The growing number of options we now have to access the Internet – fast – is some sort of “a dream [gradually] come true”.
By fast, I mean broadband, with speed exceeding the 56 Kbps we used to endure with our V90 modems and a fixed telephone-based connection.
As you should know by now, WiMAX will soon be available in more places in Indonesia. According to Berca, one of the companies with WiMAX licenses in Indonesia, WiGO service will soon be launched in Medan and Balikpapan next month, followed by Batam and other cities in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Bali and Nusa Tenggara.
In fact Sitra Wimax, a subsidiary of First Media, has already launched its WiMAX service in Karawaci, Tangerang, and plans to cover the greater Jakarta area in a couple of years. This provider also has other zones in Indonesia to work on, i.e., the northern part of Sumatra and Banten.
In my last article, I took a look at Aha from Bakrie Connectivity, which I found quite useful. The advantage of mobile broadband services, whether using wireless technologies such as 1xEV-DO, 3G UMTS, HSDPA and — in a few years time — the LTE, is that these services allow us, in theory, to move from one place to another without our connection being disrupted. It is just like talking on your cellphone. Of course, in reality we still get disconnected as the network hands us over from one network cell to another.
While the choice of access methods is widening, the number of devices we can use has also increased.
The first-generation USB modem device used to look like a conventional stick drive. Today, it has become stylish and more importantly, it has more functionality and performs better than its predecessors.
Last month, I spoke with Rahmad Widjaja Sakti, PT MLW Telecom’s product and marketing director. His company makes and sells a broad range of products under the brand SpeedUp, including Mobile Broadband Gateway, USB modem sticks, mobile routers and even netbooks bundled with operator services.
If you have been following the news on Telkomsel, you will know the operator has been working closely with MLW in marketing the SpeedUp products. These products are labeled Telkomsel Flash and Telkomsel Xircle Edition. However, the products are also available at sale outlets of other operators including Indosat, XL and Telkom Flexi. Yes, SpeedUp is also available for the CDMA side.
Too bad I have not had the chance to really test drive the capability of any of MLW’s products, although I have been loaned their “My Wi-Fi” MW100. The reason is Telkomsel’s GSM signal into my study is unfortunately not strong enough. I need to go out to get the real experience, which is on my schedule.
The download speed of the 3.5G HSDPA can reach up to 7.2 Mbps, while with the EV-DO it is 3.1 Mbps.
Interestingly, all SpeedUp HSDPA products use the chips made by Qualcomm. But it is the innovations that are most interesting. The MW100, for example, is not only a USB modem, it is also a router and Wi-Fi access point. I will tell you more about it after my test drive.
MLW Telecom also offers a sleek mobile phone under the brand Growell. The specific model is Growell P300. “Growell actually means ‘grow well’, and it belongs to us,” explained Rahmad. I remember the name quite well, as in the old days, when I was still thinking of buying my own USB modem, a good friend of mine recommended Growell. It was actually the modem used by Mobile-8’s Fren Internet service.
MLW has been aggressively marketing its products, which range from Rp 300,000 to Rp 1,500,000.
Two important considerations to take into account with devices like the USB modem is the ease of use and compatibility with the operating system used by the host PC, notebook or netbook. MLW knows this quite well and ensures product compatibility with popular operating systems.