Mobile Broadband on Laptops

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by walter_mitless, Jan 28, 2008.

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  1. Techie question, concerning mobile broadband (laptop with a modem, internet on the move). We've had a look at an external modem supposedly supplied by only two networks at the moment. Amongst all the sales crap, this widget is little more than a sim card in a plastic case. Of course; "its much, much more than that". Course it is :)

    In usual ISP and phone sales parlance, you can pay loads for an unfairly long contract, or pay loads for a piece of plastic with a sim card inside. So, rip off, is our first judgment. Apparently, now here's the wonderful bit: you can log on, anywhere. Yep, my thoughts exactly.....barracks!

    And you know what? we couldn't ge it to work. Not once. It never connected, in a whole hour, not once. Of course, we might be wrong, and we might have had atmospheric problems. We might have had interference from a parallel universe, or even the Moon, or something.

    We might have expected too much, such as getting the thing to do what it says on the box. :)
  2. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    It will be a new fangled 3g or 3.5g HSDPA card modem. It works like your mobile, it is different but for explanation purposes it will do, but with very high data rates on the new 3G networks. The problem is you need very good reception to get very good speeds. Poor reception means lower speeds. So you need to find out what the coverage is like in camp, find someone with a 3g phone and see how many bars you get.

    On the other hand you could go out and buy a wizzy new 3g phone (N95 for example) with a data contract, normally unlimited data for a fixed fee, and connect that to your lappy as it doubles as a data modem.

    What network is it with? If its my company I may be able to help.

    PM if you want more info.
  3. I've got broadband on my 3.5G phone, which then acts as a modem for my laptop. £12 per month unlimited download in the UK, (£7 per Mb abroad). Speed is dependant on signal strength, but I've just been using it at SPTA with no problem. Even works in Woolwich.
  4. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    There you go, thanks Mushroom.

    I have a modem and a 3G phone but I'm not in the UK and they're provided by my employer so didn't know what it costs. 12 quid is a damn good deal and HSDPA will very soon be faster than ADSL or cable. Get in while you can.

    A phone is better as not only do you get the modem but can use it as a phone, obviously. The card is OK if its dedicated for data. I have one as I'm a planning engineer designing the 3g network. If I was paying myself I'd just get a phone.
  5. depending where you are and what service plan you have, things may vary also you might want to confirm you are in an area where you can get the data services?
    are you using a gsm,umts or wimax type card system
  6. Check with T mobile looked on their website showed were I am currently living had full service only to get one and phone up to be told they have a different map and I was in a black spot.

    Now on 1 from 3 had some problems with it at first getting an error code of data modem invalid only for it to be sent away to come back with no fault found. However seems to be working OK at the moment but sometimes have to disconnect the connection to re-open it again to work sometimes
  7. Thanks for all the help and comments guys. My mate and I were so tearful and wretched, after we couldn't ogle birds or chat to hot local pork-riders, we went and got a virgin home deal for thirty quid set up and ten quid a month. No minimum contract and short cancellation period.

    This deal was dug deep from the bowels of a desperate sales person on the phone. We are still working out the catch and maybe the shock will come later. But for now, we're off the medication, and without the stress of awkward gadgets that drive you nuts. Thankyou.
  8. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Buggyest phone I've ever owned (nobody can tell me why I need a barcode scanner on my mobby) but its OK as a modem most places in the UK.

    Ord - you tried this SpinVox thing? Google it. Its free. It converts voicemail into text both ways. Handy for those of us with big fingers who dont want to look like a Chav banging out a 100 word text on the train. Gizmo of the week.
  9. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    Had the N95 8gb for 2 months now and its fine (met a Jerry on last summers holiday who did the GPS software for it). Working with a laptop in the car it seems to switch seamlessly between whatever net it can get, still need to try crossing borders though.

    Been checking out some of the private roving data options around Europe - I am in 3 or 4 countries most weeks - best I have seen is a 100mb per month worldwide deal for Euro49 with Vodafone Germany
  10. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    I got my N95 last October and its switched seamlessly in Europe, USA and Pacific. It still likes to switch itself off on odd occassions.
  11. What he said.

    My business partner gets rather annoyed when I plug my puny Nokia 6120c into my laptop and get faster web speeds than his expensive Vodafone set-up!

    All for an extra £7.50 a month with T-Mobile, cant be beaten.
  12. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    I don't really like Nokia but I've been pleasantly surprised with the N95. Although I agree it tends to turn itself off now and again :D

    I'll check out SpinVox IronDuke, thanks for the pointer.

    As an aside I've recently been playing with an iPhone, and its interface is fantastic. As soon as they add 3G I'm getting one.

    Back on thread, what network do Virgin use, isn't it T Mobiles? Seems strange if the original card from them didn't work but Virgins did when it's on the same network.
  13. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    Things are looking up for you then, I was reading the other day that the EU are pushing for cheaper data rates for roaming in Europe. I'll see if I can find the article, BBC I think it was.
  14. Any chance of a quick idiots' guide (me being the idiot) to how to use your mobile as a modem?
  15. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    It should have come with a disk and cable. Run the software on the disk and it should tell you when to connect your phone while installing the drivers.

    When you try to open a browser window in the options menu you should be able to select the phone/modem as your connection method. Voila.