Mobile broadband is a brilliant innovation that has opened the possibility of accessing the internet, no matter where we are. As with any other technology, mobile broadband too is not completely perfect. It has its own circle of issues relating to coverage, speed etc. While some of these cannot be fixed at the users end, many a time, the solution can be simple if we know what and where to look for.
From what I have experienced, tried and tested, here is a compilation of the most common problems related to mobile broadband and dongles, with some simple and useful tips.
Check How Secure Your Connection Is
Security is one of the most important factors that mobile broadband users must be well informed of. Here are some of the essential security tools that I would say, are must-haves.
Anti Spyware – Spywares collect bits of information at a time without the user’s knowledge to monitor activities or may also redirect your browser, both for the purpose of advertising. They are more common than viruses, and anti spyware tools like Super Anti Spyware detect and eradicate these sneaky programs.
Antivirus – Though your PC might come packed with Norton or McAfee, do not miss out on the other better performing applications. Some antivirus tools can slow down your system. Choose one that has good detection rates and at the same time, does not slow down your PC.
Windows Firewall – Firewalls check and filter out network traffic thus preventing viruses and hackers from creeping aboard. Though firewalls are not as important an anti viruses, they do an almost equally competent job. So, always remember to keep the firewall enabled. Windows Vista, XP or Windows 7 operating systems come with a personal firewall as standard.
These suggestions apply to fixed line connections too.
If Your Connection Is Terribly Slow
The speed of your mobile broadband connection is influenced by several factors like the network coverage, volume of network traffic, interference from other equipment, and even the weather conditions. You should also understand that mobile broadband is not as fast as fixed line connections. Most often, the signal strength will be the reason behind slow connections. To get good speeds, it is important that the area you are in, has good 3G broadband coverage. Although the 3G strength is primary, the signal can still be influenced by obstacles like walls, buildings etc. Installing antennas is known to boost the dongle’s reception strength.
Is The Dongle Compatible With Your PC?
Starting from Windows 2000, broadband dongles generally support all versions of windows, and Mac users will require Mac OS X. Dongles need minimal RAM and hard drive space, so there should be no major problems in terms of compatibility, even if you are using an old system.
If Your Dongle Is Not Installing In Your Laptop
Simply remove the dongle and try a different USB port. If the dongle works there, you will know that the problem lies with the port and not the device.
If you have identified that the problem is not with the port, but rather with the mobile broadband dongle, go to “My Computer” and right click on your dongle’s icon. Then click on “Explore” and look for the “Install” option in initialize installation.
If You Are Unable To Send Text Messages
Many dongles include a software that serves to send and receive text messages from and to the PC. If this service does not work, then the first step would be to check the message centre settings. Similar to that in mobile phones, dongles also have a specific text messaging service centre number. If this number is incorrect or missing, you will not be able to text. However, it is extremely simple to fix this up. You might have to call your provider and just input the numbers they provide, in the software at your end.
If Images In A Page Appear With Poor Quality
When compared to fixed line broadband, some users may witness poorer image qualities in a web page when using mobile broadband to access the internet. This is because of certain compression techniques used by providers. These compression procedures intercepts and then optimizes web requests, resulting in a reduction in size of the request. As a result of this optimization, a web page will load faster and also consume only less bandwidth.
An easy solution to fix this problem is to simply press Shift + F5. This action will cause the browser to send a ‘no cache’ header to the optimizer. The optimizer in turn sends the original decompressed web page to the browser. (This is proven to work well in firefox)
You can also check the optimization settings and browse through your service provider’s website to see if there are any upgrades applicable to your device’s existing software.
If You Have Lost Your Dongle
If you lose your dongle, be sure to act as quick as possible. Because if someone gets hold of the dongle, then it is most probable that they are going to put it to big use and you would end up paying huge bills. Contact you ISP immediately and they might suggest something to block others using the device.
Guest post by Zoe Terzetti who blogs on all things broadband or internet. She is a gadget geek and is presently writing for a Mobile broadband website. Zoe loves experimenting on anything new in the tech world and is a die-hard Apple fan.