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Thread: HSPDA problem

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    HSPDA problem

    Got a meeting on Monday and Tuesday at The Farm Inn in Pretoria.

    Great, I've been there before and know something of the venue. For example - No Sentech or Iburst available. However, there is 3G.

    So, I wander down to Vodacom shop to arrange 3G card (which I've kind of been considering anyway so no big deal).

    No 3G cards available because all you can get is HSPDA. Well, that's fantastic - even faster - latest technology - way to go.

    The shop does not have any in stock, but they'll get it delivered to me within the hour. Great - sign contract - done deal.

    Sure enough, within the hour package arrives, and I'm advised to shoot out to Vodacom Customer Centre at Gateway to get set up as it can be a bit tricky.

    Rush out (all excited - 1.8Mb connection here we come) and we start installing.

    Come to that wonderful stage "insert card" and let's say it goes downhill from there.

    You see, I have a fairly new laptop and, unbeknown to me, it has a PCMCII Advanced slot. Vodacom's HSPDA only fits into older laptops with the now redundant PCMCIA slot. Apparently the PCMCIA slot is all but phased out overseas already.

    So, many phone calls and many excuses later here is the upshot of it all:

    If you get HSPDA and you happen to get it working on your laptop, forget about upgrading your laptop within the next two years (unless you are happy paying for a contract you can't use).

    The HSPDA card does not work on Vodacom's wireless router - so there is no workaround that way.

    I can buy the wireless router for R1500.00 but there are no 3G cards available (although Vodacom has offered to source 2nd hand ones for me).

    The HSPDA card does not work on the available PCMCIA/PCMCII Advanced converter (which is also not immediately available anyway).

    Vodacom blames the computer guys for changing the slot etc., but the card does not even work on their own equipment (the wireless router).

    The computer guys say that Vodacom is desperately dumping their outdated cards (read somewhere that HSPDA had been dropped in Europe because of no take-up)... and the problem is Vodacom's.

    And no-one at Vodacom told me there might be this problem when I signed the contract. Apparently I was only the second person today with this problem so maybe there is no need to warn everyone about it as a matter of course...

    But I thought I'd let you know just in case.

    I just can’t figure whether Vodacom does not understand this particular market segment or whether they know us South Africans far too well.

  2. #2
    Email problem Chris B's Avatar
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    Vodacom...

    Well Dave, I dont know wat to say except that in my experience with technology I found its better to let guys like you find out the hard way and only get into it myself once the product has proven itself through numerous sources.

    I can however offer a solution to youre problem. I have a older model COMPAX available, im sure youre familiar with it So if you're interested let me know and we can talk...


  3. #3
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Nooo. You can't have my laptop.

    For a first post - that was wicked!!!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Solution in sight.

    This issue has come up on My ADSL forum.

    And it seems there is a solution.

    The relevant thread is here.

    Will update once I've found a functional workaround that works for me.

    You just gotta love what these forums can do.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  5. #5
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    It works!

    I'm now the proud owner of an Elan U132 PCMCIA card reader. Plugs into a USB port and the HSPDA card works. I'm up and running (been dying to use that smilie).

    Speeds are more like 3G at the moment, but too early to call if there's a problem there. Might be location.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  6. #6
    just me duncan drennan's Avatar
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    Good to hear that the Elan card actually does work Recently got my iBurst modem and it is great (much better than the GPRS on my cell ) Not quite as fast as your HSDPA but I was pretty happy to be downloading at 92Kb/s the other day
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  7. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I've still got to get 92Kbps. My best so far is 53 Kbps so you're ahead of the game right now, Duncan.

    The main advantage for me with this is the wider coverage. Unfortunately iBurst just isn't (virtually) everywhere yet. When on the move, I was working through my cellphone (Edge enabled) as a modem before, and that wasn't too bad. But when you take/make a call - modem mode goes to
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #8
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Just run a Vodacom HSDPA speed test and the results:

    Test Start Time : June 29, 2006, 9:26:10 pm
    Test End Time : June 29, 2006, 9:26:54 pm
    Download Time : 43.46 seconds
    Size of file : 5238323 KiloBytes
    Estimated line speed : 941.65 (Kilobits/sec)
    Estimated line speed : 117.71 (KiloBytes/sec)
    Not shabby, Nige.

    But I've been having the odd stall all night which, on this evidence, indicates a DNS or gateway issue between Vodacom and the rest of the www

    When HSDPA flies, it flies. When it stalls, oh boy.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  9. #9
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Just had a phonecall about where to get the Elan U132 adaptor.

    The folks to contact are:
    Micro-D (Pty) Ltd
    Unit 2 Woodview Office park
    1 Humber Street
    Woodmead, 2146
    South Africa
    011 803 2111
    Hopefully that will save anyone else the trouble of figuring out how to phone me.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  10. #10
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    Ok.... I guess i need to explain this a bit. How HSDPA Works is that it works on tower signal structure.

    IE if you in town near a MAIN tower and not a repeater tower then you will get good speeds with it. Whereas if you in an area that has min towers usually you dont even get close to 3G speeds.

    HSDPA is good but the problem is
    1) the price as its more expensive the 3G
    2) the coverage isnt the best as it needs to be HSDPA enabled at tower.
    so basically if you giong to a area that isnt so popular..... good luck getting HSDPA you will be dropped to 3G and if they dont have that GPRS.

    Its kinda sad but works if you know what to look for
    Wellinformed.co.za - Networking Forums SA partner site. Let's support each other for a better South Africa.

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