Thursday, 11 March 2010

Wot Dongle?

Wot Dongle?
March 2010

I need help please!

Up till now I have posted my trip blogs retrospectively, but I fancy having a crack at posting them as I go along which so many of you manage very ably.

Our first significant cruise of the 2010 season is looming up fast and if I want to be able to post on the move I need to sort out the "dongle" issue in the next couple of weeks. So my question is "which dongle should I buy?".

Maffi, if you are reading this please forgive me. I know its not really a dongle but I don't think many would recognise the initials AIG or MBD!

As a dongle is really a very simple mobile phone you are going to tell me that it is only as good as the phone provider's coverage, so let me apply a few criteria:
  1. I cruise in remote places and my forthcoming trip down the Trent to Stockwith will certainly test the system for blackspots.
  2. I won't be using it a lot so contract is out and I am looking at pay as you go.
  3. I want it to be simple to use and capable of downloading four or five photos in a reasonable time.
Do you have anay suggestions?


Northern Pride said...

Hi Andy
We had a pay as you go dongle, and still have it in UK. It was with '3' I believe and apparantly has the best coverage around England.

Nb Caxton said...

Hi Andy
I think you have already 'spotted' the problem... any dongle is only going to be as good as the network coverage. I suggest that you go on-line and have a look at which provider has the best coverage in the area you are going to be travelling in. I have 3, Vodaphone and T-mobile and usually at least will work BUT sometimes, though rarely, none of them.

Halfie said...

Alan on Lazy Days blogged about this a few months ago:

When boating I use "3" pay as you go. A £10 top up lasts 30 days, giving 1Gb allowance. The time runs out before the data allowance. I've found coverage to be very hit-and-miss though, so "3" might not be the best. I hardly ever got a connection on the Llangollen/Monty last year. I haven't yet tried an external aerial, which I'm sure would improve things.

Debbie said...

Hi Captain

I recently got a Vodafone Dongle from Amazon - - hope the link works. I don't know about the coverage round there, but this gives you 1GB of date with no expiry date, as long as you log in once in 6 months. As far as I know, this is the only one where the data doesn't expire after 30 days, and you just top up in £15 lots as you need it. Like I said, I don't know about the coverage for where you are, but am sure someone will. Hope this helps.


Anonymous said...

We have both three and vodafone dongles (2 contract, 1 payg). There are areas where one or the other does not work but generally the vodafone dongle has been better.

Be warned that installation of either may not be as seamless as you would hope depending on what other software is loaded onto your laptop so get it set up a few days before you need to use it.

The trick with vodafone is to work out your likely usage and consider buying some old stock.

For us a bit of email and blogging on a boat at a weekend does not use much - Sue manages to make a GB last months for just blogging use. So if you buy some old stock then there will be either no expiry on the payg time (that is what we have on one dongle) or perhaps a 270 day expiry (current deal in Tescos).

Everybody else (and the new vodafone offering) has 30 days expiry but may be cheaper per GB. Oh, I have not checked this but I think that the limit is for download only, not upload.

If you think that your data use will be high then a cheap contract is worth having - most of the companies seem to give half price contracts to existing users, hence our collection!

Hope that made sense


nb.bobcat said...

Have a look at the coverage areas of each provider and see which is best for your initial foray. I have 3 and just replaced my dongle to Huawei E122. This has the ability to have an aerial attached to it if need be. Boaters at Shireoaks Marina use 3 and seem quite happy with it. When I used it out on the boat back in 2007 I only used it for emailing wages to clients as it was before I started blogging so can't comment on its uploading on the move apart from the fact I do it all the time at home with only 2 bars of signal(I am just outside the best area and should only get garden type coverage so I do alright considering). £10 gives me plenty per month and I normally don't use it all. Really I imagine they are all pretty much the same. Oh I have just discovered I have a little cable to extend it away from my laptop. That will come in useful on the boat.

Starcross said...

I look forward to seeing what you get and finding out how it performs. This is something I shall need to do when I start spending more time on Starcross when I finish work later in the year.
PS Barging Through Burgundy has arrived, but I haven't read it yet.

Captain Ahab said...

Thnak you all so much for your advice, I really appreciate it.
Your combined insight has pointed me in the right direction so I will go forth and try to get myself sorted out.

nbJubilee said...

I, too, have both 3 and vodaphone dongles. The point about obtaining one that can take an external aerial is one you should note strongly, most will not. I use 3 on contract all the time instead of a land line from home. It is not as fast but is OK for normal daily use, but not for those who download films ect.
The Vodaphone is PAYG with 6 month time limit for areas without 3 coverage. Try for Aerials.
Also note that 5 metre USB active cables may not work as extensions to the roof.