I received my 3G Broadband Modem a few days after getting the instructions, a DVD type box contained a few pieces of paper with simple instructions on how to install, too simple I thought, this can’t be right. There are always problems with installing hardware like this, especially portable hardware, so when I realised the box contained no software and the instructions stated that I should simply plug it in and it would automatically install, I was very sceptical.
I couldn’t believe when I simply slid the SIM card into place, plugged in the USB dongle, just slightly larger than an average sized USB stick as you can see below, the software began installing, and installing right first time.
It’s very handy and nicely rounded at the edges, and with an unobtrusive logo and an embedded light that gives an aesthetically pleasing glow when connected. I only wish that when the designers had thought of something to do with the USB cover when the modem is plugged in, if it could have been designed to clip over the other end rather than just sitting around it might have negated the chances of losing it.
The software autoruns direct from the USB modem, now while that’s great to begin with, it does become a little bit of a pain when my Vista laptop keeps asking me if I want to if I want to autorun the software every time I plug it in. The simple solution is to plug the modem in before the laptop starts up, or to stop autorun on Vista, which is a little more severe.
Using the software is pretty simple. You can see from the screenshot that it tells you the service and signal at the top with stats galore through the middle. At the bottom there’s a huge button that flips between a connect/disconnect button and that’s pretty much it.
The statistics are pretty variable and don’t really give you too much information unless you want to see what transfer rate you’re getting right now, so far I’ve found this pretty variable on the statistics screen, but feeling constant and surprisingly fast during usage, more on that in later posts.
You can mess around with the settings if you want, but there’s no real point. For me there were only two settings I really thought that I might want to play with, that’s the service selector and the startup minimised option.
Startup minimised is pretty self explanatory, but the service selector tells the modem to always select 3G networks, or simply 3G preferred. This means that if you can’t get a 3G signal then it’ll drop to the next available data signal, maintaining access.
Really it’s just a case of connecting and going for it, and that I did.
I have to say that the install was damned easy. Now onto the actual usage.