Saturday, August 15, 2020

Optus Wireless Broadband

Huawei E5577
My Telstra wireless broadband has been working adequately during the months working from home due to COVID-19. But just in case this week I purchased an Optus branded 4G Wi-Fi Modem Huawei E5577. This was on special at Australia Post for $10, with a 4GB prepaid SIM (at Officeworks they are $99 with 50 GB). Similar units branded Telstra are also sold. The package had an expiry date which had passed, but the modem and SIM worked fine. 

Huawei E8372
The process of registering the SIM was straightforward and the device was working within a few minutes. The  Huawei E5577 includes a power button, small color screen and a battery, unlike the cheaper Huawei E8372. This makes the E5577 more suitable for use with a tablet computer you carry around. The modem could be left in a bag and communicate with the tablet by WiFi. However, it is less suitable for use with a laptop, as it can't be plugged directly into a USB socket (you need to use the short cable supplied), you have to turn it on and it does not work without a battery. The E8372 has a USB plug built in and simply starts up when power is applied.

The Google Internet speed test reported 18.4 Mbps download, 18.4 Mbps upload and Latency of 24 ms for Sydney which is more than I need. However, in Canberra it recorded only 0.53 Mbps download and 0.35 Mbps upload with 75 ms latency. This compared with 3.35 Mbps download, 0.78 Mbps upload and Latency of 45 ms for the Huawei E8372 using the Telstra mobile network. The Optus service was not enough for video conferencing in Canberra, even with the efficient Zoom product, whereas Telstra worked fine.

Overall I find the Huawei E5577 less suitable for my needs than the E8372, and the Optus service less useful than Telstra. The Optus service, as I experienced it, is not suitable for a student (or teacher) who needs Internet access.

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