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I am a luddite - please help me understand mobile broadband

(9 Posts)
artichokes Sun 26-Oct-08 19:40:26

I am thinking of getting a mobile broadband connection. Some are as little as £10 a month but thsese have low download limits (e.g. 3 KB).

When do I download stuff? I don't think I ever do. Do you download anything when you just use mumsnet, facebook, and shopping sites?

MrVibrating Sun 26-Oct-08 20:06:15

Every time you do anything over your internet connection you are downloading (and uploading). Each web page is typically 10kb-100kb, so I think the monthly limit you are looking at is 3GB, not 3KB.

For regular surfing 3GB a month is probably enough. If you use YouTube or any video sites, you need more.

artichokes Sun 26-Oct-08 20:12:07

Oooh thank you. See, I told you I know nothing.

I go on YouTube once or twice a month (usually if linked to from here). But I check my e-mail and surf this type of site (or shopping sites like Ocado) for a couple of hours a day blush. Do you think 3GB should cover that?

nannynick Sun 26-Oct-08 20:43:05

I find that my typically monthly usage is around 1.5GB - I'm using mumsnet for a few hours a day, doing quite a bit of e-mail, that sort of thing. I don't tend to watch online movies (BBC Iplayer and the such), mainly due to the speed I get via mobile broadband not being sufficient to view such content. I watch/upload to YouTube on occasion, not regularly. With 3 Mobile Broadband you can check your current usage and thus if I have quite a bit left towards the end of the billing period, and I often do have 1GB or more, then I will then spend some time watching YouTube.
For mumsnet, facebook, shopping, e-mail... 3GB limit should be fine. 1GB may even do it, but you may exceed 1GB and the over limit fees can be fairly high, so go for 3GB limit.
Speed is the major issue with Mobile Broadband. If you are in a major city you may get 1Mbps or higher, but where I am in a village on the Surrey/Berkshire border, I'm lucky to get download speed of 500kbps, upload of 50kbps (Network: Hutchinson 3G - known as Three). Fine for mumsnetting, not good for movies!

nannynick Sun 26-Oct-08 20:50:28

Another downside... no network to my knowledge covers 100% of the UK, whatever the networks may try to convince you. I went to Center Parcs Longleat last weekend, no coverage at all in my villa. Only got 3G Data coverage down by the lake.
Even in built up areas it can be hit and miss. Church Crookham in Hampshire seems to have little coverage on the Three network, Crowthorne Berkshire is also bad, as are some parts of Camberley in Surrey. At Legoland near Windsor, there are some areas where it works, and others where it doesn't.
Just because you get enough signal to send a text, does not mean you can access e-mail/web.
If you are using it mostly at home, check the signal strength you get on the network you are considering - borrow a friends 3G enabled handset if necessary.

nannynick Sun 26-Oct-08 21:00:48

Plus point though, which is why I have mobile broadband... I can access e-mail on the move (subject to coverage area) on my mobile, plus download it all when I get home. My fixed line ADSL used to cost £22 per month, so mobile broadband is cheaper for me, giving me similar speed (as I'm a long way from my local BT exchange, so got poor ADSL speed).
You have to weigh up the pros and cons for your particular circumstances, including your usage and your location.

KatyMac Sun 26-Oct-08 21:03:16

But remember Nick is a boy no way can he use as much internet as us girls

nannynick Sun 26-Oct-08 21:14:19

Katymac - that could be true, or maybe boys use more bandwidth?

Installing a Net Meter can help determine your current usage. You would need to run it for a couple of months. But if you were thinking of changing to Mobile Broadband in the new year, then it could be worth installing a Net Meter now and seeing what your daily/weekly/monthly averages are for download/upload data.

Net Traffic Meter - just one of many Net Meter's around. This one is Freeware.

artichokes Mon 27-Oct-08 09:40:49

Thanks for all this advice. It sounds like 3GB will be fine for me. Although uploading photos might take quite alot of that up, I forgot that I do quite a bit of that as I print through photobox.

I live in central London and will mainly be using this around London so hopefully coverage is not too much of an issue.

A netmeter sounds a good idea but I want to do this ASAP as our BT broadband currently costs £30 a month and is not even working properly at the moment.

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