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18 Oct 2010
By Natalie Alaimo
Oct
18
2010

Review of the Telstra Ultimate Mobile Broadband USB Modem

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I couldn’t believe my luck when Kristen Boschma from Telstra asked me to review their new high speed wireless internet.  As someone who’s business is based around the internet a fast internet connection makes your life a lot easier and your day a lot happier.

First impressions of the USB modem was that it’s a smart looking product, with a nice stainless steel USB connection.  Not sure if this makes it work any better or faster, but let’s face it looks count.  I also liked the size, whilst still compact it’s bigger than normal USB modems so it doesn’t get lost at the bottom of my handbag which is a common issue with my current Vodafone USB modem.

My first chance to test the new Telstra Ultimate Mobile Broadband USB Modem was when we visited a local hotel for a weekend.  Whilst I tried not to work, my schedule was hectic and I needed to do a few things on the internet in between the eating, drinking and lying by the pool.

Of course without reading any instructions I plugged in it and within 3 minutes my internet was connected.  Very easy, it did all the work, I just entering in the pin number and the rest was done.  I didn’t like the fact that it installed an extra Telstra My Place option (a pop up of some description) but I’m sure if I could have unticked this box during the installation process.

Since it claimed to be the fastest wireless internet, I decided to conduct a speed test.  Based on the Gold Coast we are 80km from the CBD of Brisbane, so I wasn’t expecting speeds of 10 Mbps or 20 Mbps.  Generally I get about 1 Mbps or 1.5 Mbps from Vodafone around the Gold Coast, that is of course assuming you can get coverage, but more on that later.

In Broadbeach I was getting around 3.5 Mbps.  Almost three times faster than other wireless internet on the Gold Coast.  When I returned home I run a quick speed test.   Based in Ashmore, I compared my ADSL internet (wireless to by laptop) and got speeds of 3.83 Mbps.  Fairly average.  Then I plug-in the Telstra Ultimate Mobile Broadband USB and got a whopping speed of 14.03 Mbps.  Now I was impressed!!

Telstra Ultimate Mobile Broadband USB ModemThe other benefit I found was when I was running a 3 hour workshop on Social Media.  The workshop was due to start at 9am, however I had the internet connected and everything set up by 8:15am.  By the time I was packing up at 1pm, the internet was still connected.  No drop outs at all.  My usual wireless internet is Vodafone and if you are based on the Gold Coast you would know that your coverage isn’t the best, so between no coverage and a very weak signal, drop outs are very frequent.

I’m looking forward to ditching my Vodafone wireless and continuing to use my new Telstra Ultimate Broadband USB Modem.

Pricing and availability for business customers

The Telstra Ultimate™ USB can be purchased in conjunction with a range of Telstra Business mobile broadband plans including for $0 upfront with a $39 plan with 3GB included data over 24 months (minimum total cost $936) or outright for $299.

For more information, including Ultimate speed coverage areas, visit: www.telstra.com/business/ultimate.

By

Posts: 6

93 Comments

  1. Brent Ephraims says:

    loving the news of the speeds BUT we really need decent download quotas, especially for those who need Wireless as an ADSL replacement.

    Can you or Kristen let us know about any decent plans coming soon??

  2. Lantrix says:

    I ordered one today, but agree with Brent – the quotas as still lower than the competition. For $29 a month (with discounts included!) I get 1GB vs the 3GB I got with Three.

    I have to note though, that three charged beyond the 3GB whereas the Bigpond Mobile IS NOW shaped. Good job Telstra on keeping me in budget.

    Also the reason for the switch from Three to NextG – the moment I travel outside the Melbourne city limits on the way to visit family in the country, Three is useless unles I pay to roam. The Ultimate is going to be King in these areas.

  3. prepaidplans says:

    Those speeds are really amazing. Great to see that wireless advancements keep happening as wireless has a huge future in Australia, not only in rural Australia but also in business.

  4. Thanks for the comments. Yes the speeds are great. I too hope that Telstra does increase their download limits and that was the reason I initially got my Vodafone wireless. I do find however, that with the limited coverage, all the downloads in the world are useless if you can’t use the product.
    Telstra appear to be making some positive changes forward so I don’t think it will be long until you get more download limits.
    Maybe someone from within Telstra could comment on this for us?

