Today's announcement by Novatel Wireless that its dual band EV-DO / 1xRTT PC card for notebook computers (and some handhelds) is available for usage through Verizon Wireless is precisely the reason I have some misgivings about public Wi-Fi. Verizon Wireless' network is based on CDMA technology. Though the network is predominantly used by cell phone users, it also, through its 1xRTT technology, supports Internet connectivity for users of notebooks and handhelds, albeit at a modest 80 kbps (a data rate that's actually just fine for most applications, even Web browsing). All that's required is a 1xRTT PC Card and then, instead of having to find the nearest Wi-Fi enabled McDonalds or Starbucks, you just need to make sure you were somewhere in the Verizon Wireless footprint (a fairly significant hotspot, if you ask me).
Last year however, Verizon began rolling out a much faster successor to 1xRTT known as EV-DO. In comparison to the 80 kbps data rates that 1xRTT achieved in practice, EV-DO is expected to deliver at least 300 kbps putting it on par with broadband cable or DSL service. But, even though Verizon says that the service is available in 32 metropolitan markets, that doesn't mean the faster service will be available everywhere within Verizon Wireless' footprint. That will take a while. But with the dual-band functionality found in Novatel's Wireless' card, the upshot is that you'll be able to get data functionality no matter where you are as long as your within Verizon Wireless' coverage area. To boot, security is baked in, making it far superior than Wi-Fi for which users and infrastructure providers must jump through all sorts of hoops to secure.
The net cost of the Novatel V620 is $99 (after rebate) and the Verizon Wireless sells unlimited data access to it's wireless network for $80 per month. Provided it works well (I'm waiting for a test unit), this is a bargain and its why I've asked before, why bother with Wi-Fi when CDMA will do?