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Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

Occasional Poster
Sprinter
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-10-2011
Accepted Solution

Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Occasional Poster
Message 1 of 21 (4,572 Views)

Hi there,

 

Apologies if this has been asked previously but I can't seem to find the same scenario in earlier threads.

 

My elderly neighbour recently bought the prepaid Starter USB Modem (3GB for 30 days or something) as his first ever broadband option. (I am next door and have been using 3 mobile broadband with very good reception for a few years now.)

 

Unfortunately what he got (I think it was from the Post Office) was the metro-only 850MHz modem.... and of course it will not work. It connects, sometimes, and even then only just. And with only 1 bar of signal strength it is next to useless.

 

He's a funny old bugger and insists on buying prepaid because of the tightness with money. He likes to know exactly what his costs will be up front - fair enough I guess. I feel bad for him now because he has now signed up for another 12 months but he still has no reception! He's been on the phone trying to sort it out but I think he's reached the end of his tether and may well explode soon!

 

What are the options for him? Can he swap the device for the Standard or Mega modem? Would a Pocket WiFi boost signal at all? Can an external antenna be fitted? (I couldn't see a port) We're in northern Wollongong so well outside the 'metro' 850MHz area. I really would like to be able to help him out.

 

I still have my older 3 mobile usb modem - would sticking his sim in that modem work? He can have it if that works! (probably has to be unlocked i guess)

 

Any information appreciated.

 

Scott

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Occasional Poster
Sprinter
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-10-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Occasional Poster
Message 2 of 21 (4,473 Views)

I've got some more information that might help support this query:

 

The device is in fact a K3571-Z so should be able to use Regional MBB? Location is 2517 but when I view the coverage map we're just on the edge of a possible shadow, so he could be out of luck. Is Vodafone not using the same infrastructure as 3 Mobile did yet? It seems strange that my 3 Mobile E122 will work at his place, but his Vodafone K3571-z won't.

 

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Problem Solver
Peter
Posts: 1,085
Registered: ‎23-03-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

[ Edited ]
by Problem Solver
Message 3 of 21 (4,460 Views)

Hi

 

At present, Vodafone's using 2100 MHz for 3G coverage in your area but the signal strength in postcode 2517 is awful - only 1-2 dots, and that's outside. 

 

However it looks like there are network upgrades coming to your area, this year, next year ...

http://www.vodafone.com.au/personal/aboutvodafone/network/

 

Ask nicely and Vodafone may supply your friend with a Pocket Wifi2 or R101 Sharing Dock.  Bung the dock or the Pocket Wifi somewhere high, near a window, facing a transmission tower, wherever it will pick up a reasonable signal.

 

Here's a map of transmission towers locations in your area:

http://maps.spench.net/rf

 

If they won't give you a free Pocket Wifi 2, they're available for $35.50 (from Vodafone) until the end of October. Read more here:  http://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/54223

 

Good luck.

 

   

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Help and Support
Susanne
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎25-08-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Help and Support Help and Support
Message 4 of 21 (4,427 Views)

Sprinter wrote:

I've got some more information that might help support this query:

 

The device is in fact a K3571-Z so should be able to use Regional MBB? Location is 2517 but when I view the coverage map we're just on the edge of a possible shadow, so he could be out of luck. Is Vodafone not using the same infrastructure as 3 Mobile did yet? It seems strange that my 3 Mobile E122 will work at his place, but his Vodafone K3571-z won't.

 



  

Hi Sprinter

 

Thanks for posting in our Community.  Sorry to hear that your neighbour is experiencing these issues with the Mobile Broadband service.  I can confirm that our modems do all support the 2100 and 900 MHz network.  Some of the new ones and the Pocket Wifi 2 do support the new 850MHz network.  On checking the Coverage Map for postcode area 2517 it shows that there is only the 2100MHz network present.  The K3571z USB does support this so there could be other reasons why your neighbour is not getting service.  It could be that at his address the signal is not strong enough to support this or the modem may be faulty.

 

We do have network upgrades planned for the area with postcode 2517.  These can be viewed here

I think your suggestion of trying the Vodafone simcard in your 3 Modem (E122) is a good idea as this device does support the 2100MHz network.  If you wish to unlock this device you can do this by calling 3 Care on 133320.

 

Please let me know how you go with this so I can then action further troubleshooting to get this issues resolved should this be required.  Thanks

 

Regards

Susanne


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Help and Support
Susanne
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎25-08-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Help and Support Help and Support
Message 5 of 21 (4,425 Views)

Peter wrote:

Hi

 

At present, Vodafone's using 2100 MHz for 3G coverage in your area but the signal strength in postcode 2517 is awful - only 1-2 dots, and that's outside. 

