Vodafone Internet Stick

For those blessed with excellent 3G reception in their homes the Vodafone Internet Stick will serve you well. Be sure to check Vodafone's coverage map before coughing up the cash.


7.5
CNET Rating
3.9
User Rating

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Design
Following suit with its competitors at 3 Mobile and Optus, Vodafone has released a USB drive-shaped mobile broadband modem to replace the old "soap on a rope" style modems we saw last year. This new style modem is now about the size of a tube of lipstick and features a sliding USB connection which can be retracted for safer transportation.

Vodafone has again employed Chinese manufacturer Huweii to deliver the hardware for its modems, the same as all the other network operators; however, this latest Vodafone model has one nifty trick up its sleeve; a microSD memory card reader hidden under the SIM card cover. This means that not only does this USB modem look like a mass storage device it also has the capacity to be one, unlike the same sized modems from the competition.

Performance
A new feature of this new modem from Vodafone is that all the necessary software, for either a Mac or PC, is pre-installed on the modem's memory, so it automatically installs all the necessary drivers and interface software the first time you plug the modem into a USB port.

The associated software is very easy to navigate and offers all the information you need including most importantly your remaining data credit for the month. The software also has an SMS feature, common to this kind of service, allowing you to send SMS messages from the interface on your PC to any mobile.

We understand that Vodafone intends to expand its HSDPA network over the coming months, but at the time of writing this review there has been no considerable changes to this network. As such, the comments we made in our Vodafone modem review of 18 months ago still stand true. Performance will vary greatly depending on where you are located, and before signing up to a contract with Vodafone you should carefully consider the Vodafone coverage footprint.

Customers in the major metropolitan areas (excluding Darwin and Hobart) should be able to use the 3G service. We've been testing the modem in and around Sydney's CBD and even then have experienced reduced signal. When testing the speeds of the data as we received it we saw an average of about 500Kbps, which is only slightly faster than fixed-line ADSL connections, and about a third of the estimated 1.5Mbps speeds you should expect if you're in an area of strong coverage.

Pricing has also remained unadjusted with the introduction of this new modem. On its site Vodafone advertises two plans, a 1GB monthly allowance plus the new modem for AU$29.95 per month over 24 months, or an increased 5GB allowance for AU$49.95 a month. This is slightly more expensive than the mobile broadband pricing from competitor 3 Mobile who is offering 6GB for AU$39 per month over a similar contract term.

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mallacoota posted a comment   
Australia

I cannot connected to firefox or exp.internet even the usb is got good sighnal could you please advise. regards

 

Shell posted a comment   

The Good:If it worked

The Bad:It's crap and don't bother asking them if you area has good reception.

Here is the thing. Vodafone will tell you that you have good reception even if the reception is crap. For example I live in the middle of a CBD and major tourist city, Vodafone or Crapfone told me before I purchased the data stick that reception is available, the Vodafone stick software shows 3-4 out of 5 bars of 3G connection. Sounds good but it's a load of sh*t!!. In reality it is so slow I can make a coffee before the page loads... What ever you do don't get stuck with a contract. I have phoned, emailed etc. It took one 40 minute call to log a job and a second 20 minute call for them to basically ask the same questions as the first time they logged the job. I haven't since heard from them! BTW if it rains. I can't even connect. Same if there is the slightest hint of wind. Don't get sucked in when they offer you a better price under a contract or to reduce your mobile phone bill by $10 if you sign a contract.

lotus
1
Rating
 

lotus posted a review   

The Good:not good reception

The Bad:imposiable to get in contact with them

price ok but dont buy there products
you dont seem to be able to get any service
i cant even get them to send me my broadband account on time to my email address

 

bindieblue posted a comment   

The Good:price is good.

The Bad:service,speed and constant drop outs

the price is good but the service u get i terrible.constant drop outs and very rarely get 3G.even when connected,the connection very low that no pages open.

Stuttgart
8
Rating
 

Stuttgart posted a review   

The Good:Price. Works well when set up correctly

The Bad:Difficult to configure for newbies

I know how all you frustrated Vodafone users feel because I've been in your shoes for months. I'm using a new 64 Bit, i5 powered laptop with plenty of RAM, Windows7 etc but if your internet connection is no good all the bells and whistles are useless. After getting sick of an internet connection that required more time to maintain than time spent browsing I have done some research and here are the solutions I've employed which so far,(touch wood) are working for me.

I bought a Vodafone Internet Stick and installed the software in the recommended manner using the program on the CD that came with the package. Like so many other people I found it inconsistent in it's performance with drop outs, slow download speed, poor 3G signal strength in Melbourne metropolitan area. I live on top of a hill with a telecom. tower 1200 metres away but I could be in the signal shadow created by the brow of the hill and other buildings. The connection would also keep flicking between 3G and GPRS. It cost me $20 phone credit on the Vodafone helpline to be told how to edit the device so it will only use 3G before it stopped switching back and forth. The other problems remained and there were other strange and annoying things like MB's of my bandwidth disappearing into the ether every time I connected to the network and messages about "mobile connection not possible" because another program was using the device and instructions to "remove the device and reinstall it". All time consuming irritations.