  5. Brent Ephraims says:

    Yes, Telstra, please answer our query regarding increased download quotas for Wireless Broadband users…

  6. Lantrix says:

    I received my new modem today.
    Here’s the problems with this whole process:

    (1) The sales staff had me choose a new email address, e.g. firstname.lastname@bigpond.com and on receipt of my “Confirmation email”, the order tracking link refused to let me track my order; either with my email/password I received or the order number. Spoke to sales and they said “…since you have no account active you can’t actually get in to view the progress of the order”. What’s the point of the automated email telling me I can?!
    (2) When I got the device, it was damaged out of the box. The USB plug was slightly squashed so that it’s tight plugging it in and removing it. I don’t want to damage my PC USB ports. Have to now chase up a replacement.
    (3) When I installed the Bigpond Software, it advised I have to register my card – sounds good, so I follow instructions and CANT REGISTER. Instructions say to use your email/password you received from online sales. However my firstname.lastname@bigpond.com is not recognised.
    (4) Speaking to tech support and they say that they can’t see my firstname.lastname@bigpond.com email setup in the system; despite the fact that I received auto emails on the day of sale saying it’s setup.
    (5) Speaking to tech support to setup/register the card, and they are effectively doing the registration for me. They ask for my chosen bigpond email, and when I use firstname.lastname@bigpond.com it won’t let them register as it’s IN USE!!!! The sales guy days earlier confirmed it wasn’t in use, and set me up for it.

    So I’m left like this:

    I’ve received a damaged device, that I can’t get activate, and tech support can’t help, so now I’m on call with Activations

    Let’s hope I get this sorted.

    It’s lots of little things like this that prevent the “needle moving forward”.

    • Megan says:

      I had the same problem i had very nasty thoughts after a few threats the guy sent out a replacement and ready to go it worked now the only thing i am trying to find out is how secure is it can anyone access??

  7. Lantrix says:

    I finished my call with Activations, and they got me activated, and then another call to Tech Support ordered a replacement modem.

    I was hoping for a 1 touch, 1 click type experience, and instead got a multi call centre, multiple issues & a 2 hour activation experience.

    The device (although damaged and pending replacement) is being used on the extension cable so the bent plug doesn’t damage my notebook usb socket.

    I must admit, I used it today and the speed is far superior to what I got from Three.

    Feedback is also this: One should be able to track ones order of a new account/device even if you are not an existing customer.

    • Hi Lantrix
      Unfortunately I can’t comment on Telstra’s Customer Service but at least you got the high speeds.
      Thanks
      Natalie

    • Spinner says:

      Telstra is extraordinarily consistent. Unfortunately, that consistency is invariably poor customer service and frustrated technicians attempting to correct apparent mistakes made at the sales stage and resulting from IT systems far to smart for those systems themselves.

      Experiences such as this should be clearly iterated in an email to the office of the CEO of Telstra, Mr David Thodey. (A form exists on the Telstra site, so such feedback is obviously expected).

      Unless this type of news gets through to the highest levels of Telstra, nothing will improve, and in fact, not much does improve even when it does get through.

      I suspect the only time we will see an improvement from Telstra is when their wholesale division is separated from their retail division and they have to genuinely compete in the market place. Then, and only then, will they either sink or swim.

      Unfortunately, that will also more than likely see an end to pioneering technology such as Next G and the Sierra AC312U USB modem). But it could just as easily go the other way. We hope.

    • Alex says:

      I was told that dealing with Bigpond would be a bit better than Telstra. I have had nothing but trouble with Telstra and would not volunteer to enter yet into another nightmare situation

  8. Wayne says:

    Tried the coverage at Aratat (VIC) and it worked great 10MB/1.5MB. Did not work well in Melbourne CBD 3Mb/0.5Mb.
    The Netcomm #3G 18Wn router though failed test, the unit kept dropping connection during my testing very frustrating. When the Netcom 3G did work the capacity dropped to an unsable 3Mb/0.3Mb what is going on Netcomm.
    Overall very impressed with the Telstra Ultimate but disappointed with Netcom 3G. At lower capcity in cbd the Netwocm 3G did not drop connection.

