Home > Computers and Internet > USB-based Broadband Wireless Service Providers — My Experience

USB-based Broadband Wireless Service Providers — My Experience

The other day my cousin asked me about my experience with using the three major USB-based broadband wireless service providers in the country.  Below is a table of comparison of all the broadband services I have personally tried. 

My final recommendation to her: If you already have an existing wired broadband service that works for you, then you can actually stick with it.  It is still good, though, to have some wireless options available as back-up in case the primary wired connection goes down.  If you want to invest in a wireless solution as a back-up, get the prepaid subscription.  You will only need to use this in the event that your primary wired DSL connection does not work and you need to get online.  This is not a high-priority so you don’t need to immediately do this; nevertheless it’s still a good investment in my opinion. 
All things being equal, the choice of what service provider to get will be dependent on what gives you the best connection signal.  From my experience, the Globe Tattoo solution is not good in my area (I live near Eastwood City) because I’m getting just a weak HSDPA (3G) signal.  The Sun Broadband Wireless and SmartBro solutions are good because I get strong HSDPA signals.

 

Discussion Point
Globe Tattoo
Sun Broadband Wireless
SmartBro
Packaging
Plan
Prepaid
Prepaid
Prepaid
Initial cost
P 895.00
 
On promo; please check if still on going. Regular price is P 1,895.00.
 
P 1,895.00
P 995.00
Monthly Cost
Not applicable, you load when you need to use it.
Not applicable, you load when you need to use it.
Not applicable, you load when you need to use it.
Rates
P 5 / 15 minutes
 
Check Globe website for specific rules governing rates.
P 10 / 30 minutes
 
Check Sun Broadband Wireless website for specific rules governing rates.
 
P 10 / 30 minutes
 
Check SmartBro website for specific rules governing rates.
Extras
15 hours free (unknown expiry date)
 
CDs with freeware and trial software installers.
 
5 hours free (unknown expiry date)
 
5 hours free (unknown expiry date)
 
Modem hardware comments
Huawei
 
Lock-in to provider; cannot use other ISPs.
Huawei and ZTE; get the ZTE model
 
Lock-in to provider; cannot use other ISPs.
 
Huawei
 
Lock-in to provider; cannot use other ISPs.
Modem software comments
Huawei software.
 
Has option to send and receive text messages; can use for in-modem load reloading.
Huawei software with the Huawei hardware; generic USB modem software with the ZTE model.
 
For both software, has option to send and receive text messages; can use for in-modem load reloading.
 
For the generic USB modem software, has option of making voice calls.
 
For the generic USB modem software, requires additional but minor configuration unfortunately not documented in manual.
 
Huawei software
 
Has option to send and receive text messages; can use for in-modem load reloading.
SIM card options
Can also be used for voice and text purposes.  In other words, you can put the SIM in a regular cell phone and use it as if it’s a SIM cell phone.
 
Good as a back-up SIM in case regular SIM not working.
 
Can also be used for voice and text purposes.  In other words, you can put the SIM in a regular cell phone and use it as if it’s a SIM cell phone.
 
Good as a back-up SIM in case regular SIM not working.
Data and text-only purposes. 
 
Cannot be used as a back-up SIM to make voice calls.
Performance
Average HSPDA / WCDMA signal strength
1 – 2 bars out of 5 bars; poor.
 
3 – 4 bars out of 5 bars; very good.
 
3 – 4 bars out of 5 bars; very good. 
 
Consistency of connection
Usually consistent and available under non-calamity conditions, but can occasionally be erratic.
 
Out of order during calamities.
 
Performance (i.e. download speed) is dependent on signal strength.
 
Usually consistent and available under non-calamity conditions, but can occasionally be erratic.
 
Out of order during calamities.
Not fully tested.  Theoretically should be consistent and available under non-calamity and calamity conditions.
 
Theoretically still available during calamities.
Coverage
Theoretically, nationwide.
 
Actual coverage in some areas can be poor.
Within Metro Manila – very good.
 
Outside Metro Manila – horrible to non-existent.
Theoretically, nationwide – and consistently good everywhere due to wide reach of network.
 
Max download speed
2 Mbps
 
2 Mbps
2 Mbps
Actual download speed measured by Speedtest.net
0.02 Mbps
 
This value comes from other people’s tests, as I have not been able to test it myself.
 
 
1.69 Mbps
 
Because of network latency we expect to never really reach the maximum limit.  If we can get at least 70% of the maximum then we have a good connection.  This gives me 84.5% of maximum limit.
 
1.62 Mbps
 
Because of network latency we expect to never really reach the maximum limit.  If we can get at least 70% of the maximum then we have a good connection.  This gives me 81.0% of maximum limit.
Not tested.
D
 
Although Pingtest.net rating is bad, usually performance is as good as a grade B rating.
 
Not tested
Possible applications
Voice over IP (VOIP) not tested.
 
Unable to consistently load Rich Internet Applications (RIA) such as Café World or Pet Society on Facebook.
Voice over IP (VOIP) not tested.
 
Usually able to load Rich Internet Applications (RIA) such as Café World or Pet Society on Facebook, however there were some instances when this failed.
Voice over IP (VOIP) not tested.
 
Not fully tested.  Theoretically, should be usually able to load Rich Internet Applications (RIA) such as Café World or Pet Society on Facebook, however there were some instances when this failed.
 
Other Comments
Recommendations
From experience, not a good choice.
 
Out of frustration, sold unit to someone who has a strong HSDPA signal in their area.
 
Good to use as back-up network in case wired primary network not available.
 
Good to use as back-up network in case wired primary network not available.

 

 
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