Having zero WiFi access and close to zero internet access while in Bangladesh was very difficult on me. Over the years I have become strongly attached to the internet – call it an addiction if you will – I prefer to see it as an involved habit. While on the road, the internet gets me access to the information I need, allows me to keep in touch with family and friends, to backup my pictures on the web and share my stories through blogging. Without internet, I felt naked and removed from the world.
Of course I survived, but it wasn’t fun. I was looking forward to India, with it’s fancy TV ads and 3G network. I had heard stories of many guesthouse offering free WiFi, and so I was looking forward to the ease of access prevalent through South East Asia.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. While most of our tech support and programing comes from India, it seems that technology has been exported rather than applied at home. Most places have been WiFi dead zones, and I decided that I wasn’t going to sit around and pray for WiFi to come to me anymore.
I decided to buy a mobile broadband device. Frankly, I hadn’t given them a thought, and knew nothing of them, until seeing ads on Indian channels. It seemed like the perfect and only solution. Being without internet though, I couldn’t research which company to go with, nor which one had better networks or any other kind of useful information. Instead, I just stopped by the first mobile company office I happened to cross on the street, which was Vodafone. After filling out a form, getting my passport photocopied, handing over a picture of myself and forking out many Rupees, I left the store with the Vodafone Mobile Broadband USB Stick – “3G Ready”. This allows me to access internet anywhere a cellphone works, as it uses the same technology in order to access the Web.
I had both high hopes and low expectations. High hopes that it would work, low hopes that it would be fast. As it turns out, this little device is rooted in deep evil. It works – sometimes. I would say that it spends 85% of its time crashing, freezing my computer, not working and driving me insane. When it works though, it works decently albeit slowly. An other annoyance is that I can’t really upload pictures and that WordPress doesn’t function properly (*) – two of my main internet needs. After 24h of having the device, I’m still not really sure if having some internet is any better than having none. Well, yes, I know it is, but is it worth all of the frustration? That’s what I can’t decide on.
(*) Until I find a better connection or a way to fix things with WordPress, I cannot: add tags, geo locations, pictures from other locations that Flickr, change a post’s date, and possibly many other irritating things.
Edit: This has been fixed. Now if only I could fix the photo uploading issue!