Vodafone Mobile Connect: Option GlobeTrotter GT3+ 3G/EDGE data card

The Vodafone 3G card we looked at was a Fusion-based card so suffered from installation problems. If there is another vendors' card installed, you have to purge all the drivers, software and even consider cleaning up the registry

Editor's ChoiceStep 1: Vodafone Mobile Connect: Option GlobeTrotter GT3+ 3G/EDGE data card
  • Fast, reliable, always found wireless LAN hotspots
  • Installation needs sorting out, no support for any device without PCMCIA slot (not compatible with external PCMCIA adapters)

The Vodafone 3G card we looked at was a Fusion-based card so suffered from installation problems. If there is another vendors' card installed, you have to purge all the drivers, software and even consider cleaning up the registry. However, as Vodafone have been shipping the Fusion cards for a while now, they do have good compatibility with their earlier cards and when the latest card was installed on a machine with the older drivers it worked first time. The same was true of backward compatibility. Swap the cards out and go back to the older card and it continued working.

You can create your own profiles but not a dedicated profile just for wireless LAN hotspot use. We were working with the v6 software as it is incredibly stable and works with multiple generations of cards. It would have been nice to automatically have it connect to mobile hotspots but we couldn't see where to configure the settings for automatic connection.

One of the odd behaviours we found with this card is that sometimes it would require the computer to be rebooted. This happened when the card was removed without being stopped through the Safely Remove Hardware icon. Apart from this, the card worked well.

The facility to have a wireless LAN profile into which user name and password details could be stored would be a huge benefit. Although the card found hotspots, we were unable to make the connection due to not having a Vodafone login. This is a limitation as it forces people to work with Vodafone when they may already have corporate deals for access to other hotspot providers.

The speed of this card was solid and while it just failed to attain the same level as the T-Mobile card, over the six locations, it was the fastest average speed. Its reliability with applications was almost perfect, just one drop out with IMAP in Edinburgh.

Futures Vodafone has a PCI Express card available in New Zealand and will offer support for it in the UK. However, Vodafone has chosen not to sell it. It does have plans to introduce a PC Express card but currently will not specify a release date.

They are expected to release their own USB device anytime soon and it will be interesting to see if it is just for the consumer or whether they target the main business market.

Vodafone has said that this card is field upgradeable to the higher HSDPA speeds as they become available and it will be supporting the card for the foreseeable future.

Conclusion

The Vodafone card just makes you want to use it. Installation still leaves a lot to be desired but once installed, it is ideal. Their pricing also appeals to the individual and small business as well as the enterprise.

Verdict

Take away the installation and this is what the user wants in a wireless data card.

Windows XP, 2000 SP2 Type II PCMCIA Slot 100MB Disk Space 32MB-64MB RAM

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