Trying out Vodafone’s 3G service.

For over a week this month our local OmniTel wireless broadband was out of action (the 3rd major interruption of service in the last year). As usual I had to revert back to my 64Kbps ISDN line which is not as bad as analogue dial-up but it’s still a shock to the system! Being within 3Km of a telephone exchange which is due to be broadband enabled we should eventually have a more reliable alternative. A 3g mobile signal would also be an alternative but alas our local Vodafone signal is still GPRS only (and O2’s signal is non existent); living in the countryside can be idyllic but it has its drawbacks.

Nevertheless, my wife’s new Nokia n70 is 3G enabled, and as we were visiting a 3g enabled area this bank holiday weekend, I decided to install the N70’s modem drivers on my laptop to try it out. Two hours later, I eventually got it to work, I pity any non-technical person who attempts to set it up. The Nokia PCSuite installed OK but when the Modem was detected on the USB port the drivers failed with a “Windows could not load installer for modem. Contact the hardware vendor” error.

Likewise, when I attempted to un-install existing Bluetooth / GPRS modems I use with my own Sony Ericsson in case a conflict was the cause of the problem I got the same error but this time with a message saying Windows 2000 couldn’t remove the drivers (I’m on XP SP2 !!).

Eventually I discovered I was missing a mdminst.dll from my windows/system32 folder, took a copy for another Dell laptop, REGSVR32’d it ( getting the message “The module ‘c:\windows\system32\mdminst.dll’ was loaded, but the entry-point DllRegisterServer was not found.”) and , hey presto, it worked. Why was I missing the dll? I guess I’ll never know but thanks to this www.driverguide.com thread for pointing me in the right direction.

The modem connected with a speed of 460.8Kbps, but my actual download speed was about half that with an upload speed in the mid 50s. Well ahead of ISDN download speeds and much cheaper (taking into account ISDN has a monthly fixed charge AND is charged by the minute ,while 3G is traffic based). So for those of you in a 3G area, if you still depend on ISDN for either backup or for your main internet service, throw it out and replace it with either a USB modem, router or even a member of your family’s mobile; don’t you just love having alternatives!

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2 responses to “Trying out Vodafone’s 3G service.

  1. Pingback: The WAN is the new LAN « Gobán Saor

  2. i didn’t get it .will u please explain a little?