Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem

Telstra's new portable Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem includes a colour touch screen and LTE-Advanced

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Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced
  • Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced
  • Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced
  • Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Fast 4G speeds
  • Excellent touch screen

Cons

  • Expensive
  • LTE Advanced in infancy

Bottom Line

Telstra's new portable Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem includes a colour touch screen and is one of the first hotspot devices globally to support an LTE-Advanced network. It offers excellent speeds provided you are in a 4G coverage zone, though it's certainly not cheap.

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Telstra's new portable Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem includes a colour touch screen and is one of the first hotspot devices globally to support an LTE-Advanced network. It offers excellent speeds provided you are in a 4G coverage zone, though it certainly doesn't come cheap.

Colour touch screen makes for ease of use

The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is a battery powered, portable modem manufactured by Netgear. It allows up to 15 Wi-Fi enabled devices to connect to it wirelessly for shared mobile Internet access through Telstra's 4G network. The modem uses dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity.

A Wi-Fi, portable modem like the 4G Advanced is one of the best ways to create a hotspot in your car to keep friends and family connected to the Web on long trips. Furthermore, it's also good way to stay online if you're a contractor and want an easy way to distribute an Internet connection to a laptop or tablet while on a worksite.

The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is a fairly simple device that's slightly larger than a full deck of cards in both height and width. It's constructed from soft feeling, metallic-look plastic, though a chrome strip runs around the edge of the modem in an attempt to add a touch of class. The corners of the device are smooth and round which makes it comfortable to hold, and we also like the four small plastic feet on the bottom, which prevents the modem from sliding around on a desk or table.

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The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced only has a single power button on the top. Two antenna sockets on the bottom allow users to boost reception in flaky coverage areas if needed, and a micro-USB port handles charging. If the battery is flat the modem can be connected to a computer via the included USB cable and used as a wired modem.

Interestingly, the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced uses a micro-SIM card instead of the traditional mini-SIM, which is concealed by a plastic flap on the bottom. There's also no microSD card slot, which is a feature that's traditionally common on these sorts of devices.

The best feature of the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced is a 2.4in colour touch screen, the first of its kind we've seen on a Wi-Fi modem in Australia. The screen allows users to manage advanced settings without the need to access the traditional Web interface. You can change the SSID name and network password, manage Wi-Fi profiles including a guest mode, and extend the default Wi-Fi range all on the modem itself.

The screen uses resistive, rather than capacitive touch technology, but we found it responsive to use and the interface is relatively snappy. The resistive technology also means you can use a fingertip or nail tip to make selections, something you can't do on a capacitive screen.

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The screen displays plenty of information at a glance including signal strength, the number of devices connected, a battery level indicator, and the SSID network name. It can display your network password so you don't have to remember it every time you want to connect a new device, though this can be hidden if you're concerned about security.

Telstra has also included a data use indicator in the middle of the screen, which shows how much data you've consumed on your plan, and how many days are left in the month before your plan rolls over. It's great to be able to see this information without the need to log into any seperate interface.

LTE Advanced

Telstra claims the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced portable Wi-Fi modem is one of the first hotspot devices globally to support an LTE-Advanced network. The LTE-Advanced network uses both 900MHz and 1800MHz 4G spectrum bands in Australia, effectively glueing two bands of spectrum together in a process called carrier aggregation.

However, while the Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem effectively supports LTE-A, Telstra hasn't activated it yet for consumer use. The network is currently being trialled in Queensland's Sunshine Coast and Telstra expects to begin rolling it out in 2014. So, for now at least, LTE Advanced is more of a future proof feature.

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The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem is marketed as a 4G device, but it uses both 3G and 4G technology. If you move out of an area with 4G coverage it falls back onto the company's regular Next G network, supporting HSPA+ dual channel speeds of 1.1 megabits per second (Mbps) to 20Mbps.

The Wi-Fi 4G Advanced promises "typical" download speeds ranging from 2Mbps to 50Mbps when in a 4G coverage zone. These are best case scenarios though, and the results we achieved were less, albeit still pretty impressive. Like all mobile broadband products, the speed of the modem will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion. Telstra's 4G coverage is currently pretty extensive but you obviously don't get 4G coverage everywhere.

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If you happen to be in a 4G coverage zone, however, you can expect impressive speeds. We managed to achieve a top download speed of over 40Mbps, though speeds generally hovered between 22Mbps and 31Mbps on most occasions. Upload speeds during testing peaked at around 15.8Mbps (higher than Telstra's quoted 10Mbps). Telstra's 4G network is pretty reliable and coverage is extensive: on a regular train trip from Sydney's western suburbs to North Sydney, we only experienced two small network blackspots.

