I’ve been testing Verizon 4G LTE network the last ten days on my MacBook Pro 2.4 using Mac 10.6.6 on the Pantech USB card. This card is not officially Mac supported, but I was able to go online at engadget.com and find an easy hack. I’m lying; it took me over an hour to make this process work, and still I failed. I went to my neighborhood Verizon Store at the Glendale Galleria and a very nice, well several nice tech people helped me properly configure my network with the card. Note, if you are tech savvy, which I thought I was, in ten minutes you can be on the Internet, if you are not, bring your Mac with you when you purchase the Pantech card. Have the happy tech people at Verizon set up the card before you leave the store. In order to set up the card you will need to activate it on a PC first, again unless you are tech savvy, let the Verizon people help you. As of today (January 29, 2011) there are two 4G LTE USB cards, only use the Pantech card for the Mac, the other 4G card will not work on the Mac.
Once I got the card up and running, which it sometimes took me several tries, the network is fast. At home I have AT & T U-verse; which I thought was fast, I was able to obtain speeds up to 4,800 kilobits-per-second. Dial up speeds; remember AOL, and “you got mail” is only 56-kilobits-per-second. My Pantech was registering speeds up to 13,000 kilobits-per-second, I had to put on seatbelts so that I would not fall out of my chair. I wish my aging Altima could hit those speeds. What does this speed mean, watching movies on NetFlix you will not be hit with those nasty buffing messages. Making searches will come almost instantaneous; accessing the Internet will be fun again. Uploading pictures from iPhoto 2011 to Facebook is quick; it does not take five to ten minutes to upload an image as it did on Verizon 3G network. I am still testing the speed of the 4G networks, therefore in a future Blog I will announce my results.
The 4G LTE network only works in a certain cities, Verizon was smart to launch 4G in Los Angeles. Sprint did roll out their 4G services in Los Angeles until last fall, opting for smaller markets for the initial launch. Before you buy your card make sure it works where you live and places you plan to visit. Verizon web site is very easy to navigate, just look for the 4G LTE menu button.
My biggest complaint is why are there not any Mac compatible 4G cards available? Mac users are early adapters, yes they represents a smaller market share than Windows user, usually “we” like to be the first on the block to have the latest gadgets. My other complaint, I have a Cradle Point router that I am still waiting for a firmware upgrade, why does it take so long for an updated firmware? I found a way to share my signal with other users, but I would rather have a native appointment. Fortunately for me I have a great tech person who keeps all my routers up to date on the current firmware and helps me choose the best wireless equipment and phones for my business; Matt at Hot Spots 818-340-5481. The great thing I like about Matt is he is able to get me better deals on my equipment and he makes sure I have the best plan based on my use.
The bottom line should you be the first on the block get Verizon 4G LTE card? Yes and No. If you do not live or plan to live or visit in a city that does not have 4G, don’t waste your money until Verizon launches the service in your local. If you are like me who lives in one of the cities that offer 4G go for it, you will love the speed of 4G LTE. Just remember if you are a Mac users make sure you buy the right card and have Verizon configure y