AT&T GT Ultra Express Air Card Review

On Tuesday, I purchased an AT&T Sierra Wireless 881 USB Air Card to use in my laptop.  I needed to be more mobile than I already am, what with the fact that the mojitos are usually served outdoors on the patio during the summer months.

Today I returned that steaming hunk of junk.  I spent many hours trying to get it to work, including one on the phone with a mostly clueless AT&T tech who told me at one point that “you know more than me” about the networking troubleshooting.

I couldn’t get to any internet sites; ping barfed with a 1231 error, and zero data packets of any sort were sent or received.  I tried upgrading the AT&T Communication Manager software direct from the AT&T support site, and even tried the Sierra Wireless 3G Watcher software.

So, when I returned the 881U, I got a GT Ultra Express card in its place, for $50 more.  I figured that Sierra Wireless was the culprit here and that moving to a different manufacturer might work out well.

I was right.  The GT Ultra Express works beautifully.  It’s an Express Card card, so it’s much lower profile than the monstrous 881U, and it works like a champ.  Initial bandwidth tests to Speakeasy show a download speed of 1639 kbps and an upload speed of 636 kbps, which is right in the advertised range and definitely acceptable for my needs.

So – for those of you choosing between the Sierra Wireless cards and the Option Wireless cards available from AT&T, definitely consider the Option Wireless ones, particularly the GT Ultra Express.  The difference is night and day!


4 Responses to “AT&T GT Ultra Express Air Card Review”

  1. 1 Anthony July 1, 2008 at 11:58 am

    I suspect that you’re running MS-DOS. Despite Apple having native support for the older Option cards, 10.5.4 appears to *STILL* not support this one. The card itself seems to work great — I get DS1 (aka T1) download speeds even with 2/5 signal bars. The flaky connection software from Option more or less works (as in, delete all instances of the card under Network Preferences and reboot several times every time you want to use it) up to and including 10.5.2, but on 10.5.3 and 10.5.4 it completely fails to work. The only way to get this thing working seems to be pay $75 for Launch2Net . This is embarrassing on Option’s part, inexcusable on AT&T’s part, and gouging on Launch2Net’s part. Were I doing it all over again I’d try one of the USB units from Sierra.

  2. 2 Anthony Stevens July 1, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    Good to know that the mileage does vary between Windows and OS X platforms. Thanks for the comment!

  3. 3 ATT 3g Wireless card Review September 22, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I found a pretty decent review of the AT&T 3G Wireless Sierra 881 card. This thing is blazingly fast!

  1. 1 How To Eject an ExpressCard « The Pursuit of a Life Trackback on June 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

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