Re: NTLK wireless providers for the Newton?

From: Jeremy Bond Shepherd (
Date: Sun Jan 02 2000 - 00:09:46 EST

At 12:06 AM -0500 1/1/00, NewtonTalk wrote:
>I wish. In a few areas of the country Metricom/Ricochet provides
>wireless access, but their modem ISN'T a PCMCIA card last I heard; it's
>an external box. Someone from the Stanford NUG sent me email recently
>from one.

Metricom is rolling out Ricochet service in other major cities
nationwide (US) in 2000. However, as a Ricochet user I can make a
few comments about how well the service works with a Newton.

Basically, as long as you are stationary, the Ricochet-Newton
combination works reasonably well. Speed is acceptable. Sometimes the
connection will drop off for no apparent reason -- the signal
strength bars will be at maximum, you'll be humming along, when all
of a sudden, POOF, disconnected. The real problem is that the NEWTON
side appears disconnected, but the RICOCHET still shows as being
connected to the network. So you then have to cycle power to the
modem, and reestablish your NIE connection. This is pretty irritating
when it happens since it takes a good 30 seconds or so.

This random disconnection happens occasionally while stationary, but
VERY OFTEN when in motion, i.e. in a moving vehicle. I find that the
Ricochet is essentially unusuable in a moving vehicle because these
disconnects will happen every minute or two, and it takes at least 30
seconds to recover from each.

Again, the Ricochet modem's indicator shows the modem is still
connected, but the Newton has closed the NIE connection and so you
have to repeat the power cycle/re-establish connection routine very
often. This fact makes me suspect that there's something in NIE that
isn't well suited to mobile connectivity, that the NIE isn't robust
enough to handle wireless communications.


Jeremy Bond Shepherd | There's something about a martini
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