3G Broadband – my thoughts

Discussion in 'Gaming and Software' started by Litotes, Mar 26, 2009.

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  1. Several Arrsers have previously asked about the quality and cost of 3G broadband. I have almost completed 3 months using 3G broadband and now have a better idea of my actual usage.

    I was using dial-up that was costing me £10 for 32hrs surfing at no more than 44kb/s. I was usually spending £10 per month. Latency was usually awful!

    I spotted an offer from 3 in the January sales and signed up to their one year offer of 1GB/mth for £100.

    It didn't work out of the box (it couldn't see any transmitters), and I returned to the shop. After messing around with the modem, the salesman forced it to connect. I didn't see what he did and he couldn't tell me what he had done! I have visited 3's website, but the page which tells me how much data I have downloaded is badly laid out and doesn't appear to work! My figures are taken from the program on the laptop which might not be accurate.

    Coverage isn't too bad, especially where HSDPA is available, although away from the centres of population, it can be pretty dire. Where it is dire, it is just equal to dial-up, in my opinion. It has dropped out several times in 3 months (no transmitters to be seen) but I normally do something else and the system recovers within a couple of hours.

    The download speed is pretty good, achieving >1Mbps but upload speed jumps all over the place. Today it is only 27kbs! The latency isn't too bad either, but I haven't tried to play any games. It usually works well in Chat which, sometimes, dial-up could not handle.

    Now, I do not download videos, music, games, porn or anything else that needs lots of bandwidth but am usually on websites with a high text and database content like Arrse. I note that Vista and McAfee seem to spend a lot of time and bandwidth downloading updates! So, my average surfing per month over the last 3 months has been:

    Upload: <200MB
    Download: >600MB
    Total: >800MB
    Time: >25hrs

    Now, I have not reached the monthly limit of 1GB so do not know what the bill would be for exceeding it. I have a figure of £10/GB in mind, but cannot remember where I saw that.

    To summarise, I am using the 1GB/mth mobile broadband service from 3. It has been pretty good, and certainly better than dial-up, but I have not had any reason to contact Customer Services which, judging by their poor quality website, will probably be a lousy experience!

  2. I had the one from 3 last year, just after it was first launched and it wouldn't work at all, when I took it back to the shop all the sales bod said was 'oh, another one that doesn't work' and cancelled my contract.

    I now have a Vodaphone one which costs £15 a month for 1gb of usage and although signal is not brilliant at home it does work ok
  3. I have the normal BT Broadband package, well the Skipper has!! We have had it about about 5 years and it has given excellent service. I sometimes download about 3Gb a week with no problems, uploads speed is ok for what I want.

  4. at the moment many of the 3G service providers offer best effort. which means they have not carried out any restrictive shaping of the traffic (UDP/RTP or TCP) they are competing against the fixed line providers, however some areas will do well and some areas wont. T mobile have a good deal on BUT .. you will see all the service providers consolidate over the next year or two, this may see some changes in the networks performance but overall the aim is to improve and over more than the fixed line operators
  5. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Which would be useful if they actually did offer 3G broadband.

    Good review Litotes, thanks. I have the same thing and the same experiences - pretty good, never used the 1GB quota. 8/10 to three.

    The problem with all 3G broadband is that you share the impressive theoretical maximum speed with anyone else using the same connection - therefore don't shout too loud about it or they'll all use it and it'll go dog slow :)
  6. If you have a phone contract with them, you can get the broadband for half price.
    I get 5GB/mth for £7.50. 1GB would be £5, I believe.
  7. Thanks, Ottar. I am on O2 for the mobile telephone. I might look at rationalising things later this year but, for the moment, everything does what I want it to do, and I am busy!

  8. I've been using 3g PAYG broadband for about 18months. suits work and usage, also avoids on the odd occasion when one goes over the usage the £1/Mb cost levied. Coverage has been good in some areas, poor in others and have had to use a long USB cable at times to "elevate antenna".

    Pros: if I'm not doing lots of client visits or in the office lots, i don't use it and don't pay. Work reimburses for the airtime. Its some times faster than home broadband (out in the sticks me!)

    Cons: if credit runs out, it stops. the credit doesn't roll over. I had to buy the modem (small plus- the modem is still mine when I leave my current job)

    PAYG won't suit all, but could suit those on regular Op tours not wanting to cancel contracts the whole time.
  9. After that alone I would of told the salesman to take his 3G and shove it up his arrse!
  10. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    I'll try and update you with why a lot of what you are concerned about, which is valid, tomorrow, been on the pish this evening so excuse me.

    The current throughput they advertise is possible, but there are reasons why its not realistic, the core network simply can't handle it using legacy microwave networks to carry the data. 2mb is nice but in most cases is theoretical. However 7.2 is also promised and indeed 14.4 is also coming, with a second carrier but there are problems with processing that data.

    Theres a lot of people looking at how to deal with it.....

    When I'm not bladdered I'll explain :)
  11. I have a Vodafone 3G Broad Band although it doesn't work on Broad Band where i live its great for convenience ,Studying . When i notifyed VodaFone about the problem they reduced my rental to £7.50 a month till the end of my contract .I did use my 3G Broad Band down in the South West last year and the 3G Bb is excellent in this area.

  12. I have the Vodafone one. It works great from the foot of the bed but the signal downstairs is dreadful. It's just uncomfortable hanging off the end of the bed!
  13. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    OK Wide Band Code Division Multiple Access, or WCDMA, which is what 3G is has some limitations. Data throughput is derived by the power available. In simple terms the further away from the base station you are the less trhoughput you will get, also the more users in your area there are means you need to share with them the data throughput.

    Currently the system can offer 2MB per second, but in a lot of cases the core network needed to carry that data doesn't have the capacity, so you will likely only get 1MB. There is in a lot of cases a plan to link all sites by fibre which will solve the capacity problem, but this is going to take time.

    A lot of networks are starting to provide 7.2 MB capability, again though with the caveat that the core network needs to support it. 14.4 MB is imminent as well using a second carrier.

    So mobile broadband that can match fixed lines is possible, but with a few limitations at the moment. These bottle necks are being actively worked on and will be solved in time. To be honest the 14.4MB promised is not realistic, even with fixed networks, as the providing site probably can't deliver that throughput anyway.

    So if you need broadband on the go then I would recommend it (I have it myself), but you need to accept its not going to be great everywhere. New sites are being rolled out every day to improve coverage, my company are building over a thousand new ones in 2009 alone. It's the future and will only get better, welcome to the 21st century :D

    Oh and LTE, Long Term Evolution, or the next big thing is promising 100 MB per second!! :O
  14. I had a 3G one and it was pants i took it back after two days but my brother in the same house had a tmobile which could be used to watch streaming football. I may need to get another dongle soon due to a move of house and will probably look at the vodaphone pay as you go if i can get half the advertised speed it should suit my needs