3G coverage tends to be rather spotty out in the sticks, which makes getting online with a USB 3G modem a bit of a problem. The new (and not-so-excitingly named) Solwise NET-3GLP1917E won’t necessarily solve that problem, but it should help a laptop hang onto a mobile internet connection when the 3G signal is weak.

The NET-3GLP1917E is an unlocked USB 3G modem that can be used with any 3G mobile broadband SIM, although you’ll need to supply your own as Solwise doesn’t provide one as part of the deal.

Although it uses the same internal antenna design as 3G modems from mobile broadband operators, the NET-3GLP1917E can also be connected to an external, for sensitive, antenna for use in areas where the 3G signal is weak.

The weaker a 3G signal is, the slower the internet connection it provides, so in addition to picking up a 3G signal where a standard 3G USB modem cannot, the external antenna of the NET-3GLP1917E should also boost speeds when the signal is weak.

A desktop 2dBi antenna is included, but Solwise also sells a range of outdoor 3G antennae suitable for mounting on the outside of a caravan or motorhome.

One small caveat is that the NET-3GLP1917E only supports the 2100MHz 3G band, so while it’s fully compatible with all UK 3G networks, it won’t work with the much slower EDGE and GPRS networks in areas where 3G coverage is completely absent.

The NET-3GLP1917E is available from Solwise soon for £39.98.