Toy Box: Vodafone sweetens road warrior deal

Vodafone's Mobile Connect card has been around for a while but two changes make it worth having another look.

Vodafone's Mobile Connect card has been around for a while but two changes make it worth having another look.

Firstly, it's dropped in price. Originally costing around $1000, the card and configuration software -- which can link you to the office network -- now rocks in at a reasonable $399 ex GST. That's more like it.

Of course, you're only getting GPRS speeds, right? About 40kbit/s to 50kbit/s, and what's the point in that? Well, the second change is that Vodafone has introduced Optimiser, software which compresses the data flow and can increase your traffic speed by two or three times.

It all depends really on what kind of traffic you're after -- a simple web page can rock along but go to an online bank and you're back to the basic speed because HTTPS doesn't like to be squashed. The same is true of already compressed files, so forget about zipping everything and compressing as well.

On the plus side, the software is free for download from the Vodafone website or on the CD that comes with the card. The GUI is child's play to use. Track usage, get a warning if you're close to your specified limit, access your office LAN, send SMS messages and receive your email all in the one console. Nice.

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