help with 3G capabilities

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by drcha, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. drcha


    I have several very basic beginner questions. If would be terrific if someone can help. Please--assume I know nothing. You'll need to spell pretty much everything out for me. I'm not very computer-savvy at all.

    I want to purchase a laptop and air card as both a way to trade while traveling, and also in order to have a complete backup method in case my home desktop or home cable connection has problems. I have been back and forth, back and forth, between the cellular people and the computer people, trying to find someone who can talk to me at my level. It's hard to get geeks to slow down the geek-speak, and sometimes it's also difficult to get a straight answer out of someone who is in a hurry to sell you something.

    1. First question can only be answered by traders: can you let me know what your experience has been with real-time streaming data (quotes, charts) using cellular access? Is the speed adequate?

    2. Are all modern computers compatible with these 3G networks, or do I have to purchase a computer with some kind of special hardware?

    3. Is there any kind of hardware installation that is necessary with these cellular cards, or can you just plug them into a USB port (or other type of port) on any computer, install the software, buy the monthly plan, and you're good to go?

    4. Some of the air cards appear to also have memory capabilities--would these be able to take the place of a flash drive?

    5. Finally, a netbook question--I'm considering one of these 10-11 inch notebooks, but I would have to add memory, since they all seem to max out at 2GB RAM. My home computing has been successful with 2GB of RAM, so I know that would work. I would buy a 1GB computer and add 1GB. Now then, if the answer to my question #3 is "yes, there is an installation issue" -- could I possibly run out of physical room on a small netbook by trying to install all this stuff?

  2. I have a MacBook Pro that I bought a Sierra Wireless 598U aircard. All you really need is a USB connection. The software is contained in the aircard, so when you plug it in, it loads the software...real simple.

    I don't know about the "flashdrive" type use. It wasn't something I have a need for.

    The aircard works well with my laptop. Fast. I checked the latency, and it was in fact slower than my cable, but really when I've used it I couldn't tell.

    I'm with IB, I use their TWS with no difficulty. I don't use charts because it's only a backup for me. I did pull up a chart from TWS though, and it was no difficulty either. I will say that I have 4G RAM. If it were me, and I were going to buy a PC-based laptop with Vista as an operating system, I think I would want more than 2G Ram. I've heard that Vista is memory intensive, and then you have other stuff going on as well by your description. Just an opinion though, I don't use Vista. None of this though is going to be a problem for the aircard per se.

    Memory is pretty cheap these days...why not get something that will take 3-4G RAM?

  3. Redneck


    Well Sir

    1.) I trade on my laptop / 3G connection nearly every day – no thru put issues whatsoever –BUT which ever carrier you decide make sure they have coverage in the area you’ll be trading from

    2.) As long as it has a USB port – Yes it will be compatible (but you know the saying a faster processor is usually better)

    3.) You plug the 3G card in, load up the software – you’re good to go (BTW get the 5 Gig a month plan it will be enough)

    4.) No clue – my card does not have memory capability

    5.) I know you said you’re looking for a 10-11 inch notebook, but so was I then decided on a 17 inch laptop. Screen space is a premium and I think you need all you can get

  4. moo


    1. Yes. 3G networks are fast enough except for the most extreme fast-paced trading (scalping).

    2. Yes they are. There are even some laptops which have an integrated 3G modem, so that you do not need to buy a separate card. This is the most convenient option, but it may be slightly more expensive too.

    3. The card itself is the only thing you need to install. If you need a separate card, you might want to get it from your operator, as they may have some good offers where you get the card for "free".

    4. Yes.

    5. A small netbook is enough, and certainly the cheapest option. (I myself have been using the wonderful Asus EEE PC 1000.) Also 1G of RAM is enough, as these netbooks are coming with the less resource-intensive Windows XP.

    However, I would really recommend a slightly bigger laptop, because a trader usually wants to maximize his screen size. So I would either recommend a 13" laptop with a 1400- (or even 1600-) wide screen, or a 15-17" laptop with a 1920-wide screen depending on how much weight do you want to carry around. And after screen size the second most important property is battery life. Try to find a computer with at least 5 hrs of battery life.
  5. drcha


    Thank you very much, everyone, for your thoughtful replies. I now feel that I can shop armed with some knowledge.