By Stuart Corner
The pocket-sized device is simple to set up: if it has been bought over the counter on first usage the user is directed to a setup page where they can select and pay for a usage plan. If they have signed up for a contract (available only online from vividwireless) the device works pretty much out of the box on delivery. It can support up to five users over WiFi.
Vividwireless isn't keen to talk specifics about speed, although its web site boasts: "We are ranked the fastest consumer ISP in Perth, according to Speedtest.net," and a video shows a (simulated?) comparison. Elsewhere it claims to offer "seriously faster 4G wireless broadband."
However it does state: "Our network testing of the USB modem reveals an average download speed of 6.7Mbps, with typical download speeds between 5 and 8 Mbps within our coverage areas. The speeds experienced across the network are not only lightning fast - they are remarkably consistent day and night, when you expect more users on the network."
According to vividwireless the radio section of the ViViFi is identical to that of the USB modem. Both use MiMo on the downstream side with dual antennas and beamforming. Better performance is likely with the home gateway: it has higher antenna gain and uses MiMo on the upstream side.
Using speedtest.net we obtained about 7.9Mbps downstream and about 2.5Mbps upstream. However consistency is totally lacking when using speedtest.net: it is highly dependent on the server chosen. We got the best performance from an Optus server on the NSW Central Coast. For others upstream speeds exceeded downstream, 2.10/2.25Mbps was one result we got within minutes of the peak result, and no other server available would give more than 5Mbps downstream.
We noted similar discrepancies when we tested Telstra's new Ultimate HSDPA modem recently. However for speedtest.net results for our normal ADSL service were extremely consistent. Vividwireless was unable to offer any immediate explanation for this result. A spokesman said: "internally we don't use Speedtest. Our engineers don't trust it."
Vividwireless launched its WiMAX network in Perth in March 2010, having previously announced plans to build networks in five mainland capital cities, targeting inner-city and university communities, starting in the second half of 2010.
It said that coverage would be provided within five kilometres of major universities: Sydney University, the University of NSW and UTS University in Sydney; Melbourne University & RMIT; The Australian National University in Canberra, the University of Queensland in Brisbane and the University of Adelaide. A total coverage area was put at 471 square kilometres with a population of 1.25 million.
It now has networks operational in Melbourne and Sydney. The coverage map for Sydney shows near completed coverage south of the harbour: the CBD, west as far as Summer Hill, south to Botany Bay and east to the coast.
For Melbourne, coverage is roughly from the CBD, north to Brunswick, West to Flemington Racecourse, east to Fitzroy and south to St Kilda.
This article first appeared in ExchangeDaily, iTWire's daily newsletter for telecommunications professionals. Register here for your free trial.