In our tests, the Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced offered impressive battery life. We found it lasted around eight hours before needing to be recharged. This is two short of the 10 hours Telstra quotes on its specifications sheet but it's far more than most competing devices on the market. A nice touch is the included "jump boost cable", which plugs into the micro-USB port and allows users to fast charge a smartphone.

The Telstra Wi-Fi 4G Advanced modem is available in Australia now on a range of 24 month consumer and business plans. The modem is priced at $6 per month on a $50 Telstra Mobile Broadband plan over 24 months, with 8GB of data included per month.

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Noeline

1

I have had a faulty modem now the replacement is not connecting to PC have had nothing but trouble staff aren't sure what the issue is.wish I kept old modem
Noeline

David Cohen

2

I have found my older 4G USB telstra modem had better reception capabilities than the new 4G Advanced modem.

Dale

3

I'm the same as noeline nothing but trouble 3 days on the phone to BigPond and still very slow download speed wish I could have old modem back

Eldred

4

Through the encouragement of a Telstra Shop 'consultant' (in the flesh) who demonstrated the amazing capabilities of the device, I decided to abandon the original '24 month contract' that I had paid month to month for a decade or so and take on the new fangled Telstra 4G Wi-Fi with a brand new contract, perhaps through some misplaced loyalty to Telstra itself.

For a start, opening the box, hooking it up on USB to the PC and submitting to other Telstra 'BS', switched on. I checked out the line speed and download capability - not bad - about 3Meg and 200K down, twice what I'm used to. You beaut, after investigating the wi-fi hotspot possibilities with a smartphone and a lap-top, I went to bed satisfied.

The major deficiencies of this new device soon became evident on re-use.
For a start, 4G is not even in the offing where I live - 3G and worse rules - the promised speeds drifted back marginally to what I had before. The main interface for this modem is a website which replicates the functions on its small screen when connected. Because my major use is for the PC via usb , the rare dropouts which occurred with the old modem were manageable (switch it off and turn it back on) but with this one, the website is unobtainable, so there are no resets there and it becomes necessary to reboot the device and sometimes the computer which loses the usb connection - Not good enough. As I write this, the error messages state "Lost connection to Hotspot. Your Hotspot may be restarting or powered off " (even though the device is powered on and showing a connection) and 'USB device not recognised' which will require the above resets. This happens regularly.

Some futher technical disadvantages. Even though the device ( in options) can enable the connection, it lacks the ability to disconnect it. Sure, the website can do the job - the only other option is to shut it down with the 'off' button. In the pre-paid mode (as I've read on forums) it also apparently fails to keep track of total usage and days to go to run out of credit, to the frustration of users and Telstra's blank refusal of software upgrade.

The main gripe is that the email address asscociated with the old contract - a business one @bigpond, held since the first incarnation of Telstra usage will now cost the grand sum of $25 per year to maintain with the new contract - Wha?

In other words, I feel I'm being held hostage to this grey blob sitting here and mocking me because it's turned off and didn't do what I want and doesn't work the way it's supposed to for $/month and with an intermindable 2 years to come. Very disappointing.

For the moment , as I write this, I've abandoned the you-beaut Telstra 4G {advanced} yoo-hoo modem for my trusty Nokia n8 (as a modem) with the good graces of Nokia Suite to access the internet and post this.

Eldred

Nicolette Payne

5

Yes I too was talked into this u beaut new technology by a Telstra representative and disconnected my old modem. Worst thing Ive done. I was told by this person that the modem works in this area but did't say only sometimes. Changed it in November 2013 and have only had three weeks of internet coverage at best, have escalated the problem numerous times with technical support and after the third time I requested to have old modem reconnected. To date I am still have no internet access and remain arguing with Telstra to get a modem working. Time to contact the ombudsman. Not happy with a modem that does work and Telstra.

S Welsh

6

No difference to my old 3G Gateway Network Elite.

Tom Courtney

7

Bought 2 yesterday. One for use in the house and one for use in my office 100 metres away. The one in the house won't connect to a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th device 11 metres through a standard plaster wall. To connect 5 devices do you have to jam the 5 people into a bathroom? Not usable for multiple family members in private home.

Jon

8

I have had nothing but problems with this device & its been 3weeks now. it simply does not work! It will say 'connected' with a full 5 bars but wont load up sites, then it will work for 10 mins then disconnect itself. It constantly freezes in which I have to remove the battery in order to reset it. I have resorted to using my phone as a modem (tethered)which has no problems with connection at all?. I will be returning it to Telstra in the next few days. What a piece of junk! WORST PURCHASE OF 2014!

