I have used the Vodafone 3G datacard since its launch a couple of years ago, however after a colleague mentioned that there was a brand new 3G Broadband card launched recently I decided to upgrade, especially as it was a free upgrade.
The difference is impressive, although the card looks identical to the original card the speed is significantly improved. There has also been a significant update to the Vodafone Connect Software for the Apple Mac, even though it falls someway short of the functionality of the Windows version.
The upload speed difference is remarkable; I have just uploaded 3 images to an FTP server, all over 1mb each in a matter of a minute.
Vodafone has begun the roll out of the new 3G Broadband technology HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) in the UK, at the moment the Broadband speed is only available inside the M25 and a couple of major cities (including London, Manchester, Sheffield, Tyneside, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow and the West Midlands). Where the broadband is not available the Datacard will fail-over to normal 3G and if that is also not available then GPRS.
3G Broadband is being deployed at 1.8Mbit/s which offers peak transfer rates for customers of around 1.4Mbit/s in downlink mode, approximately 4 times the speed currently available on 3G.
The 3 G Broadband card is terrific, it certainly works well in London, and fails-over gracefully when out in the sticks, so for no extra money I have now a card that is as fast as my previous datacard out in the sticks, but substantially quicker in town. This is however of no use to anyone with a New Apple Mac Pro or an Ibook, which doesn’t have a PCMCIA slot, however there is an answer on its way.
Vodafone UK have recently announced that it will be launching the Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem, a new version of its 3G broadband data card designed especially for users of the latest generation of laptops, desktops and Apple MacBooks, later this year. The device, which will be available in the autumn, will allow customers to access Vodafone’s high speed 3G broadband service by simply plugging it into the USB slot on their computer.