Review: Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem

Review: Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem

Telstra's Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem includes a colour touch screen supports the LTE-Advanced network.

Telstra's Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem includes a colour touch screen supports the LTE-Advanced network.

The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is a battery powered, portable modem manufactured by Netgear.

It allows up to 15 Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to it wirelessly for shared mobile Internet access through Telstra's 4G network.

The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is a fairly simple device that's slightly larger than a full deck of cards in both height and width.

It's constructed from soft feeling, metallic-look plastic, though a chrome strip runs around the edge of the modem.

The corners of the device are smooth and round which makes it comfortable to hold, and the four small plastic feet on the bottom prevents the modem from sliding around on a desk or table.

The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced only has a single power button on the top. Two antenna sockets on the bottom allow users to boost reception in flaky coverage areas if needed.

A micro-USB port handles charging. If the battery is flat the modem can be connected to a computer via the included USB cable and used as a wired modem.

The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced uses a micro-SIM card instead of the traditional mini-SIM. There's no microSD card slot, which is a feature that's traditionally common on these sorts of devices.

The best feature of the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is a 2.4in colour touch screen. The screen allows users to manage advanced settings without the need to access the traditional Web interface.

You can change the SSID name and network password, manage Wi-Fi profiles including a guest mode, and extend the default Wi-Fi range all on the modem itself.

The screen uses resistive, rather than capacitive touch technology, but we found it responsive to use and the interface is relatively snappy.

Telstra has included a data use indicator in the middle of the screen, which shows how much data you've consumed on your plan, and how many days are left in the month before your plan rolls over.

The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is one of the first hotspot devices globally to support an LTE-Advanced network.

The LTE-Advanced network uses both 900MHz and 1800MHz 4G spectrum bands in Australia, effectively glueing two bands of spectrum together in a process called carrier aggregation.

Telstra hasn't activated LTE-A yet for consumer use. The network is currently being trialled in Queensland's Sunshine Coast and Telstra expects to begin rolling it out in 2014.

The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced promises "typical" download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 50Mbps when in a 4G coverage zone. These are best case scenarios though, and the results we achieved were less, albeit still pretty impressive.

Like all mobile broadband products, the speed of the modem will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion. Telstra's 4G coverage is extensive but you obviously don't get 4G coverage everywhere.

We managed to achieve a top download speed of over 40Mbps, though speeds generally hovered between 22Mbps and 31Mbps on most occasions. Upload speeds during testing peaked at around 15.8Mbps (higher than Telstra's quoted 10Mbps).

In our tests, the Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced offered impressive battery life. We found it lasted around eight hours before needing to be recharged.

A nice touch is the included "jump boost cable", which plugs into the micro-USB port and allows users to fast charge a smartphone.

The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem is available in Australia now on a range of 24 month consumer and business plans. The modem is priced at $6 per month on a $50 Telstra Mobile Broadband plan over 24 months, with 8GB of data included per month.

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