Getting Vodafone Mobile Connect and Windows Vista to play nicely together

VodafoneIn order to be effective, I need to be online for a large part of my working day. Right now I’m spending a big chunk of my week either travelling or at a client site where their policies prevents me from connecting my notebook PC to the LAN and the only access I have to the Internet is via a Wyse terminal to RDP onto servers (which don’t have any of the software installed that so many websites need – for example Flash/Silverlight plugins, Java, etc.).

I’ve been given a Vodafone PC Express Card (one of the new 7.2Mbps HSUPA Option Etna cards) but I’ve been struggling to get it working with Windows Vista. Vodafone’s website indicates that Vodafone Mobile Connect (VMC) version 9.1 will work with Windows Vista and that’s certainly the experience of a colleague with an older card but each time I installed the Vodafone Mobile Connect software, the wireless LAN connection failed to obtain an IP address, falling back to automatic private IP addressing (which Vista reports as local access only).

The Option Express card is supplied with Vodafone Mobile Connect 9.2.1.6545, which is reported to resolve issues with previous VMC clients including application conflicts and failing LAN/WLAN connections. I’d tried a custom installation without Vodafone’s WLAN components as Windows Vista is perfectly capable of managing my notebook’s built-in Intel PRO/Wireless2200BG (Centrino) chipset and was just about to try Vodafone Mobile Connect Lite v3.0.3.112 instead when I stumbled across a comment on a blog post that suggested installing VMC without the optimisation software – that seemed to resolve the issue and allowed me to use the WLAN connection with the VMC software installed.

Screenshot of Vodafone Mobile Connect v9.2.1.6545 with a working (but weak) 3G connectionI still couldn’t get a data connection; however that problem turned out to be a little more basic – swapping SIMs with my mobile handset confirmed that the new SIM that Vodafone had supplied with the data card was not activated (despite the shipping note stating that it was). A quick call to Vodafone this morning resolved that particular issue and I now have a working 3G connection (seamlessly dropping back to GPRS as required).
Vodafone USB Broadband

9 thoughts on “Getting Vodafone Mobile Connect and Windows Vista to play nicely together


  1. Hey Mark,

    I’ve had pretty good experience so far of the Vodafone “Peble” modem which is I think the USB version of the express card. I have however, been unable to RDP to any of my servers – all other access to the net is fine – did you find any problems? I wonder is Vodafone have any traffic restrictions….

    Regards, Jason


  2. Hi Jason,
    Thanks for getting in touch. Good news for me (bad news for you I’m afraid) is that I just tested an RDP connection to one of my servers over the Vodafone UK 3G+ network and got through with no problems at all.

    Good luck in getting to the bottom of this.

    Mark


  3. It’s probably worth pointing out that, despite the low connection speeds indicated in the VMC software, the connection seems quite responsive – it appears that the Vodafone network actually experiences remarkably low latency and that more than makes up for the apparantly narrow bandwidth.

    (Of course, I’m no network engineer and might be talking complete nonsense but it seems logical to me.)


  4. This seems to work for Windows Server 2008 too – just installed the Vodafone Mobile Connect software (without the WLAN or optimisation components – just VMC and the SMS option) on Windows Server 2008 and connected with no problems.


  5. Although it says it works with Vista on the box, it is not compatible, at least in the current version. To make Vodafone software work under Vista:

    Find “Mobile Connect” and “SMS” in the “BIN” directory, which is in the “Vodafone Mobile Connect” directory in the “Program Files” folder on your C drive. Right click and select “Properties”, then choose the tab which says “Compatibility”, and set this to “Windows XP”.


  6. @Ron – it does – I use it all the time.

    @Fred, that’s not my experience – if you use the product versions I mentioned in this post, it does work – I’ve been using it since November last year, initially on Windows Vista and more recently on Windows Server 2008 with no requirement for Windows XP compatibility mode, just without the WLAN optimisation components).

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