3G USB Modem and Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

As you may recall from my earlier blog about my recently acquired Vodafone 3G USB Modem on the 4th of December, I was having trouble getting the modem to work correctly on my MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.5.1, or Leopard. I was following the provided instructions to the letter but it simply wasn’t doing what the instruction manual said it should do.

According to the instruction manual, after installing the software, it should ask to reboot the system. It didn’t, so I had been rebooting it manually in my attempts at getting it to work correctly.

Upon rebooting, you were meant to run the installed program and click “Activate” once it had detected the connection. This was fine, this worked. However, according to the instruction manual, it should have created a new connection program in the applications folder that you click whenever you wish to connect. It was not doing this. If you attempted to run the activation program again, it would freeze the program when you clicked activate and would not un-freeze without a forced quit (I left it for over 24 hours to see if it would un-freeze itself, but it didn’t). If you re-install the software, you are then able to try the Activate program without it freezing, but after the first time, it will freeze again.

Yesterday I called Vodafone customer support about it as this was becoming quite a nuisance, and as much as I would have liked to speak to someone in Australia about it, I spoke to someone from “Vodafone Egypt” about it.

They provided me with a newer version of the Vodafone Mobile Connect software that is currently only available on the Vodafone.de website for reasons I fail to understand. As far as I can tell, this newer version of the software is still only meant for Mac OS X 10.4, however, it seemed to behave exactly as the instruction manual described the version that came with my modem should. However there was still one problem.  The connection program was still not being created after the activation program was run.

The Vodafone Egypt guy provided me with some instructions on what to do though, before I had downloaded the newer version (so he didn’t have to keep me on the phone). These instructions were different to what was in the manual. He said that after running the activation program, go into my System Preferences, then into Network. Once I was there, to select the USB modem and from there, click connect and this would connect to the 3G network. I tried this with the older version of the software before installing the new one, and it worked perfectly without any problems at all. Connected almost instantly and voila. It worked identically with the new version as well. Of course, you then also have to come back into the System Preferences whenever you want to disconnect or reconnect which is quite a pain. However, it has a little tick box that you can tick to display the modem status in the the menu bar the same way it displays the status of the wireless and blue tooth connections by default.

So having ticked this option, I can now choose to connect or disconnect it from the menu bar as I would with the wireless and bluetooth.

Now that I’ve gotten this sorted out it works great, it would seem I am able to share the connection between both my laptop and desktop when I am at home as well, as I had been hoping, so this is working really well now.

Generally the connection on both Windows and Mac seems to be as stable as a decent ADSL1/2/2+ connection, and it is far more stable than my ADSL2+ connection currently is.

The speed’s are nothing to write home about of course, but I can generally download at a rate of around 200kb/s with 3 bars of 3G reception, so that’s reasonable for what I am using it for and I am really quite happy with it.

Ironically though, my ADSL2+ connection became almost stable within a couple of days of my signing the contract for this 3G modem. Annoying yes, but while it has been fairly stable, it’s still dropping out more frequently than I would like, so the 3G modem is still proving to be very useful.