Improve USB modem speed

Get a high speed modem.
USB Modems come in different speeds based on the technology in which they work. They can be a EDGE modem capable of 768 Kbps or a CDMA1X modem or 3.6 Mbos modem or a 7.2 Mbps or a 21 Mbps modem. If your phone company offers 7.2Mbps broadband, but you’ve only got a 3.6Mbps modem, you won’t be able to hit the higher speeds. Looking beyond just the speed of the modem, it’s important to consider the technology inside the modem itself.

Of particular importance is a technology called receive diversity – modems that support this feature have two internal aerials instead of one, making them a lot quicker, especially in poor coverage areas. Ask your Internet service provider if you can get a higher bandwidth for your USB modem. If so, inquire about the price. If it sounds reasonable, then you might want to consider it.

Switch your ISP
The top speed of your connection will be limited by the maximum speed of the mobile phone company’s network. Some networks support 1.8Mbps, some support 2.4Mbps and few support speeds up to 7.2Mbps. However, it’s one thing for the network to theoretically support these higher speeds, but if the link from the mobile phone company’s mast back to the internet called ‘backhaul’ isn’t fast enough you won’t be able to hit the higher speeds. This is similar to having a 54Mbps WiFi router at home, but connecting it to an 8Mbps ADSL
connection – you speed is limited by the slowed link in the chain.

Improve signal strength
The speed of your connection is affected by the strength of the signal you receive from your mobile phone company’s network. The poorer your signal strength, the slower your connection. The software included with your modem will show you what your signal strength is. This is similar to the bar indicator you have on your mobile phone.

If your in an area of poor or no 3G coverage, your modem will switch to use the much slower 2G network – instead of receiving speeds of 1.8Mbps, you’ll be crawling along at just 30Kbps. The modem software or the lights on the modem itself will tell you if you’re using 3G or 2G. You can improve your signal strength by moving your modem. Try moving closer to a window (as the signal can pass through glass more easily than walls), or try moving the first floor of your home or office. You might find a USB extension cable useful. You may notice that the strength of your signal changes throughout the day – this is called the ‘breathing’ effect of 3G networks. As the network gets busier, the coverage area shrinks, therefore you’ll see your signal strength reduce too. Also try connecting a clip-on antenna to the USB modem. A number of signal booster antennas, which are designed for assisting USB modems in connecting to distant networks, are offered on the market. You can find a suitable one in eBay for less than $50.


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