  9. Sean says:

    I have the sierra wireless ultimate telstra nextg 312u aircard and i’m very happy with it and it can send text messages from the telstra version and i had the model before the 308 and it used to drop out and i want to try voip box out using a router for usb modems. I was still in contract with the other modem so i brought it outright at the telstra shop. I did a speed test online and i got over 5 mb per second and with the other modem i was lucky if i got between 2 to 3 mb per second. The 312u is a blue tick appoved that i noticed. The telstra version is for abn holders and the bigpond isn’t the way i got around this is i brought it outright and they cost $299.00 i would have got the bigpond version if i didn’t have the older modem on contract. If you get a telstra version get voice calls blocked on the modem and i two pages of text messages saying missed calls and there phone number and i have had the number used on nextg modems for a long time

  10. Sean says:

    I use the modem in brisbane suburb kenmore and my other address runaway bay on the gold coast and i can have it on for hours. As for the tester she is wright it is the fastest modem i have had optus and they drop out all the time the speed was ok telstra leaves them behind and when that contract runs out i will switch that number to telstra and use it on a ipad but i would not go back to optus ever again the same with vodafone i tryed vodafone out using prepaid sims realy bad coverage with phones and modems and i’m pleased telstra went on the 850 mhz and i would by the same modem in the 4g lte version when telstra launches the 700 mhz 4g lte to australia

  11. Jason says:

    Any news on howit handles with pc gaming

    • Lantrix says:

      I play WoW, but not over this as my data limit is too low. I’ve logged in a few times to check the Auction House, and it works fine. Pingtest.net reports <15ms pings to other Melbourne servers.

  12. Kevin V Russell says:

    When I insert the modem the device takes over all of the com ports – or at least that is what is indicated by the device manager – how do I stop this from happening? I would like to reserve COM1 for the modem and leave all the other com ports free. I have spent a fruitless three hours trying to do this today. I don’t know where else to go.

  13. Kevin V Russell says:

    I should have mentioned I am using the Sierra wireless modem. Is this the correct forum?

  14. Kevin V Russell says:

    Ah Natalie, that’s why I posted the question.

  15. Merv says:

    What I would like to know before upgrading my old blue next G modem is has it (Ultimate – Sierra USB312) compatible with the new Netgear MBRN3000-AUS n router. Finally got hold of one of these routers that is compatible with Telstra 21 and Turbo 7 and Bigpond 7.2 and now we have the Ultimate.

    Netgear and Telstra don’t seem to know if it is.

    • Shaun says:

      Merv – Did you find an answer ?

    • Andre says:

      I’ve tried using the seirra AC312U model with the netgear MBRN300 wireless router but it isn’t compatible. At least not with the current firmware.

      Telstra tech support claimed that they can’t assist with 3rd party hardware setup but said it should work, but to ask Netgear.

      Netgear also said it should work but then conceded that the modem wasn’t on their list of compatibile modems and thus ask Telstra.

    • Andrew says:

      I have been trying to get it to work on the MBRN3000 with no luck…. Updated to the latest firmware!!!! Still no connection!

  16. Kevin V Russell says:

    Whom has timnew to spend 1/2 an hour on hold to what is risibly referred to as telstra’s “tech support”? Glad I have my Three modem as a backup.

  17. Cath says:

    Can anyone please help me. I am thinking of getting the telstra ultimate USB to use in a laptop so my parents can use skype video calls to TAS. Is this device a stable enough internet connection to have quality video calls. Thanks.

  18. Cath says:

    Further to my previous comment. I am in Sydney and will be skyping to TAS. Thanks

  19. Cath says:

    Thanks for that Brendan it has been helpful.

  20. Luke says:

    In Melton, Vic the exchange is congested and i’m considering getting the telstra wireless instead, is anyone able to tell me what kind of speeds i should expect and what kind of ping i should also expect in my area? as online gaming is a large part of my internet use.

  21. P.W. Dizon says:

    Luke many of the NextG towers are congested to the state of crawl to nothing from 4:00pm till towards 11:00pm.
    Wireless is a highly variable service. Multi-pathing can also be an issue in congestion times which exacerbates the issues with your connection to ending up with no connection. Problems on NextG have been increasing consistently as Telstra and Bigpond have been reducing prices.
    Suggest you put a Data Pack on your phone and tether to your computer and give that a run for a full week. That will give you a good idea of what the NextG service is like. Sure your speeds will be nothing like an Ultimate modem, but you will get up to 2.5Mpbs on a phone.

