July 8, 2010
Nova Media's Launch2Net Premium helps the Mac-using business traveler find a prepaid 3G connection in other countries, which can save lots of money over roaming fees.It's convenient to be able to connect your Mac to a wireless network using a 3G modem when your travels take you out of WiFi's reach. But if you start using a data connection with your regular carrier's roaming fees, you'll probably be shocked at the bill you get when you return to the office. One solution is to find a wireless carrier where you are that offers a prepaid SIM card -- like a phone card -- and put the chip in your modem. The problem is that not all prepaid SIM cards support data connections (they're meant for cell phones), and even if they do, it can be difficult to find out the connection settings you need to use.
Making all that simpler is the promise of Launch2Net Premium, software that lists prepaid service providers for each country. The traveler starts up the software and clicks on the PrePaid button to bring up a map. Clicking on the relevant country brings up a list of prepaid service providers with links to their websites. After choosing a provider and obtaining a SIM card (generally sold in gas stations or markets), the traveler installs the chip in the modem or USB "surfstick" (such as Nova Media's own iCON XY). Launch2Net applies the proper connection settings, and the traveler is online. Nova claims that the software supports "most available modems and SIM cards from all around the world." Launch2Net also enables mobile devices, such as iPads, to share the Mac's 3G connection. It provides a running account of connection information and can issue a warning or even close the connection when your preset data limits have been reached. It also supports SMS text messaging linked to your Address Book. Launch2Net Premium costs $49.90 and requires an Intel Mac. A demo version is available.
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