Feeds
90%

Sierra Wireless Compass 885 HSUPA 3G modem

aka the O2 Business Modem

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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.

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

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
Trying to sell your house? It'd better have KILLER mobile coverage
More NB than transport links to next-gen buyers - study
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Speak your brains on SIGNAL-FREE mobile comms
Readers chat to the pair who flog the tech
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?