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The Limitations of Mobile Broadband Services in the UK

This article was written for us by mobiles.co.uk

Dovado UMR with Vodafone USB modemMobile broadband in the UK, though it is popular and improving every day, is far from perfect. Though recent debates about the way in which the maximum download speeds are used to advertise services have hit the headlines, there are some more fundamental limitations. The first is the way in which Network Address Translation (NAT) is used to preserve the IP address space for mobile broadband customers. This can result in problems for those running remote programs or those trying to access servers and use peer to peer networking using their mobile broadband connections.

The second issue which mobile broadband users may experience in the UK is that of image degrading and compression when they are using their USB dongles to go online. The main reason that some broadband providers use this technology is because it is a bandwidth saving measure. In other words, if you are unable to view large images at high resolution online you are consequently saving a significant portion of your bandwidth by not having to download them to your internet cache. This was common in the early days of mobile broadband when contracts had relatively small monthly download limits of 1GB or less. It is also something that is built into the software of certain older USB dongles. This means that for customers who have had mobile broadband for a while it can be relatively difficult to get around. However, providers like T-Mobile have released a software update for customers suffering from image degradation once they have got enough data allowance to stop worrying about loading high resolution images on their PCs. If you are experiencing problems of this kind it is best to consult the frequently asked questions of your provider or look on member forums where others will provide bypass details.

O2 are one of the mobile broadband providers who are still implementing image compression for their mobile broadband customers. It occurs on an external server based level, meaning that the customers have little choice in the matter. On the other hand providers including Vodafone and 3 Mobile are both giving in to public pressure to resolve image compression issues. However, often the image compression you experience will be based on the area in which you are using your connection. Mobile broadband providers do this in particularly congested areas in order to provide a better overall experience for all their customers.

If you are a mobile broadband customer and are experiencing image compression then there are checks in place should you wish to disable it in most instances. However, if you are thinking about purchasing a mobile broadband contract in the UK you should always check out customer reviews online before you commit. Just like choosing hardware using phone reviews you should always seek out an unbiased opinion, particularly if you are an advanced user who would be affected by the widespread use of NAT and image compression. There is often a way around issues if they are generated from the customer`s end, but not if they are problems enforced by the network itself. In that instance the only solution is to change provider.

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