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NETWORKING HARDWARE

Novatel Wireless Ovation MC950D USB HSPA Modem
By: Barzan "Tony" Antal
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    2008-05-13

    Table of Contents:
  • Novatel Wireless Ovation MC950D USB HSPA Modem
  • Features and Specifications
  • Performance
  • Conclusions

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    Novatel Wireless Ovation MC950D USB HSPA Modem


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Nowadays, Internet connectivity ranks high in our hectic everyday schedules, regardless of the fact that we have places to visit, people to meet, and things to get done. It’s not surprising that we’re practically as dependent on the Internet as we are on electricity. Thus, we need absolute on-the-road mobility with universal connectivity. Today we’re going to review Novatel’s Ovation MC950D HSPA mobile broadband USB modem.

     

    The Ovation MC950D is a 3G modem based on the latest HSUPA, HSDPA, and UMTS technologies. HSUPA stands for High-Speed Uplink Packet Access, HSDPA stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, and UMTS represents Universal Mobile Telecommunications System technology. These are key technologies of 3G, which offers the most cutting-edge high performance data access speeds.

    Presumably, the Ovation MC950D and its younger sister, the MC930D, are the world’s smallest modems. This is possible thanks to their latest innovative design, which is similar to the USB stick form factor standards. It fits comfortably in a pocket. And most importantly, backwards compatibility isn’t neglected because the modem can switch back to quad-band GPRS/EDGE 2G technologies when tri-band UMTS 3G signals aren’t reachable.

    The modem supports up to 7.2mbps downlink data access speeds and 2.1mbps uplink. The aforementioned are architectural limitations by design because these speeds are 100% dependent on carriers and network operators. This gadget doesn’t bring you the Internet “for free;” you need to sign up with a carrier for a plan or account in your area, and then you receive an UMTS HSUPA/HSDPA compatible SIM card.

    Novatel Wireless optimized this modem for North America, Europe, and Japan, but technically worldwide support is possible as long as there is the necessary network coverage on the supported bands. It is platform independent so it works fine on Microsoft Windows, MAC OSX, UNIX, and Linux operating systems.

    There are lots of network partners that are selling the Ovation MC950D modem. More often than not, these partners are network operators and, therefore, you can also sign up with them right away. For this review, the modem was acquired through Vodafone so it sports the “Vodafone” logo instead of Novatel Wireless. The red SIM card is also from Vodafone.

    Nevertheless, we can’t continue before examining its price. The Ovation MC950D is available for around £159.80, €210, and US$320 at the time of writing. Sure, it’s not a bargain, but you need to pay the price for innovation and universal connectivity. Additionally, the plans can go up to €30 per month, but mostly this depends on features - whether it’s unlimited or not, your area, how the network looks there, etc.

    Now that you know what to expect, let’s start this review. Turn the page!

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