One of the features I have really been looking forward to on the latest crop of Nokia phones is WiFi connectivity.Â These phones have cognoscenti like meÂ excited, but they’re striking terror into the hearts of the cellular carriers because of their potential to steal voice traffic from the cellular networks.Â In fact, the carriers are so worried about this, that Nokia has emasculated the wonderful E61 for the North American market.Â The North American E62, sold by Rogers here in Canada, is nothing but an E61 with the WiFi ripped out.
So what about the N93?Â The N93 is a quad-band phone, with WiFi.Â It also comes equipped with a SIP stack, but unless you’re a whiz configuring a PBX and softphones, don’t expect to be making WiFi voice calls.Â An easier to configure client, like Truphone, will be required before mere mortals can make voice calls on WiFi.Â
Setting up web access on WiFi with the N93 is a little complex, thanks to Nokia’s obtuse UI design.Â It’s not in the connections menu where you might expect it to be, but rather in the services menu.Â Choose services->options->settings to get to the settings page for the browser.Â Then choose access point ->Â user defined at which time a menu of existing access points will be shown.Â Choose options -> new access pointÂ -> default settings to get to theÂ Connection configuration page.
Like I said, obtuse.
From there, Â name your connection, choose WiFi as the data bearer, and the rest of the process is pretty straightforward after that.Â The one stumbling block I ran across was making sure that the WLAN security settings were consistent between the router and the phone.Â I was unable to get WiFi to connect with open WEP security, only shared.
Once configured, using WiFi for web browsing is pretty straightforward.Â Put a URL into the browser, select the access point you wish to use, and surf.Â In use, I found that the WiFi, while excellent for avoiding data charges when downloading large packages from websites, was not very practical otherwise.Â It chews up too much battery power to use for prolonged periods of time.Â In addition, I found the connection to be somewhat spotty.Â PC’s and other WiFi devices would have no problem holding the WiFi connection, but the N93 frequently dropped.
My assessment?Â WiFi could use some work on the N93, but it’s certainly promising.
Stay tuned… I was at a wedding yesterday, and tomorrow I’ll tell you a little about the camera and video capabilities.