Martin Veitch revises his early dislike of the Sierra Wireless 3G modem for laptops.
Frustrated at a duff installation experience, I wrote some disparaging notes a few weeks ago about my unhappy start to life with Sierra Wireless’s AirCard 875U Broadband USB Modem, the device that you’ll get if you buy 3G mobile access from O2.
The user guide’s installation information was below par and the product was only got up and running after a fresh set of drivers were located on the Sierra web site. Since then, however, the AirCard has proven a better partner than those early indications might have suggested.
On the plus side, the AirCard has worked pretty well faultlessly: in three weeks of use, I have been disconnected just once. Plug the device into a free USB slot and the software is quickly invoked with connection status displayed. In London, the link was usually a 3G connection with some dropping back to GPRS. However, despite promises of "speeds up to 3.6 Mbit/s", my experience was of speeds somewhat faster than a dial-up connection but slower than a basic broadband service.
The AirCard has a nice format. It is the size of a small mobile phone but its hinged design means it can be positioned erect, horizontal or pointing straight down from the USB slot. It feels a bit more solid than cord-tethered modems such as the Huawei 3G device that is offered by Orange. Another nice feature is that the high-speed HSDPA standard is supported.
On the negative side, I could only really complain about that installation experience and the fact that 3G connectivity is now starting to be built into laptops, so plug-in devices will soon become only relevant for legacy machines. If you can stomach the tariffs, then these are very handy products for getting online when other options are limited, such as when there are no nearby Wi-Fi hotspots in range.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago