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T-Mobile Mobile Broadband Share Pack review

Kat Orphanides
25 Jun 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
20
inc VAT per month on 18-month contract

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Specifications

802.11g, 1x 10/100 Ethernet ports

Routers rarely resemble flying saucers, but then things are often different when you're dealing with mobile broadband.

This Mobile Broadband Share Pack from T-Mobile includes an 18-month Mobile Broadband Plus contract, a Huawei E170 USB dongle and the T-Mobile Share Dock, which is a 3G 802.11b/g wireless router.

You're really paying for the mobile broadband subscription - the router is a handy freebie. The Broadband Plus service has a fairly typical 3GB fair-usage download limit. If you regularly exceed this, T-Mobile will limit your download speeds but won't charge you extra fees - a good system, we think. T-Mobile claims download speeds of up to 4.5Mbit/s, although the actual speed will inevitably be slower. Preliminary results from our broadband survey indicate that T-Mobile users across the UK are getting average download speeds of 0.85Mbit/s, which is lower than the average of 1.13Mbit/s across all providers. Our own tests supported these figures.

The Share Dock has a single 10/100 Ethernet LAN port, which provides a wired connection to a PC or Ethernet switch, and a USB port to connect the dongle. The router is compact and should fit into most laptop bags, which is useful if you need to share your mobile connection while away from home.

If you only want to connect one computer to the internet, you can simply connect the dongle to your PC. It contains built-in software that installs automatically.

Setting up the router was easy. We pointed our browser at the router's default address and entered the password from the setup leaflet. Using the setup wizard we quickly configured our network name and encryption settings. The security settings default to WPA with AES encryption, but WPA2 is also supported. Wireless transfer speeds were surprisingly good for an 802.11b/g device. It produced a respectable 21Mbit/s at one metre, 16Mbit/s at 10m and 8Mbit/s at 25m.

Advanced settings are hidden behind layers of cryptic menu icons. You can add a PIN code to your SIM, set up MAC address filtering and try to add packet filtering rules using the obtuse and undocumented LAN IP Filter. You can also set the router to use a 2G GPRS connection, which can provide a slower but more stable connection in areas with a weak signal.

Despite its limited options and unwieldy advanced settings, the router was easy to set up and worked well. We have reservations about other aspects of the service. Initial feedback from our survey indicates that T-Mobile's broadband suffers from below-average connection speeds, which makes this package hard to recommend. For help with choosing the best mobile provider, read the results of our broadband survey in the next issue of Shopper.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
Modem typenone
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
Draft 802.11n supportno
MIMOno
Turbo modenone

Security

128-bit WEPyes
WPAyes
WPA2yes
Firewallyes
MAC address filteringyes
DMZyes

Physical

Size40x130x130mm
Antennas2
Internal/external antennasinternal
Upgradeable antennano
Number of WAN ports1
Ethernet ports1
Ethernet connection speed10/100
Other portsnone
Wall mountableno
Power consumption on3W

Other Features

Dynamic DNSno
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
DHCP serveryes
MAC spoofingno
Port forwardingyes
WDS Supportno
USB device supportno
QoSno

Buying Information

Price£20
Warrantytwo years RTB
Supplierhttp://www.t-mobile.co.uk
Detailswww.t-mobile.co.uk