Optus Wireless Connect

Optus' combo PC Card ticks every box on the wireless menu, including 3G, GPRS and Wi-Fi, to serve road warriors with a smorgasbord of connectivity.


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Optus' combo PC Card ticks every box on the wireless menu, including 3G, GPRS and Wi-Fi, to serve road warriors with a smorgasbord of connectivity.

In addition to hitching a ride on the carrier's own 3G and GSM networks, this canary yellow uber-card also boasts 802.11b and 802.11g for hooking up to hotspots and home and office WLANs. The all-in-one card costs a weighty AU$599, although you can save AU$200 by opting for the 3G/GSM card sans wireless (and rely on your notebook's own Wi-Fi, which may enjoy superior Wi-Fi range because many laptops use vertical antenna mounted in the display panel). Inking a 24 month contract will almost halve those up-front costs.

Both versions of the card tap into Optus's secret weapon: a single account that readily connects to the best available signal on any of these networks without additional per-network charges - even to the extent of no-cost roaming onto over 600 Azure hotpots (in addition to Optus's own wireless web).

Optus's 3G coverage is currently limited to the greater sprawl of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, plus the Brisbane CBD and airport, although network extensions continue afoot (click here for updated coverage maps).

Their more extensive GSM network provides a safety net, so you can choose either phone-based network for the best chance of connectivity. If speed is of the essence, Optus's intent is that customers will hotfoot it to the nearest hotspot, where throughput should be a magnitude greater than 3G. However, this depends on the size of the pipe behind the hotspot (as well as how many users are sharing it) - during a session at North Sydney's popular Greenwood Plaza we logged onto an Azure hotspot and could manage no better than 240kbps, which was less than we were getting on 3G. Hotspots with fatter backhaul links (Optus has a 10Mbps channel behind their hotspots at Sydney Airport, for instance) should fare better.

3G performance was on par with expectations, although Optus's choice of a 128kbps uplink (twice that of Telstra, Vodafone and 3) will be a boon to users who routinely send fat emails or upload large files.

The Windows-only software supports location-based profiles where you can nominate your preferred connection route with prioritised fall-back if your first choice is unavailable, or specify a single connection type - for example, your WiFi network when at home.

Other features of the software dashboard include a Wi-Fi sniffer to detect nearby hotspots (as well as unprotected WLANs) and the provision of a fixed IP address to ensure easy VPN access back to the office intranet.

Once you've swallowed the cost of the card itself, Optus's plans scope from AU$49 per month for a laughable 50MB data cap to AU$89 for 500MB or AU$129 for a generous 1.5GB; excess usage charges for all plans are 30c/MB.

The top-shelf scheme represents the best value of the trio, and while it's pipped at both the post by Vodafone's $100 'Unlimited' plan, many travellers will find the added convenience of hotspot access tilts the table in Optus's favour.

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123
2
Rating
 

123 posted a review   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:It sucks. Unbelievably slow.

I cannot believe that even you are in the central of the city your coverage is still so poor.

 

Lornick posted a comment   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

Keeps dropping out, internet runs really slow, most of the time i have to restart my computer just to gt the dam thing working again its so bad. Rang up optus now there saying they are admitting to having problems and dont know when they will fix it ugh!!! What makes it even worse dail up works faster lol

 

brian posted a comment   

It should have stuck with my
dial up, it was 3 times as fast
and it didn't drop out every
five minutes

Ranjit
1
Rating
 

Ranjit posted a review   

The Good:Can't think of anything

The Bad:Constant drop out, over charges

This service is terrible. Not also do I constantly loose service. The online monitor alwlays displays more MB than I have used. On my Net Limiter Pro 2 it says I have used 600MB, in the same time period the online monitor for Optus says I have used 1250MB, how can there be a difference of over 100%. My monitor is always running so I know it's not because I have not turned it on. These guys are thieves, I once had to pay $750 extra because I went over the limit without knowing. Australia has the worst internet services in the world (or very close to the bottom).

 

Jace posted a comment   

The Good:Yeah right

The Bad:Too much to list

USB Optus WCDMA in the hunter valley , in sight of the tower , full service strength , was ok for about a month but now total garbage , Using it on 3 computers ( When it connects ) so know its not a tech prob my end . Going satelite broardband , had enough , dont waste your money !

vrgusr
1
Rating
 

vrgusr posted a review   

The Good:mobility

The Bad:keeps dropping, absolute hopeless. ripoff

I am using wireless broadband from Virgin via optus network. Let me tell you..this broadband is an absolute joke. Connection keeps dropping out continously...I have even bought those external antenna's, but no luck. BTW i live in West Sydney.
The bad thing is...it is an contract and i cannot isconnect with some fee. I think Govt should not be allowing this kind of network service or products. I mean how many time does your call drop off when you are talking for say 5 mins. And this stupid device would some times drop itself twice in five minutes (even worst some times).

 

trish posted a comment   

The Good:nothing

The Bad:dont get me started

optus usb prepaid internet thing is unbelieveable the net drops so so often and its getting so fustrating it doesnt disconnect but its recieving nothing its so terrible im in the 3G network as well its so stupid how im spending more on recharging this thing just so it could disconnect and reconnect. in one day the usage was already 1Gb how is that possible if the only thing that i was using was msn.. whatever happened to the old times where optus was the top of the range now nothing but a laughing stock of the nation..

Iratecustomer
1
Rating
 

Iratecustomer posted a review   

How's this for Optus Wireless !!
After my friend changed from Bigpond Broadband, which they had used for 4yrs and NO trouble, they decided to go with Optus because as they offered a better deal. LOL???
6 weeks later, They Stil have NO Internet ! After 3hours of trying to help my friend out, I Finally found out that the Optus Wireless Modem, KNOCKED/WIPED OUT the Network Connections in the Control Panel.
I WAS Told by Optus Tech support That this is Happens!! Now Could they Help Fix this problem?? NOT on your Life !!
Now it is up to me to find the Drivers I need online, ( which I have only just done ) so I can install them back on their computer !!
A Problem that Should Never have occurred. Never!
One Rubbish Inferior Product !!

Dee
1
Rating
 

Dee posted a review   

The Good:Price

The Bad:Everything

This is so bad, like the others I have experienced so many drop outs, having to try and reconnect again and again and again. So bloody frustrating, definitely not worth the effort and money. I have been close so many times to chuck my whole computer through the window just because of this stupid internet connection. And I can't get ADSL, don't even get me started on that point.

mesmerx
2
Rating
 

mesmerx posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Backup internet.

The Bad:Constant drop-outs, unbelievably unreliable connection

Absolutely horrible reliability. In fact, on average... you'll get about 20 drop outs per hour. It's freakin' impossible to work with this thing. By dropouts, I also mean, it doesn't actually disconnect... but data just isn't flowing.

Guaranteed to **** you off, even if you're a monk trained to never get angry.

But I still use this because I need backup internet for my business when I'm on the move. So it's good for quick email checks.


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User Reviews / Comments  Optus Wireless Connect

  • 123

    123

    Rating2

    "I cannot believe that even you are in the central of the city your coverage is still so poor."

  • Lornick

    Lornick

    "Keeps dropping out, internet runs really slow, most of the time i have to restart my computer just to gt the dam thing working again its so bad. Rang up optus now there saying they are admitting t..."

  • brian

    brian

    "It should have stuck with my
    dial up, it was 3 times as fast
    and it didn't drop out every
    five minutes"

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