EXCLUSIVE REVIEW: The Worlds Fastest Wireless Modem

Written by David Richards     04/03/2009 | 04:30 | Category name i.e.WIRELESS & NETWORKING

Australians love to boast about cricket, rugby and their occasional soccer success now they can boast about the launch of a stunningly fast 3G wireless modem that in real life delivers a blisteringly quick service over Telstra's Next G Network making it the fastest wireless modem in the world.

Announced at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona last month SmartHouse is one of the first to bench test this device and we are impressed.

Set to be rolled out by Telstra this month the new Turbo 21 modem was actually faster that my home BigPond service which raises the question as to whether notebook users would actually need a home service if they own one of these broadband beasts.

At the recent CES show in Las Vegas I tested two of the fastest wireless modems offered by US carriers and with both modems I felt that I was back in the old days of dial up. They were painstakingly slow and delivered a very intermittent service even at LA and Las Vegas airport where the wireless coverage was suppose to be good. It also made me realise that what Australia has in the form of wireless coverage is excellent. 

The Sierra Wireless modem which is being marketed as the Turbo 21 modem comes in a new style box complete with software, signal booster antenna extension lead for the antenna along with a storage bag and neck strap for the modem.
The software was easy to load however the Sierra driver took a while to install.

Without the extension antenna the speed was a tad slower however with the antenna which I used in the middle of North Sydney the device was very fast and I was easily able to download a 3MB file in 10.43 seconds. Tests of a 15MB file proved faster.

Mirror: aaNet
Data: 3 MB
Test Time: 10.43 secs

Considering that this device is primarily designed for a notebook the speeds are excellent and ideal for road warriors or users who are toggling between using a notebook for at home and for work.

And with Telstra now talking of 100Mbs from a Next G Wireless modem next year one has to seriously ask oneself whether it's time to give the home broadband the boot and instead use a notebook with a NextG modem.

Already more than 50% of the market is using a notebook and a big proportion of this market is moving to wireless modems. They are also investing in 32 or smaller HD TV's which are being as attach devices to notebooks in a home study. This allows users to run DVD's from their notebook while also downloading music content.

The new model that we tested was developed with technology partners Ericsson, Qualcomm and Sierra Wireless and is designed to run on Telstra's HSPA+ equipped Next G network which with this modem attached without doubt makes it the fastest wireless network in the world which for both Optus and Vodafone is a hard gig to compete against.

The new Turbo 21 modem will cost $299 up front and a monthly fee of around $59 on a 1GB data plan. It can also be purchased outright for $399 on a 12 month plan.

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Pros & Cons

Pros:

This device actually delivers on what Telstra is claiming. It is the fastest wireless modem in the world and the difference is noticable. For hardcore notebook users this device is well worth the investment but you do have to take a deep breadth and say OK to the sticker price.

Cons:

Like everything in life quality comes at a price and while this wireless modem delivers it is going to cost you the price of a notebook to run it.