Evie

9

I'm having the same issues as most of above....not happy as I work from home and am beyond frustrated, this product should be recalled and the customers provided (free of charge) with a modem that WORKS!!!!

Michael

10

This modem it appears is extremely unreliable. I have had mine for a few days and now it has freezed and I cant get it working again even when I remove and replace the battery.
Back to the telstra shop tomorrow.

Eldred

11

Good to see I'm not alone in wrestling with this ornery device.
Ok, today for instance, I accepted an invitation to allow the update on the 4G "Advanced" from Telstra. Off it went half an hour and 250Megabitties, give or take, off my crummy allowance of 4Gig.

This was hooked up to the PC with my usual usb tether (wi-fi disabled), which, although it steps up to the miserable speeds of my old 'Next G' one, drops in and out, that so many web pages go "Waiting..waiting" until I either disconnect from the internet via the web page or throw the darn thing across the room - jus' jokin'

There are major deficiencies with this gadget when the brand new upgrade turns out to dissallow me to have both a usb and a wi-fi hub to my laptop it seems, so far.

There are also the minor annoying things like being unable to disconnect with the actual device other than turning it off or throwing the darn thing across the room - jus' jokin' agin...

But it's eminitely frustrating to have to deal with this when good money is paid to have a reliable internet connection and the failures aren't being resolved

Kelly McRae

12

Ditto to all above comments!! Wished we had found this site prior to our purchase. This modem has been and continues to be a complete headache, not to mention Telstra's highly inadequate technical support!!

tron2005

13

Oh great! Just read all these negative comments regarding this unit AFTER I have ordered one from Tel$tra. The last thing I need to read.

Adrian

14

Great honest comments by all.....Thank you. I have just changed my mind and won't be heading off to the telstra shop to pick one up. Sounds like a cheap handset could be the way to go. ...let the tethering begin.

Doug

15

Seems i'm the only one to see this thing really perform. I setup up one for a client of mine in Crestmead, just outside of Brisbane and was stunned at the speeds. The setup was flawless and after running a speedtest of 35Mbps down and 11Mbps Up, i was completely blown away. What really surprised me was that Crestmead is no where near a 4G area and yet we were getting these amazing speeds. I haven't heard back from the client so i assume it's still working fine.

Ann

16

What a heap of garbage this thing is!!!Bring back the old Elite Gateway !!!!

Mat

17

Bought the damn thing yesterday and straight away it wouldn't connect! Every time I try to connect it, it appears with an error message saying it cant connect. Called BigPond and was on the phone to them for 1.5 hours and they had no idea what the problem was. This is a waste of time and money buying one of these

many lulz

18

LTE Advanced won't be launched till end of 2014 - Guys, 'tehinternetz' or 'interwebs' are there for a reason - To do research, I do not need to go deep into the web to realise that Telstra is just making 'monopoly monies' from every1 - why is the CEO on $7million per annum yet - why am I wasting my time ?!

many lulz

19

(dec2013) This week saw Sydney's analog television signal switched off in preparation for the release of the 700MHz spectrum for use by the telcos for 4G networks in 2015.

Old Mate in QLD, doug, is not quite getting 100Mbps (NBN) but hey, if you really want fast 'internetz' why live in Aust? .. 20th ranked in World when Samsung is testing 5G hmm 'As'ians know a thing or2 'bout t3ch?!

The lower the spectrum (i.e 400MHz) the easier the frequency can travel between mountains etc (penetrate indoors) - I know as I research and did work tech with Wireless Airwaves provider. 1 USB data connection to a BTS equates to 100 voice calls! Telstra knows what they are referring to when they say 2 - 40Mbps as volume on the network will affect, so drop the ego as it ruins a man, hold onto the older WiFi Modem unless you live in QLD South lolz and wait till 2015 as stipulated in my earlier comment ><

Jason

20

It worked ok for a couple of weeks, then sometime after an upgrade which the device asked me to do, I cannot get a USB connection anymore. Have tried on two computers, with two different cables. Anyone else had this problem? Wireless still works ok but our main computer only has USB.

Clive

21

Same problems here.I'm hoping I can revert back to my Sierra 3g.

Matt

22

If you are contacting Telstra and they refuse to/claim not to be able to help then contact the telecommunications ombudsman. 1800 062 058. They have an online complaint form for those of you who have access elsewhere.