 

However it looks like there are network upgrades coming to your area, this year, next year ...

http://www.vodafone.com.au/personal/aboutvodafone/network/

 

Ask nicely and Vodafone may supply your friend with a Pocket Wifi2 or R101 Sharing Dock.  Bung the dock or the Pocket Wifi somewhere high, near a window, facing a transmission tower, wherever it will pick up a reasonable signal.

 

Here's a map of transmission towers locations in your area:

http://maps.spench.net/rf

 

If they won't give you a free Pocket Wifi 2, they're available for $35.50 (from Vodafone) until the end of October. Read more here:  http://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/54223

 

Good luck.

 

   


Hi Peter

 

Thank you for posting this information to support Sprinter.  We appreciate your helpful advice.  

 

Regards

Susanne

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Occasional Poster
Sprinter
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-10-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Occasional Poster
Message 6 of 21 (4,384 Views)

Hi Peter and Susanne,

 

Thanks for the information - from the upgrade schedule it looks like the New Site in Russell Vale due for completion in December this year will almost certainly rectify the big shadow cast across 2517... which we appear to be right on the edge of! Also noticed the two most recent upgrades were finished a month early, so the upgrade for Russell Vale may even get completed next month.

 

I'll still get my old 3 modem unlocked and give it a try (It's an E160G which still uses 2100MHz) as if it does work then that may indicate my neighbour's modem is indeed faulty. At least if we can establish that then he may have grounds to request a repair or replacement.

 

A Pocket WiFi or sharing dock may also help, particularly if we can locate the device high up, but he's only got a desktop with no wifi. However he has been talking about getting a laptop for a while so I might help him out with that. He won't need a gaming machine so for $400-$500 we should see him right.

 

I'll get back to you with our progress.

 

 

 

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Problem Solver
Peter
Posts: 1,085
Registered: ‎23-03-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

[ Edited ]
by Problem Solver
Message 7 of 21 (4,379 Views)

Hey Sprinter

 

If you want to use a Pocket Wifi, just hook it up with a USB cable - no need to use wifi at all.

 

The E160G modem is a 2100MHz only modem, so should be OK in your area.  It has an antenna connector but it's not that easy to get aerials that suit. There's a discussion here (with several dead links).

 

If the E160G needs unlocking from 3, hopefully they'll give you the code for free. If not, I can send you a private message about alternatives.  Does the software that comes on the E160G let you to alter the APN, so you can use it with Vodafone?

 

Use a long USB cable with the E160G so you can place it high for best reception.  Most USB stuff is ok with cables up to 5 metres.

 

Sounds like you're a good neighbour...hope he gives you a beer or two for your help.

 

 

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Occasional Poster
Sprinter
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎04-10-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Occasional Poster
Message 8 of 21 (4,324 Views)

Hi Peter,

 

I've just called 3 and they gave me the unlock code. I've downloaded the unlock executable off their site and ran it - success. So the modem is now unlocked.

 

I've opened the 3 application again to check APN - it is showing as "Static". However I can click "Edit" or even "New" and create another/new profile. As I've never done this before - what will I need to change for this device to be able to access Vodafone instead? There are three sections: "Profile name", "APN" (Dynamic or Static and a field for the actual APN) and "Authentication" (1. Access Number <currently populated>, 2. User Name <blank>, 3. Password <blank>)

 

Thanks,

 

Scott

 

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Problem Solver
Peter
Posts: 1,085
Registered: ‎23-03-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

[ Edited ]
by Problem Solver
Message 9 of 21 (4,314 Views)

Good work Scott

 

You've unlocked it, the rest is easy.  I've copied the brief instructions below from Vodafone's modem setup guide:

 



Let me know how you go with it.  Cheers - Peter

 

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Help and Support
Nige
Posts: 425
Registered: ‎23-08-2011

Re: Starter USB Modem - can it be upgraded?

by Help and Support Help and Support
Message 10 of 21 (4,282 Views)

Hi Scott,

 


Sprinter wrote:

from the upgrade schedule it looks like the New Site in Russell Vale due for completion in December this year will almost certainly rectify the big shadow cast across 2517... 

 

It is great to see you have an upgrade coming up soon in your area. It will certainly help your coverage.

 


Sprinter wrote:

I'll still get my old 3 modem unlocked and give it a try, I'll get back to you with our progress.


This is absolutely the right thing to do - try another device and see if the same thing happens. I look forward to the results of your testing.

 

Cheers,

Nige.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help and Support

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