The Local Hotspot Problem

I love the functionality of “Local Hotspot” from AT&T. This lets my non-3G iPad connect through my phone. I have used it in the car and on vacation, but primarily I use it at work.

I had grandfathered into the unlimited data plan that was available with the original iPhone 3G. It was a hard decision to switch to the 4GB/mo data plan and get Local Hotspot. But I felt as though the additional capability it gave me with the iPad away from WiFi was worth it.

And, in general, I am happy with it overall. The other day I took my MacBook Pro to work and used the Hotspot with it. I didn’t really do a lot on that machine, since I use a Windows desktop to do work, I had brought it in to tweak a few graphic images. However, that little bit of laptop surfing / email pushed my usage higher than my time remaining til refueling…

I’m sure I’ll go over my 4GB soon and pay the additional $10/GB. AT&T priced this functionality at just the right point for me. And by that, I mean that I am willing to pay it, but it is just about the most I would be willing to pay. I’ll mostly stay just below the 4GB allowance per month, but I don’t like altering my normal usage because of the data limits.

I do have WiFi available at work, but I am hesitant to use it for a couple of reasons:

  1. It requires an cumbersome authentication using a SecurID keyfob. More than 10-15 minutes of inactivity require reauthentication.
  2. It goes through a corporate proxy server.

When I have app updates to install, or some large transfer, I’ll connect the iPad to the corporate WiFi. But for just casual email reading, surfing, and twitter reading, I find the Local Hotspot to be the ticket to happiness.

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