Paul

23

What do I do now??? My Sierra 3G/4G modem is now almost useless because Telstra is flogging off usage of their mobile towers to other carriers all over Oz. So my beaut modem now keeps switching to DC (Dual carrier) mode and loosing the connection to the Internet because I don't belong to the other carrier.....(I am travelling all the time and this has just started happening in all the towns I have been travelling through lately). You cannot stop the Sierra modem from switching to this DC frequency!
So Telstra tell me the only way to overcome this problem is to swap to this new Advanced modem which can handle the new DC signal....

So now do we have two totally useless wireless modems to choose from???

Clive Hill

24

Switched back to Sierra 3g,what a relief. Hard to believe there isn't a resolution to this problem.

Trotts

25

I am also having probs, on to my second device, but new one same problem, locks up when no devices are connected, and in sleep mode, will not "wake up" have to remove the battery and re-boot also slow, and many drop outs when connecting, but that may be a local Telstra cell problem!!!!

Dave

26

Bought one the other day, on the assurance it would greatly improve on my old Next G Turbo dongle. Guess what? Doesn't work. I'm on the edge of the 4G map, with download speeds on my HTC varying between 850 and 310 kB/s. When I switch to wi-fi the 'speed' drops to 9 (yes, that's nine) kB/s!
Bought an antenna, and it makes no difference whatever, despite the salesperson's assurances.
Taking it back to the store tomorrow.
Caveat Emptor

Joe

27

There are major deficiencies with this gadget when the brand new upgrade turns out to dissallow me to have both a usb and a wi-fi hub to my laptop it seems, so far.

There are also the minor annoying things like being unable to disconnect with the actual device other than turning it off or throwing the darn thing across the room - jus' jokin' agin...

But it's eminitely frustrating to have to deal with this when good money is paid to have a reliable internet connection and the failures aren't being resolved

alan roberts

28

similar problems as above,lap top connects as does tablet but can not for the life of me get the desktop to connect(2).as a complete illiterate on computers we just wanted something to connect the additional units.now we have lost our main unit,.oh how happy we would be to get back to where we were.we are in north east victoria.

Tricia

29

Alan Roberts couldn't get mine to connect to my PC but it would my tablet and laptop so rang my IT guy and he said to get a "USB WiFi adapter" (network card) that way my PC can connect to it.

Tricia

30

BTW my data usage seems though the roof - for no reason compared to my 4G USB modem - just spent an hour and a half on the phone with Telstra explaining everything 10 times with no resolution except to go on a higher plan - what a joke!!! And the first one was faulty and wouldn't recharge and had to put on a total tantrum in the Telstra shop to get it exchanged!!! I notified them the very next day and they said they would have to test it and for me to come back ( and hours drive0 after they tested it !!! DO NOT BUY!!! A PIECE OF GARBAGE!!

John H

31

There seems to be numerous problems with this device, my first device worked for two days, it kept turning off and rebooting when connected to the wall adapter with the battery removed.
Telstra said I needed to send it back to the manufacturer !!!!! I didn't have a contract with the manufacturer but according to Telstra I must send the device back to the manufacturer, no ifs or buts.
Two 9 days to get a replacement device, including a note to say that the device was faulty and here is your replacement device. Please keep reading I am nearly finished. The replacement device initially worked just on the wall socket without the battery, then the next day started to turn off and reboot, put the battery in and the device did not turn off or re-boot, removed the battery and the device turned off after a while and just kept re-booting. Called Telstra and spent over an hour on the phone trying to get the device to work without the battery in, to no avail, then Telstra suggested I should do an software upgrade which I did, after the upgrade the device became "un-discoverable" by the laptops and tablets that if was previously connected to by wifi. Another half hour call with Telstra lots of advice but no fix. Bottom line, the device is going back to the manufacturer but it appears that the Telstra Advance 4G is a lemon.

Patrick.

32

Wow thanks guys just come across this page, was about to upgrade to the new 4g but after reading all this about the new 4g it will be put on the back burner .
Once again guys thanks .

Pat.
Ps forgot to say I am a 4g wifi user. no problems with the old one.

Dianna

33

I haven't experienced any of these problems yet. My problem is that the wireless modem is churning through my gigabyte allowance. I apparently used up 4 gb in 2-3 hours of wireless use. When I used to connect my phone with a USB I would use 3 gb in a month and I'm not doing anything different except for the wireless part. Now I've used my allowance and am on go slow mode which makes a turtle look like a race horse. It takes 10 - 20 mins to open a webpage.

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