Data card group test - round 1

I’ve heard a few rumors recently from various sources that performance of the latest data cards varies considerably from vendor to vendor, so I’ve decided to put it to the test. I’ve got my mits on Voda’s three latest data devices:

  • Option GlobeTrotter Express (’Etna’)
  • Huawei E870 ExpressCard
  • Huawei E270 USB Modem

Laptop and data cards

They’re all 7.2Mbps/HSUPA capable devices, all sharing the same Qualcomm 7200 chipset. My test setup consisted of the following:

  • 17″ MacBook Pro, running:
  • Transmit - an FTP client
  • Safari - web browser
  • Net Monitor - bandwidth monitor

I’m running the tests from my desk at home, in central Oxford.  The signal here is reasonable - my Palm Treo’s showing 2 bars of 3G coverage.

In order to run the tests, I started up an FTP download, then two HTTP downloads (linux distros again proving handy here) - I then used Net Monitor’s stopwatch feature to track the average and peak throughput for a fixed file size. I had to use multiple concurrent downloads in order to get the throughput up - downloading a single file rarely gave results over 800Kbps. Here’s a screenshot of Net Monitor in action:

Net Monitor

The results

Device Download (avg/peak) Upload (avg/peak)
Option GlobeTrotter 1.3Mbps / 1.4Mbps 367Kbps / 425Kbps
Huawei E870 1.3Mbps / 1.4Mbps 367Kbps / 402Kbps
Huawei E270 1.3Mbps / 1.3Mbps 366Kbps / 380Kbps

So all in all, pretty close to say the least! The E270 seems to have lost out marginally on peak data rates, but with all devices pushing 1.3Mbps average download speed, there’s not much in it.

I’m running these tests on a network that’s not yet been upgraded to 7.2Mbps - stay tuned - once I track down some coverage I’ll repeat the tests.

This entry was posted on Monday, October 22nd, 2007 at 7:50 pm and is filed under ExpressCards, USB Modem. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Data card group test - round 1”

  1. Jorgen Says:

    Did you by any chance test Cisco VPN on these cards from a MacBook Pro? Since I upgraded to my Etna expresscard the Cisco VPN client no longer connects.

  2. fatcat Says:

    Sorry Jorgen, I didn’t.

    Which network are you using - is it Vodafone in the UK or another country?

  3. Sebke Says:


    Could you please tell me where did you find the Mac OS drivers for the e270?

    I’m currently using the e220 drivers because the e270 I found fail to install on Mac OS 10.4.11 (tested on a MacBook and a Brand New iMac)

    I can connect with the e220 but it is way too limited compared with the Windows software, and the Mobile Connect utility wont work. I have to use the Mac Dialer and CheetahWatch to get by.

    Any help will be appreciated.

  4. Sebke Says:

    I forgot to add, I’m in Argentina so I’n mot using Vodafone but a different carrier (CTI)

  5. nick Says:

    I have a Vodafone Huawei E870 express card for my MacBook Pro running 10.5.2. I am running the very latest Vodafone Mobile Connect software. I cannot get uploads any quicker than 8 - 11 kbps, even when I am in a 7.2 area. Am I doing something really stupid? Or are these E870 modems a bit on the S*** side? I recently went into the Vodafone shop and tried the new USB stick alongside my E870 and the USB stick was flying at 100+kbps… Why would this be? Are the drivers/firmware different? I am pulling what little hair I have left out trying to figure this one out! Please can someone help me. Warm regards

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