Optus Wireless Broadband E1762 USB Modem

Optus' newest wireless broadband modem is more reliable and faster than previous models

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Optus E1762 USB Modem
  • Optus E1762 USB Modem
  • Optus E1762 USB Modem
  • Optus E1762 USB Modem

Pros

  • Reasonably fast, more reliable than other Optus modems we've tested, automatic software installation, SMS support

Cons

  • A little too wide, recessed external antenna port, Optus' 3G network can be unreliable

Bottom Line

Though Optus' 3G network is plagued by reliability and speed issues, we found the E1762 USB modem to be reasonably fast. It provides a better connection than other Optus mobile broadband devices we have reviewed.

Would you buy this?

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  • OPTUS USB E3131 Modem Mobile Broadband Pre-Paid 39.00
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On the surface, the Optus Wireless Broadband E1762 USB Modem doesn't provide any radical improvements over the E169 USB modem. However during testing we noticed better download speeds and a more reliable connection.

Like many mobile broadband modems, Optus' E1762 has a simple USB stick design. Unfortunately, it is wide enough that it can intrude on an adjacent USB port. The SIM card tray inserts just above the USB connection, and the modem also has a microSD card slot and an external antenna connection. The latter is slightly recessed, making it difficult to connect some external antennas.

Software supporting both Windows and Mac is included on the USB stick itself, and installation occurs automatically. Once installed, the software allows you to connect and disconnect from Optus' 3G network and provides providing basic connection information and a phonebook. You can also write and receive SMS messages using the software. A My Usage tab is also available, though this is a link to an Optus' Web site with usage statistics.

When reviewing both the E169 USB modem and the InZone Wi-Fi modem router, we experienced difficulty in maintaining a reliable HSDPA connection to Optus' 3G network. Tested in the same environment, the E1762 USB modem fared much better. The connection was erratic — often switching between a HSDPA and a slower WCDMA 3G connection during use — but the speed differences weren't as significant and overall download speeds were much improved.

The Optus Wireless Broadband E1762 USB Modem provides a theoretical maximum download speed of 7.2 megabit per second (Mbps) and 2Mbps uplink. In GoodGearGuide's Broadband Speed Test, the modem managed an average downlink speed of 1061 kilobits per second (Kbps) and an uplink speed of 1027Kbps. With an external antenna connected, these speeds improved to 2388Kbps and 1109Kbps, respectively.

Real world download speeds were also much improved. Without the external antenna attached, the E1762 USB modem downloaded a 70.8 megabyte iTunes installation package in 10min and 36sec — an average speed of 111.3 kilobytes per second (KBps). With an external antenna attached, this speed increased to 167KBps. The speeds are certainly what we would expect from a 7.2Mbps wireless broadband modem. The external antenna provides a noticeable boost in speed but even without one this is a capable modem.

It costs $199 to purchase the E1762 USB modem outright, but Optus charges $8 per month for the modem on a 24-month contract. The cheapest plan provides 1GB of data for $29.99 per month, and there are 2GB, 5GB and 6GB monthly plans available for $39.99, $49.99 and $59.99, respectively. Alternatively, you can shave $10 off the monthly cost if you bundle the modem with an Optus home or mobile phone. The monthly prices could be better — 3 Mobile offers 1GB for $15 per month, for example.

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