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Currently I use prepaid 3G flat internet with some crappy ZTE USB 3G stick. The package I have is advertised as 10Mbit/s, and the modem is limited to 7.2Mbit/s. Speed is nowhere near that and I didn't expect it to be but at night I get less than 1Mbit/s which is unbearable, during the day I can get a decent 3Mbit/s. The guy in the store told me that I would accomplish nothing if I just upgrade to their better package(30Mbit/s), that I should upgrade my hardware.

He pointed me to a few Huawei sticks that are limited to 42Mbit/s. So is this true? Better USB stick provides a better connection? Because this to me looks like it just has a bigger limit, but I don't get anywhere near the limit even on my old one. Is the new one a more powerful antenna or something like that? Is it possible that they are just "choking" the reception I get in my data SIM card no matter what the hardware is?


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What kind of transfer speeds do you get on your 3G mobile phone? Same, better or worse? If transfer speed ist better on your mobile (on the same network), an upgrade might be worth it. – user 99572 is fine Mar 4 '13 at 13:22
It's hard to say without knowing more about it. It depends on what's slowing it down. If it's poor reception to the nearest cell tower or a problem with your computer, neither a new stick nor a better package will help. Do you consistently get 5 bars on your cell phone at home? IF you do then it's not a poor connection. Is browsing just as slow with a different connection, like cable or DSL? If so then it might be your computer. One test would be to buy a better stick but be ready to take it back if it doesn't improve your speed. Keep the receipt and know the return policy just in case. – Brian Daniels Mar 4 '13 at 13:39
I´ve inserted that same SIM card into my mobile phone and I get about the same speeds. Basically what I wanted to know is do these fancy expensive usb sticks get better reception somehow? And speeds decrease 3x, 4x at evening. I get the feeling that they are doing it on purpouse. I dont see how it could be a problem with my laptop, anywhere else (DSL, cable, whatever) I connect I get normal Internet reception. And like I said, I get 3,4 Mbit/s during the day on this 3G network, its the night thats the problem. Im not on a contract, its a prepaid data plan. – user1154267 Mar 4 '13 at 15:02

It is difficult to tell you anything certain in situations like these, but data packages, phones, mobile broadband modems and other similar devices normally come with a 14 day "cooling off" period, during which you can back out, cancel your contract and get a full refund. It may be worth seeing if your supplier had such an arrangement, and if it does, you could buy and try the services you are interested in. Above all, before you pay any money, make certain that if you're not happy, you can return the device/cancel the contract.

I had a similar experience with 3G 4 years ago, and since I was not able to get coverage at my house, I was able to return the device and get a full refund.

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I have coverage but the issue is at night when data rate drops significantly. Im wondering if thats even realistic. For the data rate to drop 4x compared to day time. – user1154267 Mar 4 '13 at 15:22
The salesman appears to be directing you to try 4G hardware. Since it is a different network technology with fewer adopters, the "contention ratio" (how many people are using the particular grid you're in) may be better or worse. If you have the option of trying and returning then I would either try this or a different service provider. – washbow Mar 4 '13 at 15:26
And for this 4G technology I dont need a different SIM card, data plan or something on that end, something company needs to activate? 21Mbit/s 3G stick picks up different frequencies or something than the 7.2 one? – user1154267 Mar 4 '13 at 15:46
No 4G is completely different technology and would require an upgrade of at least hardware, possibly also a new SIM. I am not recommending such an upgrade and I do not guarantee that it will solve the problem, only that it may be worth a try. The new technology does indeed use different frequencies. – washbow Mar 4 '13 at 15:49
Is HSPA+ considere a 4G technology? ie this USB stick: – user1154267 Mar 4 '13 at 15:53

First I would check your contract if it contains a maximum speed rate. 7.2 MBit is the standard HSDPA rate and often you need a special contract if you want to get a faster access.

Furthermore I assume that your problem is more the signal quality and/or the network usage. UMTS/HSPA networks are a shared media, therefore the more users communicate the less bandwidth you can get. Therefore the network is simply overloaded in the evening.

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Im not on a contract, its a prepaid data plan. They advertise as 10Mbit/s, but due to HSDPA limitations its max 7.2 Mbit/s. And they protect themselves by saying thats the maximum and it doesnt mean you´re gonna get it. This whole thing looks to me like they are forcing you to get a contract with them. So Im wondering if somebody had similiar experiences. If signing a contract with them on that same data plan (unlimited, 10Mbit/s) "magically" changes your speed rate or is it really just a technical issue. – user1154267 Mar 4 '13 at 15:18

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