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MacBooks and ultraportables get HSDPA

Users of MacBooks, UMPCs and other newer ultraportable laptops can now access Vodafone's Super-3G service, and the operator says it has the capacity to handle more demand
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Written by David Meyer, Freelance reporter on

Vodafone has extended its "3G Broadband" functionality to MacBooks, ultraportable laptops and ultra-mobile PCs.

After releasing an HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) datacard in June, the mobile operator has now brought out a USB version — the Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem.

Like the earlier datacard, this modem give high-speed wireless access over Vodafone's network, but unlike the datacard, it can be used with MacBooks, ultraportable laptops and UMPCs such as the Samsung Q1.

These newer computers tend to lack traditional PC card slots, opting instead for smaller ExpressCard slots and USB connectivity — meaning users have previously had to use a cumbersome adaptor for their PC cards.

The company has also worked in partnership with several notebook vendors to embed 3G Broadband technology within their devices.

Additionally, Vodafone told ZDNet UK it has increased the last-mile connectivity capacity — the connection between the end user/network and the main network — for its HSDPA services where needed.

The current backhaul capacity in most areas is 2Mbps, but "sites in high profile areas and those that are likely to have high capacity demand have been provisioned with up to 8Mbps of backhaul capacity", Vodafone said.

Although HSDPA can theoretically achieve much higher speeds, Vodafone's rollout has aimed for an "average user experience of 700Kbps, with peak data rates of 1.4Mbps", although speeds may vary depending on "radio conditions and the current traffic load of the site".

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