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Mobile broadband for home PC?

Conall

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#1
I'm one of those poor fools still using dial-up internet, and up until recently I've been okay with it since I usually just browse the internet, downloading only small files.
Now, my city is about to widen a road nearby and they've been screwing with the damn phone lines in preparation, and whatever they've done has cut my already pitifully slow connection speed in half.
Currently connected at a whopping 28.8kbps. Now even browsing the internet with images disabled is painfully slow.

Cable and DSL STILL aren't available here, so neither of those are an option.
I've looked into satellite internet, but it sounds terrible and I'd like to avoid it if possible.
So now I'd like to ask about possibly using mobile broadband for my desktop.
Something like this: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Virgin-Mobile-Broadband2Go-Prepaid-3G-USB-Adapter-VMMC76NTKIT160/12718736

It sounds nice, no contract, $40 a month for 3G internet which is about what I already pay for dial-up plus a second phone line, and the 2.5gb cap isn't a problem since, as I said, I don't download much.
The reviews I've been reading are all over the place. Some say it's fast, others say slow.
If it can do better than the 3kbps download speed I currently have, I'd be happy with it.
Virgin Mobiles coverage map shows I'm covered, thankfully.

Is this really a viable option, or have I deluded myself once again?
Thanks for any info.
 
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#2
Sounds like a great option. Though, I would warn against a few things. The first, mobile provider latency tends to suck. Wired connections will always have a lower latency(response time). So if your planning on doing any sort of gaming, there's going to be a solid 100ms+ ping times to just about anything. I gamed on a 4G hotspot for a while, and I was running 400ms constantly. Which isn't very fun. Though that was on Clear, and in Atlanta.

Given what you said you've been doing online, I'd give it a go. But watch out for that bandwidth cap, you'll hit it in a hurry with any kind of streaming video/audio.
 

brandonwh64

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#3
Here in chattanooga/North GA, I get 120MS in Counter Strike when I tether my verizon 3G to my PC and it does decent with some lag every once in a while when the signal dips. I have herd that verizon 4G here in chatt gets down to 60MS in games but YMMV depending on location.
 
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#4
yeah it will really depend on the network load and infrastructure in your area. like any internet, the more people using it harder make it slower, so it will depend on how many people in your area are using 3g.

that being said, it should still be faster than your dialup. the no contract means it's worth a try at least. it would suck to waste $40, but at the same time the chances it will work are good, so imo a risk worth taking.
 
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#5
Check the details of the plan. If the 3G sticks over there are anything like the ones here, they'll throttle your speed once you hit the traffic limit.
In my case, if I run into the traffic limit of 1GB per day or 5GB per month (overall), the speed gets limited to 64KBit/s, so it's slightly faster than regular dialup.
Not fun, but at least they don't cut you off completely. I'd check if the plans of the stick you posted do the same. If they cut you off, avoid it like the plague.

The regular speeds I'm getting aren't really all that high. At least nowhere near the advertised "up to 7.2MBit/s" marketing bullsh!t.
[there used to be a speedtest.net image here.. see below]

Still.. considering what you have right now, that's a whole different world.

edit: considering you're on dialup, I took the above speedtest.net image and compressed the sh!t out of it.

http://bambooz.pytalhost.net/TPU/speedtest-3g.jpg (just short of 9KB, instead of the original 32KB)

edit2: I suggest you get some sort of traffic monitor ASAP once you're on 3G.
I'm using Florian Gilles' NetSpeedMonitor (free) on my netbook (which is what I primarily use the 3G stick for)
http://www.floriangilles.com/software/netspeedmonitor
 
Last edited:

Conall

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#6
Did my research, and it's still looking good so far.
It's 2.5gb a month, then they throttle the speed. That should be plenty for me since I have no interest in streaming music and video or downloading large files in general.
I do have some old games I'll try online to see what kind of ping I get, though even if it's good and fast I doubt I'd get to play much. If I somehow did go over the limit, 64kbps is still over 10 times faster than the fastest download speed I've ever had with dial-up, so I'd be perfectly happy with even that.

I'll look into buying one of these things soon, then post the results.
Thanks for your time, guys.
 

Conall

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#7
Well, bought it today.


Not nearly as fast as the average I'd read about, but still leagues ahead of dial-up.
Getting between two and three bars signal strength.
Tried one of my old games online, got a slightly better ping but it's choppy.
Still, while much slower than most, I downloaded an 84mb update in twenty minutes.
That's two or three hours on dial-up. This is great!
 
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#8
Jeez. Is there not any ISPs that do point to point wireless in your area? That's one of the things the company I work for does, and we put our towers in outlying areas where dial up is the only other option normally. Our customers normally get somewhere from 5 Mbps - 30 Mbps depending on contract, location, etc.

Heck if you have a friend up the road that get's decent DSL speeds and is willing to share, buy up a pair of Ubiquiti NanoBridges and make yourself a nice point to point link.

Check this site out

http://www.ubnt.com/
 
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Conall

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#9
I've heard that DSL might be made available after they finish working on the road, so I think I'll just wait and see what happens.
In the meantime, mobile broadband will do me just fine.
Thanks anyway, though, I had no idea anything like point to point wireless existed.