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Mobile broadband problems

Mobile broadband is a popular innovation in broadband technology, allowing users to connect to the internet via a mobile device on the go. Whether you connect via a smartphone, tablet, laptop or even a PC, a mobile broadband connection has the potential to be just as strong and fast as a fixed line broadband connection.

Mobile broadband connections are made possible via the 3G and 4G network.

Yet with any new technology there are inevitably going to be some problems, and mobile broadband in Ireland is no different. So, what mobile broadband problems might you encounter, and how can you deal with them?

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Mobile broadband coverage problems

Despite the fact that mobile broadband is a relatively new technology, it relies on mobile phone signals that we’ve been using for some time. As such, there can be mobile broadband coverage issues.

Just as you might expect mobile phone coverage to drop out in remote or rural areas, so too can a 3G mobile broadband connection. Even 4G connections can drop out when you are out of range, rendering your smartphone or tablet useless in terms of connectivity.

While those in rural and remote areas are generally the worst affected by mobile broadband problems in terms of coverage, city residents can also experience issues. At peak times, the sheer volume of users trying to access a mobile broadband network means that the connection can be lost.

This is despite the fact that there are plenty of mobile phone masts in cities, making connections more reliable. If you are considering a mobile broadband service, there are three main providers to choose from in Ireland:

  • Vodafone
  • Three
  • eir Mobile

Mobile broadband speed problem

Mobile broadband providers will tell you that you can achieve impressive download speeds of as much as 21Mbps when using a 3G network. While a mobile broadband connection has the potential to do this, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve these speeds.

In many cases mobile broadband connection problems mean that you won’t achieve speeds anywhere near this, as a number of factors can affect download speeds. These include:

  • Interference from power stations, pylons and even electrical cables
  • The time of day you are using it
  • Your proximity to mobile phone masts

Mobile broadband installation problems

Another mobile broadband complication that some users encounter is installing the technology on a laptop or PC. More often than not, installation is fairly straightforward as the software comes on a single dongle that you plug into a USB port. Once the dongle is plugged in, simply follow the instructions on screen.

If you encounter problems with installing mobile broadband, or the dongle is not recognised by your computer, there are a number of things you can try. If the dongle is not recognised, try it in a different USB port on your computer. If it works elsewhere, then the problem is with the port.

Remember to check in the ‘Computer’ menu on Windows to see if the dongle has appeared. If it is not appearing when plugged into any of your USB ports, try a different device in one of the ports. If this works you’ll know the problem is with the dongle, and you should contact the manufacturer.

For more information about mobile broadband read our dedicated mobile broadband guide.