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USB Modem/Dongle.

Old 2nd Jul 2011, 06:02
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Join Date: Apr 2006
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USB Modem/Dongle.

Hi guys/gals

Could anybody enlighten me as to any restrictions for using a dongle at the remote mining sites. By that I mean, are the mobile networks large enough to provide internet reception.
I also find the hotels charge like wounded bulls when using their internet connections and this is another way of keeping down the costs.
Any suggestions as to which are the best providers in these circumstances would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Brown eyes
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 06:11
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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If you are going to remote areas the only provider to use is Telstra, they are also the most expensive. The next best would be Optus, bought through a reseller such as Exetel. As far as particular minesites go you need to check with the chosen carrier to see if they have cover. Some may be only 2G which is OK for email and NAIPs - need 3G or 4G for broadband.

The only other way I know of to beat hotel charges is with a dial up account, but the responses are sooooo slow. OK for email and NAIPS but pretty well useless for anything else. I find my Optus (Exetel plan) dongle works most places I visit, but I don't go outback often. When I do the pub usually has its own broadband connection where I can check NAIPs, lodge flight plan etc. I haven't used my dial up account for a couple of years; the outback publicans broadband connection or my Dongle has done the job.

Last edited by bentleg; 2nd Jul 2011 at 06:38.
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 07:39
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Dongle

Thanks bentleg. Do you know if I could use Skype or VOIP on these dongles again at the remote sites? How is Optus placed for this service?
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 08:25
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You'll need a 3G connection for Skype. Best way to find coverage is to look on the Telstra or Optus websites for coverage maps and see if your minesite is covered. Telstra NextG does most places.
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 08:26
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Depends what mine site you're going to I suppose. I'm in the Pilbara and Telstra is the only option at things like Mesa A and Pannawonica. Same for Tom Price too I'm told.

I use a Telstra dongle and that's adequate, but you probably wouldn't get enough bandwidth for something like Skype due to everyone else doing the same thing....
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 09:00
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
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Thanks bentleg. Do you know if I could use Skype or VOIP on these dongles
Skype is OK for messaging or online keyboard chat. I have never tried talk or video via Skype on a Dongle. I don't think there would be enough bandwidth, same issue for VOIP.
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Old 2nd Jul 2011, 10:55
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I use a Telstra Elite Wi-Fi as well as teathering my iphone but the wifi thingy works a treat for everything and can confirm that skype with video works at most QLD and WA mine sites. I am not there often but when I transit through I have used it and no issues found yet other then the issue with some places not having reception
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Old 3rd Jul 2011, 00:57
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Telstra are useless in almost every other way, but their coverage is awesome.
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Old 3rd Jul 2011, 10:09
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Don't waste your time with anything other than Telstra.
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Old 3rd Jul 2011, 11:05
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I was previously with Optus but the network is hopeless.. data is almost non-existent, useless for skype unless you are next to a cell tower. Telstra are the best by far in terms of data speed and coverage. I use my iphone 4 to connect to the internet via tethering so no need for a dongle. Hotel/ motel can be very expensive in some places so I wouldn't rely on it. Skype is usually OK on my phone but the reception has to be good to get good quality. Data prices have dropped dramatically in the last few months.
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Old 3rd Jul 2011, 11:18
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If you only need to use it away from home, get yourself a Telstra NextG Pre-paid USB Modem for about $100.

I've got one that I use with a netbook and it costs me $150 a year for 10Gb, sometimes the speeds are a bit slow but other times I can get up to 2-3Mbps (I have heard there are faster modems out now).

I did have an Optus USB Modem, but found coverage wasn't good enough outside the major towns.
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