem just fine. You never know with old PCs. The 4G modem is supplied by LG. It plugs into a USB port. With a somewhat ungainly design, it’s better to use the supplied USB extension cord.

The 4G reception inside of my house was adequate (the Washington, D.C. area is one of Verizon’s initial locations). Two of four bars lit up.

But, what do you know, web pages downloaded with surprising crispness, obviously faster than the 802.11n WiFi that is running in my house. The Thinkpad’s WiFi card is only 802.11g anyhow.  More surprising, pages loaded seemingly as fast as a wired Ethernet connection to my FIOS service. A test at bandwithplace.com showed the reality of 8.81 megabits per second download and 2 megabits per second upload. Not wire speed, but an order of magnitude faster than 3G wireless.

So in my estimation, the investment in a 4G broadband data plan is worth it even on a relatively slow machine.

  1. jgo
    January 19, 2011 at 7:03 am

    I’d like to see roll-out of faster, more affordable broad-band, and competition among telecomm firms so that deployment of improvements will come along more quickly, with prices constrained by markets instead of bureaubums with favors to hand out to friends.

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