GPRS considered useless


t68iI've played with my GPRS connection for a few days now. It really doesn't work very well at all, at least not here in Los Angeles or with my phone or with my usage. And yes, the phone is reporting decent coverage when GPRS doesn't quite work. Sometimes ssh works alright (with the ~1 second lag), but sadly it's not very consistent. Packet loss has occasionally been 20-30%, enough to combined with Other Factors make ssh not able to even initiate a connection.

So what about non-interactive connections? Web sometimes sorta almost works. Trying to sync my mail from the IMAP server (using takes Forever, and even then it'll only get the headers from a dozen new mails and not actually the mail content.

I might give it another try or two, but if it doesn't get much better then I'm definitely not keeping the service.

A comparison with AT&T edge makes it look like that might be marginally better. Reading another review doesn't exactly make me run out to try it. A third review makes it sound not quite as sucky. Oh, and the PC Card you need is Windows only so far, so it might as well not exist as far as I'm concerned. :-) And unlimited usage is $80/month. That's almost as much as I pay for DSL; not so attractive.

GSM World has more information than you ever wanted about GPRS and related technologies.

In unrelated news there's another Steve Jobs interview in Rolling Stone where he among other things talk about how the music industry works (and doesn't work). No making fun of Michael Dell dancing though...



What *do* you pay for DSL?

Macrumors has a tasty rumor that you might be interested in.


About a $100/month for 1.5/384 (supposed to be upgraded to 1.5/768 last week) and a handful of extra IP addresses.

- ask

With the IMAP, I wouldn't blame your service, IMAP is slow in general. Dunno about the other things.

I have GPRS with the same Ericsson Phone and a Powerbook too, albeit using the French operator Orange, and the situation is identical : syncing IMAP taking forever, interactive (ssh) barely usable. It's nice to have in case of an emergency, but that's about it.

Over the last week I tried out T-Mobile's GPRS via a SE T610 and a Powerbook ala Bluetooth. I then ran a "speed test" from and I ended up with a about 10Kbps down and 9Kbps up which I thought was pretty bad until I used a dial up connection from my Aunt's which wasn't much better :-( As for the IMAP header only thing with I realized that it grabs the headers and then grabs the content, but it takes a while, it also doesn't seem to run the spam filter right away but I think it has something to do with the wait between getting the headers and getting the message.

I used GPRS for my only connection at the small ski resort of Beitostølen in Norway, as I lived there for a couple of weeks, working on AxKit::App::TABOO. I used it with a Siemens ME45 and a provider called NetCom. I was surprised how well it worked. Since it is a fairly old phone, I was just getting up to 8 kbits/s, but there is a firmware upgrade available that should fix that (but installing it made the only XP-box I had available BSOD bad). The lag with ssh was large, but I had expected ssh to be completely unusable, but I could do what I needed to.

But obviously it si not DSL, so I look forward to UMTS.

I pay for GPRS every month but I never use it... It's just in case. Perhaps I'm just too prudent :))

I also have SE T68i but I have never had any problems with GPRS. I always have my laptop with me when I go somewhere in the country or anywhere with no access to the internet and GPRS kind of saved my life a couple of times.


I have Siemens c60. Only problem is that it disconnects sometimes and I have to restart my phone. Ssh works fine, exept for the 1 sec latency. Transfer rates are around 6 kB/s. It costs 18 eur/month with unlimited usage. I have to use it because I live so far in the woods (in Finland), that I can't get any adsl here:) Luckily they are building wlan here, so I might get 2/2mb connection (57eur/month) soon.

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This page contains a single entry by Ask Bjørn Hansen published on December 8, 2003 2:20 PM.

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