SET UP BIGPOND USB DONGLE WITH
TELSTRA NEXT G SIM
SET UP GUIDES
WIN XP GUIDE   VISTA GUIDE
LINUX GUIDE - COMING SOON
  PRICING
CASUAL DATA PACK RATES - REVISED
  FIRMWARE - NEW
UPDATE 2.0.18 - DOUBLE DOWNLINK SPEED

The purpose of this document is to clearly outline three very distinct points.

1. The 'Bigpond USB Dongle' (Not Telstra USB Dongle) will definately work with a 'Telstra Next G Sim Plan' instead of the 'Bigpond Pond Sim' that is distributed with the Bigpond USB Dongle.

2. The device is configurable under both Windows XP and Windows Vista. No additional software or drivers are required other than those supplied on the original 'Bigpond' installation disk.

3. With a 'Telstra Next G Sim' in the 'Bigpond USB Dongle' a user can definately use wireless broadband without having to sign up for a 12month/3year contract term. The user can set/change their access at will, under a casual plan.


Points that require clarification
Point 1
Two almost identical USB Dongles are distributed by Telstra/Bigpond. One is Blue in colour, this USB dongle is the 'Bigpond' device. The other is orange in colour, this is the 'Telstra' device. While it would seem that Telstra and Bigpond are the same company, when it comes to these devices, they are treated very much as individual and separate devices as far as Bigpond/Telstra are concerned. They are distributed with completely different connection software. The difference also extends to the Tech Support, in that the bigpond device is handled by the Bigpond Tech Support Team and the Telstra Device is handled by the Next G team. The pricing on the devices also varies greatly. I purchased the 'Bigpond' device pictured for $249.00. I have been quoted on the 'Telstra' Device many prices, ranging from around $500.00 to $700.00 at various locations. All prices quoted are to purchase the device outright.

Point 2
Nearly every Tech support person that I have spoken to in Telstra/Bigpond has denied (almost emphatically) that the Telstra Sim plans (that go with the Telstra Devices) will work in the Bigpond devices. THIS IS FALSE. This Setup guide outlines the exact steps that I have taken several times, in setting up my 'Bigpond' USB Dongle with a 'Telstra' Next G Sim.


The Downside to Casual Acess
(These items were contributed by a whirlpool.net.au forum entry)
Item 1
The Casual Data Packs don't have unmetered sites. Every transfer you do will count towards your limit. This can be a concern if you are a devotee of the Bigpond unmetered sites and pages.
Item 2
Casual Data Packs don't come with an email address. If you need email access on your wirelessly connected pc/laptop, you will need to access another email account through another provider. eg hotmail, gmail or one provided through your non-wireless ISP.
Item 3
Technical Support won't want to know you, as you're technically not using a supported configuration. Most Techs I have spoken to throw their hands up when I have told them I am using a Telstra Sim with a Bigpond Device. One has even told me, "take the whole rig back to my place of purchase and ask for a refund, as it won't work."
Item 4
There's no decent usage meter on Casual Data plans. I am having trouble myself with getting accurate data figures showing on the data usgae meter, that is available through the 'My Account' area, at 'telstra.com.au'. To date, it has been reporting some information correctly and other information is completely invalid. Also, there seems to be a significant delay (6 hours) in the updating of the information. When I have called Telstra to query the incorrect information, they have advised, that their systems are even further behind (2 days) in up to date information. They advise the only real method to see if the information corrects itself is to wait a couple of days for the system to update.
Item 5
The standand Telstra NextG access only provides a private, NAT'ed address. That is, the IP address you receive upon connection is not a Live/Real Internet IP address. Hence, once you have connected the pc/laptop to the internet, you can not expect to make conventional inbound connections (eg Remote Desktop, VNC, pcAnywhere, etc) without a bit of creative routing. There is discussion in the forum, that a service from Telstra called 'IP Connect' may be available to serve this purpose, but it would seem that this is an additional fee. A Bigpond Connection using the Bigpond Sim (Non-Casual) is reputed to provide a Real/Live internet IP address.


Notes if you have previously attempted installation
It should be noted that if you have attempted to install the Bigpond or Telstra software/drivers prior to following the setup guides listed above, you may need to to reload your operating system to ensure a successful installation. Remnants of driver software within the 'Windows Driver Database' may continually corrupt the installation. While both Windows XP and Windows Vista have an 'Uninstall Driver' option, the process is far from thorough. The driver remnants after running the 'Uninstall Driver' option, are enough to corrupt the install process for the 'Bigpond' adapter. If this happens the easiest solution is normally a reload of Windows XP or Windows Vista and start from scratch.


References
APC Magazine - What Telstra doesn't want you to know
APC Magazine - Wireless Data Settings Cheat Sheet
Quozl's Maxon BP3-USB on Linux

Discussion Forums
Whirlpool.net.au forum for the USB Dongle with Casual Access
Whirlpool.net.au forum for sharing Nextg Wireless
Whirlpool.net.au forum for Telstra Turbo Modem on Linux
Ubuntu Linux Discussion forum for Bigpond Nextg Wireless
Ubuntu Linux Discussion forum for Bigpond Maxon Bp3-ext Modem Using sierra module


Bigpond USB Dongle - Front
Bigpond USB Dongle - Back
Bigpond Installation CD
Telstra Sim Bigpond Sim

This information was originally compiled on the 2nd of September 2007. Telstra/Bigpond may change access requirements to their network at any point without notice to an end user or prospective user. If at any time you wish to confirm the information on this page is still valid please feel free to email (jason@avidinvestigations.com.au) and I will advise the status of any details listed here. I will also endeavour to keep this information up to date.