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Standard User Cato2
(member) Fri 18-Nov-11 14:04:07
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Vodafone PAYG + dongle 100x slower than iPhone ...


[link to this post]
 
I'm perplexed.... Having had a really bad time with an O2 PAYG SIM with E160 dongle recently (disconnecting every few minutes, admittedly in a mostly EDGE area), I did a couple of tests with Vodafone from exactly the same window at home, with dramatically different results:

1. iPhone 3GS with contract Vodafone SIM - speedtest.net on iPhone gave 4.6 Mbps down, 0.3 Mbps up, 200 ms ping, with 2 to 3 bars of 3G signal showing on phone.

2. Huawei E160 dongle with PAYG Vodafone SIM - speedtest.net on Firefox gave 0.03 Mbps down, 0.02 Mbps up, and 870 ms ping. Can't check signal or 3G/EDGE, but it must have been EDGE if not GPRS.

Curious to know why the massive difference here... Perhaps the E160 is not so good at holding onto 3G signal in low-signal areas, since the iPhone has a better antenna?

I also have a Huawei K3765 dongle in case that would be better.

The E160 was originally from O2 but was provided unlocked. I have had better speeds (at least 100 Kbps) with the E160 using an O2 SIM from the same window.

Fix O2 routing loss with any Netgear firmware: fix-netgear tool for Windows/Linux/Mac (download page)
Standard User mr_bean
(member) Mon 21-Nov-11 18:26:55
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Re: Vodafone PAYG + dongle 100x slower than iPhone ...


[re: Cato2] [link to this post]
 
I don't know whether the E160 is especially bad but this mirrors my experience as well.

I always used an E160 when out and about and, as it worked fine most of the time, assumed drop outs on the train back from London were genuine holes in service.

Until the day that I forgot the dongle and wound up setting up Bluetooth tethering on the laptop using my S8000 - the difference was night&day, the only noticable drop-out was going through a tunnel which is fair enough.

Also setting up tethering was way more reliable than the insufferable connection manager provided by t-mobile.

As I upgraded to a much better phone I'm now using tha mobile wifi hotspot function in the phone - again much easier to set up on the laptop - and I haven't looked back.

I came to the conclusion that it must be the fact that you just can't squeeze a decent antenna into a dongle.
Standard User Cato2
(member) Mon 21-Nov-11 23:02:21
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Re: Vodafone PAYG + dongle 100x slower than iPhone ...


[re: mr_bean] [link to this post]
 
Interesting, thanks for the comment. One other idea is that I should try forcing the dongle to use 3G only - sometimes a low but adequate 3G signal can be better than a higher level of 2G signal, I believe.

I guess a cheap Android phone is quite usable as a tethered device, and I even have an old G1 that I could use as a WiFi hotspot. I've also found the mobile connect software for dongles quite atrocious with both Vodafone and O2, requiring daily re-installs in some cases - so a tethered phone or WiFi to 3G router would be a lot more reliable.

Some of the dongles have antenna connectors (CRC9 for the E160) so perhaps they are OK for a permanent installation with a decent antenna.

Fix O2 routing loss with any Netgear firmware: fix-netgear tool for Windows/Linux/Mac (download page)

Edited by Cato2 (Mon 21-Nov-11 23:06:57)


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Administrator MrSaffron
(staff) Tue 22-Nov-11 14:36:13
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Re: Vodafone PAYG + dongle 100x slower than iPhone ...


[re: Cato2] [link to this post]
 
The battery powered 3G routers seem to work better with the dongles than small netbooks/laptops, and have checked CPU load is not bad etc

Andrew Ferguson, andrew@thinkbroadband.com
www.thinkbroadband.com - formerly known as ADSLguide.org.uk
The author of the above post is a thinkbroadband staff member. It may not constitute an official statement on behalf of thinkbroadband.
Standard User Cato2
(member) Tue 22-Nov-11 14:57:54
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Re: Vodafone PAYG + dongle 100x slower than iPhone ...


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
I agree that 3G routers work better with dongles than when using dongles with PCs - however, at least for my location, an extra antenna would be needed for use on Vodafone. Next I will try Orange and 3 to see how they compare.

Fix O2 routing loss with any Netgear firmware: fix-netgear tool for Windows/Linux/Mac (download page)
Standard User Cato2
(member) Fri 02-Dec-11 07:53:23
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Re: E160 dongle 100x slower than smartphones with same SIM


[re: MrSaffron] [link to this post]
 
I agree the software setup is better on a 3G router, but this thread was more about the very poor speed in a marginal 3G area, due to dongles have apparently much worse antennas than smartphones.

I've also tested an old Google G1 Android phone (cost £100 last year) and it's getting over 3 Mbps downstream in the same position as the iPhone and E160 dongle mentioned above, i.e. about 100x the speed of the dongle using the same Vodafone PAYG SIM.

I've gone with USB tethering on Android as it doesn't require a rooted phone and the USB charges the phone while you are using it, avoiding need for a charger - using EasyTether Pro which is on sale this week (about £3 which is 50% off). Works fine on the G1 which is still on Android 1.6, so should work on almost any Android phone. EasyTether is supposed to work on Ubuntu 10.04+ but I don't yet have that working.

Very happy with tethering now, and my only regret is the time wasted with dongles - if you're in a good signal area and use a 3G router, dongles are fine (and weigh less), but otherwise I'd really recommend smartphone tethering.

Fix O2 routing loss with any Netgear firmware: fix-netgear tool for Windows/Linux/Mac (download page)

Edited by Cato2 (Fri 02-Dec-11 07:56:37)

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