  22. Matt says:

    I have had the usb ultimate modem for about a month and have experienced constant data drop outs since connecting. The connection remains strong and connected but the data flow is constantly dropping in and out from 2mins to up to an hour or so. Telstra support has been less than helpful and so far I have wasted over six hours on the phone (4 phone calls to mac support) trying to fix the problem.
    Any one else experienced the same problem? Natalie, is their something that you could do to help speed up the process of resolving this?

    • Brendan O'Keefe [T-EX Customer Engagement Manager] says:

      Hi Matt, Sounds like you need some help sorting this out asap. Could you contact me with your contact number location, times you’ve been experiencing dropouts and I’ll look into it for you. Brendan

    • Kevin V Russell says:

      Well Brendan mate that’s a nice little bait and switch if ever I saw one. You offer to help and then provide the same customer service number that has failed abjectly to provide customer service to date. Are you trying to be funny?

    • William W. Wakely says:

      Set your DNS to Primary server 139.130.4.4 and Secondary server to 61.88.88.88 and your problems will be over.
      The other issue is the IMEI number sometimes does not register correctly with Bigpond. That also causes the same issue. The Ultimate modem is poor in reception so dont expect miracles with low signal strength. You need 3 bars and preferably 4. All current Bigpond modems have terrible signal reception quality and are low quality.

  23. Hi Matt
    I have forward your comment to my contact at Telstra and I’m sure that they will get in touch with you. Generally they will comment back on the blog and ask you to email the details to them and they will fix it from there.
    Hope this helps.
    Thanks
    Natalie

  24. P.W. Dizon says:

    Kevin there was a technical reply posted yesterday that appeared for a brief moment. Thankfully I copied the reply and sent it on to a friend having issues. He replied yesterday it worked like magic. Obviously the post had a few home truths and Telstra censored the post.

  25. Jed Stuart says:

    Telstra is still refusing to make the new modems compatable with Linux. Optus has now done that and overseas ISP’s do to. I rang the tech department and the tech didn’t want to talk to me but sent the message to the person I did get who knew nothing about it ” Linux is too hard, get another operating system” The reason I use Linux is that it is harder, is more secure and stable and not continual problems for me. A tech friend tells me they could fix that lack of compatability in half an hour. So what gives Telstra? When Optus has a better signal where I am I will be gone in a flash…….Jed Stuart

    • P.W. Dizon says:

      There is no issue using any of the Bigpond or Telstra modems on Linux. If you go to the Bigpond forum on Whirlpool where all the gurus and Telstra tech staff hang-out you will find out how to use the low quality Sierra Wireless gear on Linux:
      http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum/14?g=106
      If on Telstra please use the appropriate forum on Whirlpool and not the Bigpond forum. There is a current post on the Bigpond forum running that is high on the top of the page.

  26. Matt says:

    Brenden – did send an email through this contact section three days ago with your name attached and have not heard back yet.

    William – I will give this a go tonight and see how i go. The signal strength has never been an issue as I have always had 4 bars.

    Cheers.

    • Brendan O'Keefe [T-EX Customer Engagement Manager] says:

      Hi Matt, Sorry no one has been in touch. I’ll follow this up for you. Brendan

  27. Bob Buick says:

    My much-anticipated Sierra Ultimate modem arrived yesterday. I’m running Debian sid. Although Telstra deny linux support, I connected to their cable with bpaconnect many years ago. Later, after a Telstra technician took 3 hours to connect my wife’s Win XP box to adsl, I connected my linux box in less than 10 minutes.
    I can connect the new modem briefly with wvdial, but it then disconnects. It crashes umtsmon. What can I do (other than returning it and going with Optus)?

