Bill Childers' IBM Cordless Connection

Ever wish you had a cordless phone attachment for your palmtop; so you could roam about your home or office, but still send/receive email? I sure have. My office at home is one of the most uncomfortable places in my home... I'd much rather sit on the couch, by a nice roaring fire, and do a little work. The palmtop is great for letting you work in remote locations (like a backyard hammock), but to get any kind of connectivity you were either tied to a phone jack or forced to use the expensive option of a cellphone/modem combo... till now.

The IBM cordless connection changes all that. This 2-piece unit is similar to a cordless phone. There is a base station and a remote unit. The base station hooks into your phone jack and a 110v wall outlet, and has a 900mhz antenna and a cradle for charging the remote unit. The remote is about the size of the LX folded; it has a small flipup antenna and an RJ11 jack. There is only one control, an on/off switch. There are three LEDs on the remote unit, Power, Battery/Charge, and In Use/Range.

Once the battery's charged in the remote unit, using it's easy. Simply plug the RJ11 from your modem (any ol' modem, whatever you usually use on a regular line) into the remote unit. Turn the unit on, and dial as normal. What could be easier?

Performance is great, too. I hooked up with my 33.6 SimpleJack and ran at app. 31600bps until my batteries died in the LX, which was over an hour. IBM touts this unit as supporting 56K modems and having battery life in excess of two hours. Range seemed to be fine, I could go anywhere in my house or backyard with no trouble. IBM's specs say "up to 200 feet".

Looking at the unit a little further, I see that's it's manufactured by Matsushita for IBM. Matsushita is Panasonic's parent company, and they have a lot of experience with cordless phones, which this lil' guy basically is.

I've had more fun with this thing, and it's been great to send/receive email from the couch, without having to get up and hook up in my office.

Bottom line: if composing mail offline and then getting up to send it bugs you, buy this. It works great. And, PcConnection (www.pcconnection.com) has them for around $55, and they offer inexpensive overnight shipping. I highly recommend PcConnection, they've never steered me wrong, and I always get my gadgets FAST!

Copyright 1999, David Sargeant.
Last Updated 3-23-1999