First experiences with 3G Mobile Broadband

After setting the Mobile Broadband Modem up, which was perhaps one of the easiest installations of hardware I’ve ever accomplished, I was ready to start using it. However the real problem was I wasn’t actually going anywhere.

However that’s been sorted since with a few trips that have been made much easier with the 3G Mobile Broadband access.

I did log on from home before heading anywhere with it, and this was really to prove it would work, and it did, very easily.

I’ve found the best thing to do with a Vista system, and perhaps this is true of other operating systems too, is to plug the USB Mobile Broadband Modem in before powering on the laptop, otherwise it often tries to install the software again or doesn’t recognise the modem.

Now I have to say that I think this might well be my setup as plugging the Broadband Modem into the back of the laptop always causes a reinstall attempt, whereas having it plugged in the side USB ports means it never is – strange indeed.

However none of this is a major killer. Plug it in, power up, and if the software isn’t in your startup folder to automatically start, run the 3G Mobile Broadband software and watch the messages verify that the modem is connected and that it is valid.

From here it’s a case of double clicking the icon in the system tray and selecting connect, once a signal has been picked up of course, something that just takes a few extra seconds.

Establishing the connection is also very easy and quick, hit the huge button marked Connect and you can watch the status as it does just that. I’ve never yet had a situation where it fails to connect as if you see a signal at the top if the window, displayed just as a normal mobile phone signal strength with the name of the service you’re connected to, then you’ll connect.

Once connected you can minimise that window and head to the browser or email, neither of which needed any configuration changes and work perfectly well with WiFi or 3G connections.

So far I’ve managed a few connections from different places, although my workplace is notoriously bad for receiving mobile signals as only two mobile operators work there and both have corporate deals with the company, so there’s no surprise there.

I was at a wedding in Paisley and managed perfect connections from the hotel room just before we headed off for the ceremony, and a few times I’ve been sitting in city centre cinemas and typing up a few stories, reviewing all the articles from my almost two hundred strong feed filled Bloglines, or tapping away answering emails with my Digsby chat client running in the background with MSN, Yahoo, GMail, Facebook and Twitter sitting there quite happily.

Interestingly the connection is more reliable than my home based O2 Broadband which disconnects and reconnects a few times per hour! With the 3G Mobile Broadband connection there’s no such problem and the chat clients sit there quite happily.

Recently I was at Dead by Dawn and was arranging to meet someone there, that involved a few texts back and forth synchronising schedules and such like. How much easier that was with the laptop and the messaging application for the Broadband modem.

I just tapped in the number and typed away the message on a full size keyboard, it made text messaging so much easier and quicker, and although the size of the mobile is often more convenient, when you’re tapping away on the computer anyway it was a breeze not to have to change devices.

Another thing I would like to see is a way to tie in the local messaging functions of the 3G Mobile Broadband modem with a chat client such as Digsby or Trillian. Offering an API for programmers to latch onto their clients, or even offering a plugin for the popular chat clients, would be superb.

Finally I was flying out to Dublin for a long meeting the other day, and I sat quite comfortably at the gate, awaiting the boarding, and reading my Bloglines, answering a few emails, and more importantly getting my Twitter updated. Easy as pie.

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