Feeds
90%

Sierra Wireless Compass 885 HSUPA 3G modem

aka the O2 Business Modem

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

As a USB modem, the 885 worked impeccably. We tried it out on both T-Mobile's network and on Vodafone's, in central London and elsewhere in the capital where we were able to tap into the network's HSDPA link - rated at 7.2Mb/s, according to Windows, though rather less than that in real-world testing. From slotting in the modem to being presented with a usable connection took a fraction over 37s - slightly slower than the 33s it took to perform the same task, on the same network and in the same location with the Ovation MC950D.

The T-Mobile connection wasn't particularly rapid - the Vodafone was better - but we got almost identical throughput readings with the MC950D, so this was clearly a network factor rather than the hardware. Indeed, the 885 performed much like the Novatel product. Both are based on Qualcomm chip technology, which may explain why.

One thing we did notice with the 885: it doesn't get as hot as the Novatel Wireless product. Both were evenly matched on the signal strength they registered, and while we'd have liked to see more than 2-3 signal bars lit, we had not trouble with either modems' performance.

Sierra Wireless Compass 885

O2's offering the 885 as the Business Modem

O2 is offering the 885 for free on monthly tariffs ranging from £53 to £143 including VAT, provided you sign up for 18 months. Or you can have it on a one-month contract ranging from £41-143 if you're willing to pay £98 for the modem. If you choose any of these, beware: the O2-sold modem is locked to the network.

If you want the freedom to move from network to network, the unlocked 885 is priced at around £150. That's £10 less than the MC950D is currently going for. The MC950D is a good modem, but the 885 is no worse and a tenner cheaper.

That said, if you're going to be switching SIMs frequently, it's much easier to do so with the Novatel Wireless product than the Sierra one, and we'd personally pay the £10 for the convenience. The MC950D is also compatible with Linux, while the 885 is not, and that may affect your decision which to buy, too.

Verdict

The merits of an on-board Micro SD slot are entirely subjective, but everyone can agree that a good USB 3G modem needs a decent array of connectivity options and a solid signal-sniffing ability. Sierra Wireless' Compass 885 has both, and it's let down only by an unnecessarily fiddly SIM slot.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

90%

Sierra Wireless Compass 885 HSUPA 3G modem

An entirely competent USB 3G modem with that added benefit of a Micro SDHC slot
Price: £150 SIM-free RRP

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.