    • Jed Stuart says:

      If you go to http://www.sierrawireless.com the same modem is there called an aircard 312U and the ultimate gets called a Telstra Ultimate (AC312U) which as far as I can ascertain is the same modem although the 312U does support Linux, which seems to indicate that Telstra has modified it to not do so. Whatever, they have instructions there on how to make it work with Linux. See help topic “Can In use a Sierra Wirelss Modem on Linux machines (direct IP modems)”. I haven’t tried it yet…..Jed Stuart

    • P.W. Dizon says:

      Please see earlier post about using the modem on Linux. There is absolutely no issue with Linux and Telstra (the evil company they are LOL) modifying the modem not to work with Linux. There is absolutely no value in Telstra Bigpond doing such a thing. The more customers they can get to connect the better. There are a great number of things Telstra do poorly and that is to put up the basics to inform customers and Telstra would rather host a zillion unecessary product support calls. Telstra is crying out for *quality* and *informed* management that could save Telstra a fortune and keep customers satisfied. Telstra execs should become a customer for a week with a knowledgeable customer.

    • Jed Stuart says:

      Thanks for the lead. I will go to the whirlpool group. Don’t mind me frothing at the mouth when thinking about Telstra, I have had unbelievable problems when moving house in getting the phone re-connected. 10 out of 12 times things have gone awry. The last time I had three months without the phone. All the staff I have interacted with have been quite decent people attempting to sort it , but I have had to conclude that there are some evil ones in the background there playing with the settings of things making life difficult for those whose political views they don’t like. Whatever, it is good to know that the modem is compatable with linux and I do appreciate that linux is difficult for them to provide technical support for.

      Jed Stuart

    • Bob Buick says:

      Further comment:
      Problems with configuration in Debian sid were due to lack of the sierra driver. Configuration with KDE Network Management Settings is a snap in Kubuntu and Fedora – and presumably most other linux distros.
      I’m averaging between 10 and 100 times the speed of the “3″ Huawei modem – most downloads around 1000 to 2500 kB/sec., depending on the server, and with good reliability. I love it. The NBN will find it hard to compete and we haven’t even looked at LTE yet!

  28. Bob Buick says:

    Jed,

    That was very helpful. Sierra’s instructions are quite detailed. I’m connecting and calling in fine, but I keep getting an error 2 message in wvdial and kppp (username/password recognition), so I’ve sent an enquiry to Telstra for confirmation of my details. If it’s not my details, then I have to wonder whether Telstra’s made it unusable except with proprietary software, which would be a silly mistake. If so, I’ll have to return it.

    Thanks… …Bob.

    • Jed Stuart says:

      Bob,

      I had the same problem when attempting to connect using the Maxon BP3 modem and James Camerons program for the Asus Eeepc. The first time I tried I got a perfect connection but after that I got the message “No USIM present, or username or password wrong”. the connection would get
      established but then the modem would hang up. Perhpas something caused the modem to de-register, I couldn’t get to the bottom of it.

      Jed

  29. Bob Buick says:

    Jed,

    Agreed. I suspect you’re getting something like this at the end of your log:

    –> Modem initialized.
    –> Sending: ATD*99#
    –> Waiting for carrier.
    ATD*99#
    CONNECT 21000000
    –> Carrier detected. Starting PPP immediately.
    –> Starting pppd at Mon Dec 6 21:28:24 2010
    –> Pid of pppd: 7407
    –> Disconnecting at Mon Dec 6 21:28:24 2010
    –> The PPP daemon has died: pppd options error (exit code = 2)
    –> man pppd explains pppd error codes in more detail.
    –> I guess that’s it for now, exiting
    –> The PPP daemon has died. (exit code = 2)

    Code 2 is the username/password exchange, so I e-mailed Telstra at the weekend, asking for help including a check on their APN and my log-in details. At least I was assured that Telstra sell the modem unlocked.

    I can’t phone them yet, as both my wife’s and my phones (Voda) crashed at the weekend and we’re waiting for our new Telstra ones to activate. I suspect that we’ll exceed the 10-day return period before we get it going, but we should succeed in the end.

    It never rains but what it pours! At least the rest of my Debian sid KDE system is a joy to use.

    • Jed Stuart says:

      I phoned telstra and they put my account into park until I have it fully sussed as to how to get the connection working. I wont have to pay for the account until I re-activate it and I think it means I have more than the ten days send back time.

