Mobile broadband has come thru with it's promise of freedom for people who no longer want to spend a lot of time looking for the nearest WiFi access point when they are on the road. With al the choices out there from the big players like Novatel, Sierra and Cradlepoint, it can be easy to overlook the hidden gems from smaller manufacturers like Zoom. Let's take a look at the highly rated Zoom USB broadband adapter, the 4595 4G.
The Zoom 4595 3G Broadband USB Modem is great example of a mixture of performance and value for your investment. The person needing this type of modem is probably a laptop or tablet user that may or may not have built-in WiFi support and hardware but do have a USB port available. WiFi is fine as long as you can find a coffee shop or public space that provides free WiFi, or if you can afford to purchase access from your hotel. However, for some situations it may be unwise to assume those options will be available.
This wireless data modem allows the owner the flexibility of deciding on the hardware independently from the mobile service provider they will use. When you sign up with a service provider, they will send you a SIM card that you snap into the modem. This is the same procedure needed for any independently purchased mobile device.
You may be thinking, "Wait a minute. With all the blather you hear about 4G networks, why consider a 3G broadband modem?" Although 4G networks may be the future of mobile broadband, that future is just not quite here yet. The 4G networks are going through an awkward transition, converting their protocols (rules that devices use to talk to each other) from WiMAX to LTE. WiMAX devices are not compatible with LTE devices. You should also consider the inconvenience of limited 4G coverage; 4G networks have a fraction of the coverage that exists for 3G. For the time being, if you want reliably available, broadband wireless access to the Internet, you need a 3G modem. 3G is also probably not really as "slow" as you might imagine it to be. Running at it's full speed of 3Mbps, you'd be surprised at how smooth streaming video will render over the web. More often than not, it's business travelers on the go who need these USB adapters to get their laptops online when out of WiFi range. 3G is still a great option for the most popular activities for business users, like VPN remote desktop, GotoMyPC or LogMeIn, as well as working within software suites like MS Office or Google Docs.
The Zoom 4595 supports GSM data service in three different frequency bands, giving you more choices of carriers to select from. Another factor that could limit your choice of carriers is the support for data communications standards. The Zoom 4595 3G Broadband modem supports multiple communications standards. The 4595 supports EDGE, UMTS, HSUPA and HSDPA. These are communications standards that make sure you get good use of the available bandwidth from your carrier.
How do these help? EDGE and UMTS are two alternatives for allowing high speed data transfer to occur on cellular networks. They work on services that use different frequencies for cellular communications, which provides part of the flexibility offered by this modem. Those two protocols provide the data transfer infrastructure used by the HSDPA and HSUPA standards. These standard provide the respective high speed download and upload capability for wireless networks. These protocols help boost the download speed to 7.2 Mbps and upload speed as high as 5.76 Mbps.
From a customer satisfaction perspective, most purchasers of the Zoom 4595 USB 3G Broadband modem are quite pleased with it. Some have complained about it not working well with one carrier or another, but there are many positive reviews from people using those same carriers. Possibly the lesson there is to use a carrier you are familiar with. This also highlights the fact that this modem requires the purchaser to snap in a SIM card and communicate their requirements to the carrier when they sign up for the service. That being said, using this modem requires a certain confidence with technology, but not an advanced degree in computer "nerdiness".
Mikel M. Joerger
Guest Editor, MobileHotspot.com