BenQ u121 Eco Joybook and Option GTM378 – playing nicely now

So my new netbook is a BenQ u121. It has a lovely 11.6″ screen, 2GB RAM, 250GB HDD and great battery life, all in a 1.3kg package. In a step forward for the environment, it also uses the same power supply as my old Acer netbook, so I didn’t need to buy an extra one (19V 3.42A)! A bargain at $399.
In Australia, these machines don’t come with 3G installed, as they do in some markets, but under the sticker that says removing it voids my warranty is a mini PCI-E slot laying empty along with two antenna pigtails. Talk about taunting me.
The problem is, there is almost no information about making use of it. I followed some tips from a forum around installing a 3G modem on an Acer netbook, and figured I would give it a go.
A trip to Ebay got me a second hand Option GTM378 3G modem – it does HSDPA at 7.2Mbps on a bunch of network frequencies, including the Voda/Optus and Telstra ones. $50 and a 7 day airmail trip from Hong Kong and it was mine.
Plugged it in and XP recognises the device. Pointed it to the drivers downloaded from Option’s site (version 4.0.17.0) and … nothing happens. Installation fails with a message stating appropriate drivers couldn’t be found.
Very aggravating. I spent several hours searching and trying different things, to no avail.
I even emailed Option support, although they publish no contact details and claim to offer no end user support, just OEM. Needless to say, no reply.
Eventually, I tracked down an older driver – version 3.313 and like magic it works. So, thumbs down to Option’s support and website for providing the wrong drivers, but a big thumbs up to BenQ for supporting on board 3G!

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