Vivid Wireless ViViFi Wi-Fi and Mobile Hotspot Review

Preface

This is the last follow-up post to Vivid Wireless – wireless broadband for the masses in Australia. As mentioned in the post, there are only two modem options; Home Gateway and this ViViFi Wi-Fi & mobile hotspot.

As with all my reviews, this a user review of the product, therefore I will not look at the technical specs, etc. of the device. If you’re looking for the technical specs, you can find them on the Vivid Wireless ViViFi product page.

Disclaimer: I am not an employee or in anyway associated with Vivid Wireless/Optus, I am just another customer of Vivid Wireless.

Introduction

After finding the Home Gateway didn’t fit my needs, I promptly returned it back to VividWireless in exchange for a ViViFi – a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.

Summary of my Experience

The ViViFi mobile hotspot is very small compared to the Home Gateway. But there’s a few trade-offs made in exchange for the smaller size and lack of connectivity ports isn’t the only thing.

Local wireless network connectivity took a massive hit. It wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t use 802.11n – but the general wireless speed was terrible when there were other networks around. Even with the wireless signal set to maximum and laptop being a matter of 1 or 2 meters from the hotspot, it struggled to fight through the signal waves emitted from more powerful stay-at-home routers/modems of my neighbours.

Even though the device is said to support up to 5 devices, and in the settings, you could increase this to 10. I found the hotspot is only good for internet access, it performs very poorly as a local wireless access point.

One more not-so-nice point I should mention in addition to the dated hardware, the software is also bit dated and I’ve found a few flaws with the software. They’re not show stoppers, there are work arounds, but just something to be mindful of.

Apart from the above minor inconveniences, the mobile hotspot delivered what it was designed to deliver – reliable access to the internet at decent speeds anywhere there is reception to the VividWireless network.

Note: Mobile network speed and reception is dependent on the network and not the device.

What I liked (PROs)

  • Small, portable
  • 4+ hour battery life
  • Plug’n’play (drivers built-in into device)
  • USB-tethering

What I disliked (CONs)

  • Flaky firmware – could not connect to device if Wi-Fi network ID was changed (work around is to limit connections via MAC address)
  • Local wireless network limited to 802.11 a/b/g
  • No 5GHz support
  • Poor local network performance

Conclusion

Although the ViViFi is nowhere near as nice as other newer 4G Wi-Fi mobile hotspot devices. It is the only option available for those looking for a cheap VividWireless mobile broadband plan.

A good side to limited options is, it helps with the decision-making process. Want mobile hotspot – get mobile hotspot. Want dedicated stay-at-home modem – get Home Gateway.

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