      My log ended withL:

      CHAP authentication succeeded
      CHAP authentication succeeded
      sent [IPCP ConfReq id=0x1 ]
      rcvd [IPCP ConfNak id=0x1 ]
      sent [IPCP ConfReq id=0x2 ]
      Modem hangup
      Connection terminated.
      bp3: the link was terminated by the modem hanging up.
      bp3: diagnosis: no USIM present, or username or password wrong

  30. Bob Buick says:

    After receiving excellent and concise instructions from Sierra technical help, I finally connected last weekend. They knew their stuff and spent talent and time composing a message. It’s too good to keep and I commend it to anyone with problems, as the modem gives the fastest connection I’ve had so far (downloading up to over 3000 kbps).
    Here it is:

    TELSTRA ULTIMATE (Sierra AC#!@U) MODEM – LINUX

    Here we go. I hope the next information is clear, I will provide all possible solutions at hand. You can choose one method to connect. They are all different ways to get connected to Telstra network.

    == Some clarification first

    We will use PPP connections not direct IP you can test direct IP in the future. It seems you are more familiar with PPP anyways.

    **AT commands are not bash commands. Those commands are to be sent using a minicom application
    Install minicom following next command should work in Ubuntu and debian, or you can use update manager.=> $ sudo apt-get install minicom

    ** APNs. The 312U has by default 3 possible APNS. You can start with the first one and then test the other 2.
    But we need to be clear that APN is important and required.

    ** Modem Lights
    Modem should have to 2 lights one. One Power light blue and one data light Flashing when it is not connected to Network,. If the lights are off, then use minicom (as described in the article ) and issue command at+cfun=1.

    When modem is connected with IP – It has the 2 blue light on Solid

    === ==== Connections methods using PPP ==============================

    Option 1. I installed latest Ubuntu 10.10 which has Kernel 2.6.35. The Network connection manager was able to connect
    using the automatically detected settings.I didn’t have to do nothing. Just clicked Network manager icon in the menu bar and select connect. I was using a 312U Telstra device (BUT with my APN for Canadian Service :P rovider,. Great part is that Network manager detected that automatically)

    If you need information for Network manager for Ubuntu it is here :

    Answer Title: How can I use Network Manager Application on Linux OS?
    Answer Link: http://sierrawireless.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/659

    Option 2 .

    This is based in the main Linux KB which is posted in the next link :

    Answer Title: Can I use my Sierra Wireless modem on a Linux operating system ? ( v.1.7.34)
    Answer Link: http://sierrawireless.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/500

    IF you use KPPP which is more easy. You need to follow the steps in the section 4.1

    Option 3

    Using the same Linux KB posted .if you want to use PPP scripts, go to the section 4.2 PPPD .Download the PPP scripts.
    If you use this method be aware you must change the APN to be one of the Telstra ones,.
    What happens is that these scripts are for Nortamerica Carriers only. You need to change the APN using a text editor following the instructions in the article

    ==

    If you see that modem has 2 lights on, but still you cannot browse the internet, follow the instruction in section 4.2 .. step 5.e

    I hope at least one of the methods above work in the computer.

  31. Bob Buick says:

    Typos, sorry.
    For (Sierra AC#!@U) read (Sierra AC312U).

  32. Kev says:

    Hi There,

    Does anyone have any suggestions regarding a compatible 3G router to use with the Aircard 312 USB Telstra Ultimate device or the equivalent Bigpong version? A lot of what Ive read indicates that the majority of routers will max out the download rate to 14.4Mbps, but when I plug the device directly in I can achieve about 18Mbps. Are there any routers that have been tried and tested to allow the full 21Mbps that Telstra claim we can achieve with this device? Ive tried calling several retail outlets who claim to not know of a suitable device at this point. Any help would be appreciated.
    Cheers,

    Kev

  33. Cathy says:

    I have a MacBook Pro. I’m interested in getting mobile broadband for it. I live on one of the southern Moreton Bay islands, Queensland. I have tried a Virgin modem, however it failed to connect and was returned. Telstra shop sales people have checked coverage for my area and it looks ok. Any comments?

