vividwireless 4G LTE Wireless Broadband Service Review

Introduction

I had long speculated vividwireless would drop its own WiMAX network and use its parent company’s 4G LTE network. But were waiting for the right time to switch over.

Surely enough, the switch over occurred soon after Optus (vividwireless’ parent company), started to offer wireless broadband services on its 4G LTE network.

Why the change of technology

Two simple reasons. First, the cost of 4G LTE equipment is at a level that WiMAX equipment is no longer looked upon as favorable as it did years ago. Secondly, why build and maintain two networks when a single network is sufficient.

Why choose vividwireless vs Optus

Much like on the mobile front, where Virgin Mobile is marketed as the low cost brand and Optus is the premium brand. The same principle applies here. vividwireless is marketed as the low cost brand, while Optus is the premium brand.

However, unlike food products where a brand makes no difference (so we’re told). The premium branded offerings are slightly better than the low cost brand – namely speed.

Also worth noting, at time of writing, Optus only offers a $80 package option.

Performance

Now to the money question. What is the performance like to switch over from WiMAX to 4G LTE…

Figure 1. ViViFi speedtest results.
Figure 2. 4G LTE Home Gateway speedtest results.

Pretty disappointing numbers right? Not a night and day difference as one had been told. But pay attention to the ping numbers in both graphs. I will describe their effects in the next section.

Experience

I have been telling people I know for years. Just looking at hard numbers mean jack. Sure – benchmark numbers give me a buzz. But reality is. Even if something does ridiculously well in a benchmark, if it cannot do the task it was designed to do well, it’s not great.

In this particular case, the important figure to look at is the ping time. Gamers will tell you, ping is significantly more important than the bandwidth of a connection. And rightfully so.

Even though the bandwidth capability is very similar, the responsiveness (the important aspect of anything), has significantly improved. What this translates to in this particular scenario (using made-up numbers) is: I used to wait 10-20 seconds for something to happen, now it happens almost instanteously.

Another significant improvement that is not shown in the graph is the upload speed. vividwireless ‘optimized’ their WiMAX network for download speeds, causing unbelievably slow upload speeds. So far, uploading is a pleasure using the Optus 4G LTE network.

Conclusion

I certainly welcome the switch from vividwireless’ crippled WiMAX network to Optus’ 4G LTE network. However, I cannot say for sure the service level will remain the same. As, I presume, I’m one of the early adopters/migrators to the new 4G LTE network.

My advice at the time of writing is to wait until December and see how the network holds up after vividwireless has forced all of its existing customer-base over to the Optus 4G LTE network.

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