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4 posts

Wannabe Geek

Topic # 134029 12-Nov-2013 13:15 Send private message

OK, bear with me here, I'm no wizz at mobile comms. I'm pretty pc savvy but mobile stuff is not my strong point;

I live in a part of NZ which I believe is not covered by the RBI. I'm confused as to what the RBI actually does for mobile broadband other than upgrade cell towers.

I am in the Marlborough Sounds (South Island) and can get a cell signals to the coast of Wellington (North Island). But I can't get any sense out of the telcos as to weather or not I can get mobile broadband as my address apparently does not exist (boat access only property, no postal address, so their address finders do not work) and therefore apparently the place also does not exist. Logical apparently?

So where I'm at now?  I have a yagi antenna set up but need a smartphone or mobile modem to connect to it. I have done this with a telecom modem and it works, but is not great. I'd like to try with vodafone but it seems devices with external antenna ports are few and far between.

Can anyone suggest the next step to test/trial a vodafone connection? Phone/modem model suggestion? Or is there a device I can use to test the Vodafone signal with the yagi? Can I use the Huawai modem I use to connect with telecom but with different settings to try to connect with vodafone or is the hardware just not compatible?

Also, how would the RBI affect this? At present it seems there is a 4gb cap on mobile broadband, but under the RBI the caps seem higher, is this correct or am I interpreting this incorrectly?

Any help would be much appreciated :-)

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Uber Geek
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Inactive user

  Reply # 931422 12-Nov-2013 13:42 Send private message

You can get mobile broadband if you get 3G coverage to get RBI you need to be in a RBI coverage area

RBI is a regulated product as well and these cells have extra capacity


4 posts

Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 931427 12-Nov-2013 13:47 Send private message

Thanks John,
Can you clarify the difference between RBI mobile broadband and normal mobile broadband? Is there a difference? Are data caps larger?



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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 931429 12-Nov-2013 13:49 Send private message

Vodafone had a map of the current and planned RBI coverage at , but after a recent redesign of the web site it is now only an address checker, which is no good for you. 

You will get a better idea of your current coverage under the RBI/mobile broadband at the standard Vodafone coverage map, with the 3G and 3G extended options ticked.

This article has some pricing details on the RBI product..

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  Reply # 931431 12-Nov-2013 13:50 Send private message

Technically it's the same thing but they are not the same

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 931438 12-Nov-2013 13:58 Send private message

The higher end vodafone wifi devices tend to have antenna ports, the R208, R212 and R215. I think all these were around $200, and I would have thought that you would have been able to pick up the R208 and R212 for cheaper than that second hand now that the R215 is out, but I couldn't see any for cheap on trademe.

Edit: I think the R206 also has an external antenna port and it is only $79 - you have to leave the back cover off to access it though (about 2 mins in).

4 posts

Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 931441 12-Nov-2013 14:02 Send private message

John, from what I can understand the main differences between standard mobile broadband and RBI broadband are:
- RBI uses yagi antenna
- RBI has more specific modem (not just a mobile hotspot/usb modem etc) - modem can connect to antenna and also accept physical phone connection (partial/similar to voip?)
- data cap is up to 15gb or more as opposed to 4gb-ish limit on normal mobile broadband and price/gb is much lower.

Is this correct to your knowledge?

Obviously I'm rural, takes 2 hours by boat to get to nearest town (I doubt there's a lot of "more-rural" places in NZ than that). So is there a way to "become eligible" for the "RBI advantages" do you know?

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Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 931443 12-Nov-2013 14:03 Send private message

Thanks wongtop, I'll look into those devices.

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  Reply # 931468 12-Nov-2013 14:28 Send private message

jonb: Vodafone had a map of the current and planned RBI coverage at , but after a recent redesign of the web site it is now only an address checker, which is no good for you. 

You can get round the "no address" problem by sticking in a road in the area and then zoom and pan the map to where you want, 

For the places in the Sounds try "Kenepuru Rd Malborough" and go from there.....

It looks like a far chunk of the sounds will get RBI eventually

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  Reply # 931497 12-Nov-2013 14:48 Send private message

Give these guys a call:

Even if you are not in an RBI zone, they may be able to sort you out with a fixed mobile data connection.

Disclaimer, I'm their Waikato / Auckland installer.


Chorus has spent $1.4 billion on making their xDSL broadband network faster. If your still stuck on ADSL or VDSL, why not spend from $150 on a master filter install to make sure you are getting the most out of your connection?
I install - Naked DSL, DSL Master Splitters, VoIP, data cabling and general computer support for home and small business.
Rural Broadband RBI installer for Ultimate Broadband and Full Flavour


Need help in Auckland, Waikato or BoP? Click my email button, or email me direct: [my user name] at geekzonemail dot com

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