Dongle. What is the first thing you think of when you hear that word? Actually, perhaps let's not go there. Ha! A dongle, as far as I understand it, is a USB wireless modem, i.e. a modem you can stick into the side of your laptop or PC to connect to the internet via a mobile telephone connection. Sounds just lovely doesn't it? Well... it is... and it isn't.
I used the T-Mobile Web'n'walk USB modem over a period of one and a half years. I've had a mixed bag of experiences. At times, the dongle was a great comfort for me - I know that sounds ridiculous, but i'll expand later. Other times, I felt like poking my eyes out with a sharp pencil as a consequence of lag, and slow (and sometimes non-existent) connections. First, a closer look at the product.
It's a relatively small white oblong modem. No bells and whistles attached, and the general presentation is one of unglamness. However, I am not one to judge a dongle by its plastic casing. One must look at its most important qualities which are, in my opinion, speed and reliability. Anyway, before that, the dongle comes with a white USB cable and a disc containing a piece of software that will help you to use it. It is very, very easy to install, and on-screen instructions will prompt you to make all the right moves at the right time. A monkey could do it!
After installation, accessing the internet is easy via the Web'n'walk USB manager - this is the piece of software installed on your computer as mentioned previously. Here, you can also monitor your internet usage. I started off with a 3GB allowance, which is a fair amount. This is more than enough for someone who only uses the internet to browse. If you want to download movies or music, a larger allowance is recommended. I eventually moved onto 'Unlimited' allowance. And here is my first gripe. Although my package was labelled as 'Unlimited' internet usage, if you check out the fine print, you will see that T-Mobile operate a fair-usage policy. And in actual fact, my 'Unlimited' internet access was 15GB. I don't know how they get away with this, and if you look online, you will see numerous complaints about this policy in connection with T-Mobile. I left T-Mobile shortly after discovering this and I will from now on be reading fine print EVERYWHERE!!! I went over the 15GB allowance once, whereby T-Mobile reduced my internet speed. Not impressed by that move, particularly considering the fact that I was paying for 'Unlimited' internet time. The man I spoke with in customer service did not seem to understand the difference between limited and unlimited. I despaired!!!
The main problem with the dongle is that it fails to provide a consistent, reliable internet connection. Here's the deal. When I bought it, I was living on the fourth floor of a building right next to the BT Tower in London. I got a great signal and a great connection. When I visited home in Scotland, I got a crap signal and a poor connection. I then moved to south London and my signal was weak and at times non-existent. Another reason for me to get rid of the thing. My advice is to check that T-Mobile provides good coverage in your area before you buy. Otherwise you might be better off trying to access the internet via a tin can with a rope on the end of it!
It's not all bad though. The dongle is a very, very handy thing to have at times. At the beginning of the year, I spent around three weeks in hospital. Thankfully, the nurses were happy to let me bring my dongle into the ward. I was, however, on the ninth floor of a hospital building, therefore my signal was great... excellent signal, great connection. I dread to think how I would have coped if I had been in the basement, or even the first floor.
Overall... if you want to try out the T-Mobile Web'n'walk, make sure that they provide good coverage where you live. Don't be fooled by the 'Unlimited' allowance. Also, it's promoted as internet 'on the go'... however... the coverage varies so much in my experience that i'm not so sure this is an apt description... perhaps it should also be, internet 'on the go slow' or 'no go' at all. Personally, I wouldn't buy T-Mobile again (even though it kept me company in hospital!)... however, i'd be open to looking at alternatives!!!
Have fun with yer dongles!
I've used this USB modem in the past, but upgraded due to the limited 3.6Mbps speed.
The modem came free on an 18month contract with T-Mobile, on what was the Web'n'Walk plus package at the time. I was paying £20 a month initially (This was over 3 years ago) but i know the price has come down now due to mobile broadband competition.
It was very easy to set up on a PC, using Plug & Play, which means literally just plugging it into the USB port, clicking next > next > yes> i agree (you get the picture!) until the set up completes and its ready to use. The benefits of the service are that you no longer need a landline (£11 minimum with BT for example) and you are not tied to one location which is a massive plus for me. I've used this on weekends away, when I''ve popped down a friends house I've just taken the modem and used her PC, I've also loaned it to a friend for 2 months when i was out of the country working. So it's very flexible.
Downside is that occasionally the network in my area gets congested, especially as they increased in popularity so speeds dropped (although i remember this is similar to my old fixed line connection i would occasionally get slower speeds at peak times)
Would highly recommend. Only upgraded to newer model to benefit from faster speeds!
We use this modem at work and for the value and what it does, i would recommend it. However now and again we have the odd little problems like it cutting out, but nothing you don't get from anywhere else, and nothing which can't be solved with a little bit of patience now and again - wait for it to connect etc. or restarting the computer.
I thought the modem idea was brilliant, i went out and got the pay as you go modem on 3, which ended up being more hassle than this modem (its ok now it is up and running), but out of them both i prefer the t-mobile we 'n' walk because of its quality, value for money, and even with its problems it is more reliable than the 3 mobile broadband. Overall i give it 4 out of 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who needs mobile broadband.
In the past we have had problems with Virgin Media so when a friend recommendated T Mobile Web`n`walk we decided to try this option instead.
Where we got the Web`n`Walk
We went to the Carphone Warehouse and asked about this option for our internet access and the staff were really helpful, they took all the neccassary information from us and they advised us that this option would cost just £15 per month, but we did`nt have to pay anything up front, then they give us our T Mobile web`n`wak USB Modem.
(NO PHONE LINE REQUIRED)
The packaging is like a D.V.D cover with the T Mobile logo and is pink in colour, the information at the back of the packaging is:
Everything you need to get started
Web`n`walk USB modem
Web`n`walk USB manager software for pc
Drivers for apple mac
Long and short USB cables
Quick start guide
(all inside the cover)
CPU: Pentium 4,GHz or above
MEMORY: 128 MB RAM or above
Hard disk: 50 mb OF available space
operating system: Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Vista
or Apple mac OS X 10.2.6 jaguar or higher
Display resolution:800 x 600 or above.
The installation process is easy and quick, however my husband done the installation as I am not that good with computers but it only took him about 10 minutes or so.
The USB modem is white and compact with the T Mobille logo on it, with it you also get a sim card (which is only used for the modem) This has to be inserted into the modem first.
When we got our Web`n`walk up and running we did notice a difference in speed, it is slower than Virgin or BT but we have internet access without the problems of Virgin Media. So all and all we are pleased with the Web`n`walk and are no longer with Virgin.
Thanks for reading