    • P W Dizon says:

      If you look at the coverage maps you will have no issue.
      http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile/networks/coverage/maps.cfm
      A quality aerial will make a massive difference. If you get 2 bars or less the Sierra Wireless Modems suffer drop out and fail to connect issues. Billion 6200NXL good choice.
      You can always use a 3G wireless router $100 for the 3G Telstra modem. Whatever you do, do not buy a Telstra or Bigpond desktop wireless modem as they are *trouble* and been phased out.
      If you have a phone you can put the data pack on the phone and tether to your laptop and no need to buy a modem. The ZTE or Samsung Blue Tick phones are the phones of choice, but looking at the reception coverage in your area the iPhone or HTC Desire should be OK

  34. Lantrix says:

    @Cathy I use it on a MacBook Pro, using Snow Leopard (10.6) and it’s fine. It’s up to you whether you the Bigpond supplied connection manager or the native Mac capabilities to connect. I’ve tried both, and they both work. The Bigpond connection manager tends to give me a mac kernel panic (like a Windows blue screen of death) once in a while.

    I’ve successfully used the device on the Mac in remote north east Victorian townships, where everyone else gets no mobile signal – and Telstra 3G comes through strong. I got approx. 4Mbps to 12 Mbps download speed depending on the signal strength.

    If you can confirm someone can use a smartphone (such as an iPhone) with data on Telstra 3G in your area you want to use it, then the Bigpond modem will be fine.

    • Aidan says:

      I also experience semi regular kernel panics on my Mac Book Pro running OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) as do several of my colleagues. It is the hardware insertion however and not the “Connection Manager” though.

    • jeroenps says:

      I also get regular kernel panics, sometimes after hardware insertion and sometimes after pressing connect in the Telstra Connection Manager utility. It is happening a bit too often, I’ve had more kernel panics in the past few days than I have had over the last year. Other than that the modem is very fast.

  35. Cathy says:

    Thank you P W Dizon and Lantrix for your comments. I have connected the modem and works adequately (1 or 2 bars) but much better at my neighbour’s about 200 metres away. I have seen a YouTube video showing this kind of modem connected to an aerial (for use on a boat in the video) You mention “Billion 6200NXL”. I’ll track down an aerial and try to improve it. Thanks again for your advice.

  36. Bob Buick says:

    I’m running the Telstra Ultimate (Sierra AC312U) on my desk near the Highland Park / Neilsen’s Road interchange on the M1 at Carrara. It’s well ove 10 times the speed of my previous “3″ Huawei modem, running very close to ADSL2 speeds.
    I don’t need an antenna (although I’m an old radio ham), but you may find this article interesting, if your signal strength is inadequate and you’re a tinkerer:
    http://www.tigereye.net.au/vk4ion/nextg_yagi.html

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you, Bob Buick, for the interesting link dealing with building an antenna. Would love to have enough time to do this kind of construction. Have bookmarked it for future reference. Thanks again.

  37. Sean says:

    I have the sierra wireless 312u on bigpond and i have been happy with it and you setup online and it was easy and the bigpond nextg wireless modems don’t have mobile phones numbers. The speed of the modem is very good and i get better speeds then my cable internet accounts and if multi billing with telstra landline and mobile and foxtel you get a discount and it is the best 3g modem that i used and using the 850 mhz is alot better then the 2100 mhz modems and i find the 312u is very stable and the 2100 mhz they dropped out quite offten

  38. Tom says:

    Hi Guys,
    I purchased a Telstra Ultimate (Blue) 312U USB modem out right for $299 , to see what is the best up-load speeds i can achieve from any provider,
    Well, I called Telstra bussiness to get the un-lock “MEP Code” and a surprise to me that the Telstra modem book did NOT say is that to Un-lock the Modem Telstra charge another $100.
    so i paid it, and got the code.
    I put in a Optus sim and did some tests.
    I have a 7db gain whip antenna on my roof a signal of -85dbi, (compared to a much better -50dbi from telstra yagi 15db gain antenna next to the whip).
    tests showed that using Telstra sim went up at about 60kbs it began fast and then slowed signifigantly, with the Optus sim card fitted, with a lesser signal went up at 140kbs, it began slow at about 90 kbs and then climbed to the 140kbs range.

