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3g+ Modems, Smartphones and VPN

Posted on 2007-03-27
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I want to find out how good Smartphones are at being 3G+ modems for international roaming users.  And, also, what is the best VPN solution for this particular device?  i have had real trouble connecting other 3G Cards to our Watchguard MUVPN and was just wondering if anyone else out there has had experience of any 3G+ Smartphones being used as 3g+ modems to allow users to synchronise their Outlook on their laptops.

They also will use these as mobile phones/VoIP phones?

So, which Smartphone? Which version of Exchange? Which version of Windows Mobile?

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Question by:ddh76
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ddh76, this is getting funny. You keep on asking things which I recently implemented.
OK, here we go:
- You don't need VPN to sync outlook with the smartphones themselves. It's the easiest when you have exchange 2003 with OMA installed and if the smartphone has Windows Mobile. We recently replaced all our smartphones which where Windows Mobile 2003 with new ones with Windows Mobile 5.0. What has improved for us: the handling of server certificates is a lot simpler. And the major one: the new devices use flash storage for the setup. With the old ones, users lost ALL there settings and info on the device when they ran down their batteries. As those are also phones, that happens often.
- I have not succeeded to set up a VPN on the device directly. It supports PPTP, but something happens in the key negotiation phase. I haven't persued this further, as this is a low priority project (only I would need that)
- Using them as a 3G+ modem is a breeze. Just attach the USB cable to your PC and select 'Internet Connection Sharing (hope I have this right, we are using Dutch language versions)' on the device, select USB and connect. The laptop sees this immediatly as a new networkcard, no additional drivers needed. Then just start the VPN client (as you know: PPTP in my case) and Bob's your uncle. In theory you can also do it over Bluetooth, but we don't bother. It just adds a level of complexity, and speed degrade (on HSDPA networks we get better speeds then Bluetooth itself can support). The type of VPN should not matter, as the phone just acts as an open internet connection
- Synchronising Outlook over the VPN is not different then over any other internet connection. Just works for us.
- International roaming: usually no problem. Really depends on the country and location. Large area's of China don't work. We have no substatial problems in Korea, Russia and the whole of Western Europe. The only thing is cost. It can get very expensive when roaming. While in our home country we only pay ca 45 € for 2GB per month.
- As a phone the new models are very much appreciated by the users, especially compared with the old QTEK (HTC branded) models we had. Those where large, heavy and had the battery problem. The new models are almost perfect (size, weight, speed, ...) The only thing is that you have to recharge a lot. If you are using it intensively then you will drain the battery in less then a day. 'Normal' usage: about two days. 'Light' usage, when I have a long weekend I get 3 days on the battery.
- Have not tested them as VoIP Phones

BTW, we use those from HTC (S200, P3600 and TYTN).

J.
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