First up you need to update the software. Though I tried to use the Help menu on the Vodafone desktop interface to update the software function lots of times I always got a message saying 'no updates are available'. That doesn't mean that there aren't updates being written! I was well surprised to discover new software on the Vodafone website. This address will take you to the latest software update for the internet stick. Same version for contract and prepaid.

http://www.vodafone.com.au/help/mobilebroadband/internetstickprepaid/index.htm

Save the file for now, do not run it yet.

If you are using the VMC Full program off the CD you need to uninstall it and restart. Plug in your stick and go to the Vodafone virtual CD drive in Windows Explorer, right click and open, run and install the VMC Lite program it contains, not the VMC Full that comes on the CD. It's a smaller program as it doesn't have the auto run on start up for instance, no need to be connected using bandwidth if you're just watching TV. I installed this version because I wanted to teach the stick not to run off the CD software. (I don't know if I needed to do that but if Jim Kirk taught me anything it's that computers need to learn and evolve in stages, just like humans!)

Now open the software update from Vodafone and run it, it will automatically remove the old software. I removed the stick while running just in case it removed the earlier version from there too and I may need to go back to using it for some reason I haven't discovered yet. Tick the box refusing to participate in Vodafone research, it's just another way of increasing their profits by using your bandwidth for you. Finish the install, give the system another restart and you now have a less buggy, more stable program that won't even start if the stick is not in the computer. I still get a poor signal message but my page opening and download speeds are better than ever. After watching in agony as a download crawled it's way towards completion before pausing, waiting and crashing too many times it's a pleasure to watch those little green/blue bars whizzing through in seconds.

Use your Internet Options menu to stop web pages reloading automatically to save some more bandwidth. I've stopped as much automatic updating by Windows and programs as possible. I've discovered which websites have been connecting to my computer and using my bandwidth (spending my money!)(Google, Facebook, web accelerators, companies who's products I've bought and registered etc, nothing malicious so far, just snooping corporations.) I'll be putting a stop to that as quick as I can learn how. It's amazing who can connect to your computer without you knowing it, I discovered websites from all over the world opening connections to my computer. They're not accessing my personal info as far as I and my anti virus and spyware removal tools can tell but some of them cover their tracks while they're connecting which is always a worrying sign of possible evil doers.

I got instructions on how to use Command Prompt to trace these websites from wikiHow that are fairly simple and easy to understand, there's even video of the process to follow if you need it. It's nice to know that for every computer hacker using the net for selfish gain or malicious pleasure there's a kindly defender of the electronic realm to write the counteracting measures for us to follow. Of course some of them are the 'wolf in sheep's clothing' characters you have to be wary of but Wiki seem to be pretty good at keeping false or misleading info off their sites. Here's the page.

http://www.wikihow.com/Trace-an-IP-Address

Using Task Manager to get to Services check that the WWAN Autoconfig is running, I'm not sure what it does but Microsoft tell me it's vital for my mobile broadband experience and they would know better than me. If this service is on manual it can fail to start which I discovered had happened to me once so I switched it to automatic start.


I hope this helps.

fooked off
2
Rating
 

fooked off posted a review   

The Good:small

The Bad:poor reception and poor service.

Despite living in an area that indicates on the map it is well covered for 3G, I don't get 3G very often. I found the service line useless and arrogant, the accounting also leaves a lot to be desired-. When this contract is through I'm out of here!!!

 

Shell posted a reply   

I agree. I'm in the same situation.

John
1
Rating
 

John posted a review   

The Good:Relatively cheap

The Bad:everything

Was purchasing monthly and the speed was OK so purchased 12G, what a mistake. Poor connection, extremely slow speed, drop outs...once data is used will not use vodafone again. Not sure if any competitors are any better though?

sam
8
Rating
 

sam posted a review   

The Good:where i live i must be one of the lucky one cause i get the best vodafone internet service, fast downloads

The Bad:being 3 hrs behind to AEST and having the customer help line close at 5pm. its also very hard to understand there accsent

love the new pre paid caps as i do heaps of downloading,


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User Reviews / Comments  Vodafone Internet Stick

  • mallacoota

    mallacoota

    "I cannot connected to firefox or exp.internet even the usb is got good sighnal could you please advise. regards"

  • Shell

    Shell

    "Here is the thing. Vodafone will tell you that you have good reception even if the reception is crap. For example I live in the middle of a CBD and major tourist city, Vodafone or Crapfone told ..."

  • lotus

    lotus

    Rating1

    "price ok but dont buy there products
    you dont seem to be able to get any service
    i cant even get them to send me my broadband account on time to my email address"

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