1) Orange Fixed IP SIMs - As far as I can tell, these are only available via ScanCom - www.scancom.co.uk - as the Orange call centre doesn't seem to know about them. Cheapest deal is £5 per month inc VAT. Prepaid for 18 months. 500 MB per month. 1.7p per MB for excess usage out of bundle. The SIMs will work on the Orange 2G & 3G networks. They should also roam freely on T-Mobile, though currently only for 2G.
2) Andrews & Arnold Data SIMs - These come with a fixed public IP address as standard.
- £ 10 + VAT to buy…
- £ 2 + VAT per month when activated (you can suspend them)…
- 2.5p +VAT per MB. (No free megabytes - you just pay for what you use).
Special feature 1: At no extra cost, the A&A SIM cards can be configured instantly to have not just one fixed public IP address, but also a fixed public IP address block (e.g. for your LAN). I have tested this successfully using a Linux machine as a router.
Special Feature 2: The A&A data SIMs can also be configured to use your own IP private addressing scheme using L2TP tunneling to your own Internet endpoint, but to do this you'd need to configure your own LNS router (e.g. using a Linux box with xl2tpd or OpenL2TP).
3) Comms365 Limited can apparently offer static IP SIMs too. "We have interconnects with Vodafone and Three and will be adding in Everything Everywhere shortly. We can provide both Fixed Public and Fixed Private IP Addresses on our SIMs and routed blocks of IPs. A range of tariffs from 2MB to 10GB is available."
Are there any decent 3G routers?3G Routers tend to be a bit of a pain. Many of them lack embedded 3G radios, so they have to rely on tatty USB dongles, which usually lack external antenna connectors. Also, they tend not to support NAT-Free mode (i.e. they assume you want 192.168.1.x addresses for your LAN).
After some searching, I discovered an Alix-based router that looks promising for a work project of mine. The Alix 6F2 board can be fitted with a Mini-PCI-Express 3G radio card rather than using an external USB device. Suppliers in Europe are http://shop.varia-store.com/product_info.php?info=p1204_UMTS---3G-Zeroshell-ready-system-with-ALIX-6F2-and-accessories.html (approx cost 319 Euros). Alternative supplier is http://www.msdist.co.uk (cheaper but requires assembly, and your own Mini-PCI-Express UMTS card). Varia's case looks nicer, as the SIM card and CF card are both externally accessible.
UPDATE: The Alix 6F2 boards work very nicely in no-NAT mode with pfSense 2.0 RC3 with my Andrews & Arnold data SIM cards. Annoyingly, the SIM card only works in the SIM card slot on the 3G radio card (inside the Vario case) rather than in the motherboard SIM card slot! Presumably there's a magic AT init string command that would tell the 3G radio to read the other SIM card slot, but I don't know what it is.
UPDATE 2: I've belatedly realised that the Novatel EU850D Mini-PCI-Express 3G card, shipped as part of the Varia Store's Alix 6F2 bundle, supports HSDPA but does not support HSUPA. This means you get nice fast downloads, but your upload speed is limited to 384 kbps at best. That's a shame since the Three network in the UK offers much faster uploads (up to 2 megabits I think).
Please post a comment if you know of:
- any other 3G routers than can work in NAT-Free mode?
- any Mini-PCI-Express 3G cards that have internal SIM card slots + external antenna connectors + HSUPA support.