CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Networking

Mobile broadband cranks it up: HSDPA data cards compared

High-speed mobile broadband has arrived! We compare Telstra's BigPond Wireless Next G service, Vodafone's HSDPA-enhanced 3G network and 3's new NetConnect ExpressCard.

High-speed mobile broadband has arrived! We compare Telstra's BigPond Wireless Next G service, Vodafone's HSDPA-enhanced 3G network and 3's new NetConnect ExpressCard.

At first it was enough just to remain online while you were on the road. But the joy of go-anywhere convenience came with a caveat: even 3G failed to match the speed of the cheapest and slowest home ADSL line.

Now wireless broadband has hit its stride, with the mobile carriers leading their super-charged networks in a new race for the road warrior's business. Telstra and Vodafone are first off the starter's line, with real-world speeds that bend the needle past 1Mbps, while 3's new NetConnect card prepares the way for an even faster network upgrade.

So if you want downloads to hurtle rather than turtle over the airwaves and onto your laptop, read on to find the best mobile broadband bet.

3 NetConnect HSDPA ExpressCard
3 NetConnect HSDPA ExpressCard

It sprints along on 3's current 3G network and will kick into overdrive following the 3.6Mbps HSDPA network overhaul, and slips into notebook ExpessCard and PC Card slots. Top that off with exceptional pricing plans and 3's new NetConnect mobile broadband card is almost a no-brainer.

BigPond Next G Wireless Broadband Mobile Card
BigPond Next G Wireless Broadband Mobile Card

Fancy a 1.3Mbps broadband pipeline direct to your notebook, without a cable in sight? The new BigPond wireless data card makes good on Telstra's lofty promises for its Next G network.

Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G HSDPA Card
Vodafone Mobile Connect 3G HSDPA Card

Vodafone's enhanced notebook PC Card delivers what the mobile telco calls 'business class 3G broadband' -- but until more of the 3G network is upgraded with HSDPA, most users will remain stuck in economy seats.