Thanks NpaMA I have done some more research on the special type of router you talked about. I believe this to be a 3g wireless router. The 2 models I have found are the Billion 6200NXL and the Netcomm 3GT1WN (both of which are available at computer parts land).
Having contacted Virgin re connection strength and mentioning the router, they said they didn't sell such products, would not assist in technical support for connecting and would only provide advice if I connected the usb modem dongle directly into my computer.
In the interim I have connected my usb dongle to a 4 in 1 usb adapter and am moving it about, so as to get the best signal, I have also changed the network to usmt only to stop it from continually seeking optus towers and connecting in and out (signal strength 0% to 24%).
I'm not sure if the 2 routers I have suggested have vpn and I am not sure about firewalls, but both support WPA2, which I will use.
I will try to get the settings from my current virgin mobile splash screen.
The other question I have is about which type of network to use. To reiterate my current setup: I have a desktop running windows xp (sp3) physically wired to a wireless router and a laptop running windows 7 home premium wirelessly connected. This has been set up, by a freind, as a "Home"network. So I am not sure if you can have 2 "home"networks or whether the new router setup and subsequent connection to my laptop should be a "public"network.
I also went back to a computer mag (not sure which) that had a whole section on"networking"and came away more confused than ever (as it kept going back and forth setting up router, setting up a network and connecting to the internet, without stating a particular order and confused between computers running xp, 7, or a combination of the two)
I have just found a guide to the netcomm router http://media.netcomm.com.au/public/assets/.../WSG-3GT1Wn.pdf
which looks quite good but in step 2 it states: Please ensure that your modem/router is connected to your computer using an
ethernet cable before continuing. I beleive there is something called a crossover cable to connect from the router to the computer. But i'm not sure if your supposed to connect the crossover cable to the wan port of the router and the other end to the ethernet port (I think also calledRJ45) and due you also connect the usb modem to the router right from the start and basically leave it there. I amreally grtting confused between different set up guides. In the guide above I'm not sure whether I am supposed to do both 3a and 3b or just 3a. I'm going to take a break and hopefully see it more clearly later.
ps, my connection dropped out when I tried to post this (luckily I had highlighted and copied most of my response.
Edited by Tad Bear, 07 October 2010 - 09:19 PM.