Understanding Wireless Data Plans

Wireless data plans can be confusing. Sometimes you think you're getting unlimited connection capabilities, but then when your bill comes in, you find out that your idea of connection and your wireless company's idea of connection are two different things. That's why it's always best to understand how you use your phone before you purchase a data plan. Then make sure you know what you're getting in the data plan.

You should have a good idea of how much you use your phone to talk, text, surf the Web, and instant-message other people. However, it's best if you have more than a good idea when you're looking at a new data plan. Consider reviewing your last three months' bills and averaging out the number of text messages that you use each month, the number of data transfers that you use each month, and so on. And don't forget to factor in that your new G1 is specifically designed to surf the

Web, so you might spend more time doing some of those activities than you did in the past.

With your usage calculated, you can begin to look for plans. But beware: A data plan doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting web usage and messaging. Make sure you understand exactly what's included in the plan before you sign a contract. Some companies offer web usage and messaging as separate packages unless you're willing to shell out a pile of cash.

You can change service plans inside a contract, but it's never good to get that $500 phone bill because you thought all your messaging was included when it wasn't. Know what you're getting and avoid those nasty surprises.

Instead of risking a ridiculous bill, connect through the available wireless capability on your phone. It's easy. These steps should help you create the connection:

The following steps mention connecting to an unsecured wireless network. Always use caution when connecting to an unsecured network, especially on a handheld device that has minimal security. Any information on your device is wide open to hackers who are on the network and know how to access your device from their computers. It's always preferable to connect to a secure network that has a limited number of users.

1. Make sure you're within range of either a wireless network that has open security or one that you have the network key available to access.

2. From the Home screen on your device, press the Menu key and then touch Settings. Alternatively, you can open the applications menu and touch Settings.

3. This opens the Settings page. Touch Wireless Controls.

4. You are taken to the Wireless Controls page (refer to Figure 5.1).

5. You need to turn on your wireless capabilities so that your phone can connect with an available wireless network. Place a check mark in the checkbox to the right of Wi-Fi to turn on the Wi-Fi capabilities.

6. Alternatively, you can turn on the Wi-Fi capabilities by touching Wi-Fi Settings and then placing a check mark in the box next to Wi-Fi on the Wi-Fi Settings page, shown in Figure 5.4. When you back out of this option using the Back key, you'll see that the Wi-Fi option on the previous screen is selected.

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