    Vodafone sim is my next test in the aircard

    So far my tests and up-loads are that Telstra is OK using remote NextG towers, but using city/metro towers telstra is pityful to say the least, I guess their just overloaded with users. So looks like I will use other Providers 3G sims to get faster up-loads from city/metro towers.

    Cheers
    tom

  39. Douglas says:

    Running the Telstra Ultimate blue at Yandi Western Australia running perfectly considering i am in the middle of no where.

  40. Simon says:

    Does anyone know of a router that’s compatible with the telstra ultimate USB modem? I was told a netgear mbu126 ( not exact model number) was but it didn’t work so have to take it back. Thanking you guys for any info !??

  41. John says:

    Simon, I am using one of these modems in a Netcomm N150 (3G17Wn) router and it works very well.

    • simon says:

      Hi John
      your useing the telstra ultimate usb modem sierra wireless 312u? with the netcomm n150 3g17wn ? you have no problems with drop outs or conection? Can you use laptop, iphone and ipad at same time?
      thanking you john sorry for the 400 questions im just a little stupid when it comes to this sort of thing!!
      Simon

  42. Trent says:

    My Uncle got an Ultimate USB modem and when I plugged it in to install it on his computer, it came back with a Windows Installer error, saying it can not access the Installer or the installer is not correctly installed. He has had his pc for probably 10 years now, XP, is it is a Windows XP problem or a Telstra Install problem?

  43. bruce says:

    Still no replacement for adsl, I have used all modems with Telstra wireless internet and find it unrealiable, expensive and i will go back to adsl anytime. I take offence that Telstra says the Ultimate is faster, I don’t believe it ! My old telstra prepaid modem is just as fast, the technology has not advanced only the sales spin.

  44. David says:

    John (25/3) – I got my new Ultimate modem today and it won’t work in my Netcomm 3G17Wn router which, inexlicably, worked fine with my previous blue Telstra Turbo 3G usb modem.

    Have you used any other 3G modems with your unit? Mine says “Netcomm 3G USB 11n Router” on the top and 3G17Wn in the spec label on the side.

  45. Sharon says:

    I am using the Ultimate Wireless Broadband and when its connected its great, just one problem every time i switch off the Pc i have to un install and reinstall the thing to be able to use as its telling me no device is to be found so annoying could i have a problem with the USB stick or my PC ??????

  46. David says:

    My 312C started out ok working on my PC and my laptop. But today my laptop decided it did not recognise the device. Still does in my PC though so I am figuring my laptop is having the nervy.

  47. Deepak says:

    My Telstra ultimate mobile broadband usb modem worked perfectly with my macbook air but when I try to use it with my new macbook pro, after the installation, it says ‘device not found’. Telstra has been unable to help. Any suggestions on how I can get this working?

  48. Reasonably Peeved says:

    In an around the Techno-babble and sales spin here, does anyone from Tesltra wish to comment as to why the MicroSd slot doesn’t work?
    Sierra Wireless have confirmed it is only an issue on the AC312U (Telstra version), and that it is only going to be rectified by a Telstra firmware update…
    So…while corporate customers get increasingly annoyed by this lack of function, is Telstra actually working on a solution?

  49. Paul W. Dizon says:

    People in the know long dumped the faulty Telstra firmware and installed the version 1 of the Sierra Software. You need to realise Telstra software is *ALWAYS* sub-standard and full of faults and causes pain and suffering to customers. You only have to look at anything that Telstra has to do with software. Never ever works correctly, is lacking in basic features, fails to operate as expected, slow, troublesome etc. You only have to look at the highly laughable Sensis software. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry their new version is such tragic faulty rubbish. Thankfully at *long* last Telstra are starting to get some resemblance of a web site that is getting towards customer friendly and workable. Still has a long way to go, but is getting there.

  50. Hey, read the whole page. Seems to dump the telstra software for manufacturer software is the way to go… I am not a customer yet but am looking to get a Ultimate USB but I want it on per-paid because I blatantly REFUSE to deal with telstra billing after $28,000 bills on a LIBERTY ADSL plan wouldnt be corrected. So can anyone tell me if Pre-Paid works with this modem? … Vodafone is the gay in Goldcoast CBD (southport Central)… being up in the tower – DOESNT help it at all.

    Thanks
    - Brendan

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