Review: Telstra Ultimate Mobile Wi-Fi

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Here we have the Telstra Ultimate Mobile Wi-Fi hotspot – the world’s fastest 3G hotspot available and it sure shows it. With HSPA+ and 802.11n, the hotspot allows speeds of up to 20Mbps in Telstra 3G Dual Connection areas. Announced at the middle of last year, TECHGEEK.com.au has got it’s hands on a review and gave it a test. Check out our findings after the break.

  • Score:

    8.5 / 10

  • The Good:

    Great design, super fast speeds

  • The Bad:

    Could have better battery life, DC not available everywhere

  • Bottom Line:

    Really fast internet when you’re out of the office

Hardware

The hotspot is actually quite small in size (96 x 57 x 16.5 mm) and only weights 100 grams. The small form factor of the hotspot allows you to store it in your bag, pocket or really anywhere. The device features a smooth black plastic casing with a button and a switch at the top of the device, which allows you to mute the device as it can beep when a user connects/disconnects. On the bottom, you’ll find a Micro USB connector used for charging the device and two external antenna connectors. On the front, you’ll find an LCD screen and when turn on, it will show signal strength, the number of users connected, battery left and the amount of data downloaded. The SIM card slot is at the rear of the device behind the battery so if you wanted to change the SIM card, you’ll have to power off the device.

Featuring 802.11 b/g/n almost any Wi-Fi enabled device can connect to the hotspot. Your laptop, Xbox 360 console, PlayStation, you name it! You can only have up to 5 users connected to the device at any one time and the coverage was around 45 meters. So you could easily have the device stored in your bag and have a laptop or phone connected to it. You could possibly situate the device in the middle of your house and the Wi-Fi signal would reach (most houses). I would of loved to see a bigger connection limit but it may be a hardware thing at this time, although, 5 users should be enough!

The battery life is said to be 3.5 hours under continuous use. We actually found it to last 4 hours with continuous use or around 6 to 7 hours of sporadic use during the day. It has a standby battery life of around 100 hours, which we experienced (could be a little lower if you use it during the day).

Software / Setup

The hotspot actually doesn’t come with any software you install on your computer. Since you just hook the device up by Wi-Fi there isn’t any need for configuration – it just works. However, if you’re one of those people who likes to tinker with settings or change the configuration of the device, a web based manager is available by going to http://ultimate.telstra in your web browser (see left). It allows you to configure almost anything with the device as well as send/receive SMS messages and change the SSID and password of the device.

Performance

The advertised speed for this modem is anywhere from 550kbps to 20Mbps. You should observe 1.1Mbps to 20Mbps in Ultimate coverage areas and 550kbps to 8Mbps in Elite coverage areas (just about everywhere else). I did a number of speed tests within the Sydney CBD at an average, I received 10.18Mb/s and it peaked at 15.65Mb/s.

I also performed a speed test in the Wollongong CBD which received 8.9Mb/s which is a really impressive result.

In real world terms, you’ll be able to browse websites very quickly and download very quickly. It will take under 5 seconds to download a 3mb file and just under 25 seconds to download a 35mb file. Which is most likely faster than your home internet connection (well, it’s faster than mine)

Closing Thoughts

Targeted at business users, the Telstra Ultimate Mobile Wi-Fi will be able to tackle anything you throw at it. It will allow you to connect to your businesses portal or quickly download important PDF files for a meeting across the City. Home users who don’t want (or can’t get) an ADSL service would also benefit from this service. I loved reviewing this as it shows how solid the Telstra NextG network is and how their network is miles ahead other competing networks.

Join the Conversation

  • Leo

    Your statement that this device can send SMS is as far as I can tell not true. Found out the hard way by leaving my mobile at home.

    According the the UI (as well as the user guide) you can receive SMS, but not send from the device.