When I visit my elderly mother, who does not have broadband (and refuses it even though I have offered to pay), I have to use a mobile broadband dongle to access the internet. The signal level inside my mother's house is quite bad. I can connect - but only at about one bar - unless I go up into the loft space, where I can get 2 bars!. I have tried "3", BT, Vodaphone and Orange. BT seems to give about the best service, but still slow and I am limited to where I can use the laptop. I bought the WiBE HS21 and it works really well for me.
I bought an EE SIM with it. It is very easy to set-up, all you need is a mains power socket, and a SIM to insert. The WiBE "locks on" to the mobile phone signal and then acts as a router for your PC. You can either connect to it wirelessly or with a standard cable (included in the box). For me, I put the WiBE in an upstairs bedroom on the window-sill, and I find that I can use the laptop (connected wirelessly to the WiBE) in any room in the house. Connectivity speeds are good, I can download email, surf the internet FAR faster than when connected to the internet with a broadband USB dongle (and I have tried dongles and sims from 3, BT and Orange)
It was not cheap, and maybe if my mother could have been persuaded it would be more cost-effective to have paid for a broadband connection over her phone line. But I can take the WiBE anywhere I go where I need mobile broadband.
They also make a "Pro" version that is suitable for use outdoors, and IS waterproof.
One Issue: I initially tried to connect using the BT SIM from my broadband dongle, and the WiBE did not connect to the internet. Before I bought it Westbase has said that I could use the BT SIM, so I might need to do some troubleshooting with them over the phone to solve that issue.
Incidentally: I initially ordered this directly from Westbase Technology - they offered a money back return if it did not work for me. I knew I could return within 7 days under the distance selling regulations, but while researching different options, I confirmed with them that this would be no problem. I ordered it from their website on Friday evening and telephoned them on the following Monday morning to confirm likely delivery - I wanted to co-ordinate delivery with a visit to my mother so that I could test it and return it if necessary. They told me that they had recently sold the last one a few days before, and could not deliver in less than 2 weeks. They offered to cancel my order and immediately passed me on to one of their alternate suppliers (Rural Broadband). I odered from the alternative company and received the WiBE the next day (and received the refund from the original order in only 2 or 3 days). Not strictly a part of a product review I know, but I found their service and support to be excellent and thought it might be useful to someone else to add it here.
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