BY ADRIAN CH’NG
With the rapid expansion of Internet access amid Labor’s National Broadband Network scheme, we thought we’d take a look at Perth’s current options.
Other than the standard ADSL2+ broadband, 4G is quickly becoming a tough competitor in the cyber highway race.
What’s the difference?
ADSL2+ is the industry standard right now and although speeds are passable in most metropolitan suburbs, wouldn’t it be nice to get the Internet outside of your house? Well, that’s where 4G flaunts access virtually anywhere in Perth. Where you go, it follows.
For more insight into this growing network, we talked to up-and-coming 4G distributor, Vividwireless.
“4G USB modems just plug into your laptop so you can access the Internet from wherever you are without having to worry about WiFi spots,” Debbie says.
4G’s motto is basically “as quick as you are” with instant access whenever and from wherever you are. Messy installation processes are also a thing of the past, even at home.
“Simply plug in our Vividwireless Home Gateway device and you’re all set.”
No phone lines to worry about, just one cable that shoots straight into your power point and the wireless coverage does just about everything from there.
But before diving into anything with a restraining contract, let’s look at some other key factors.
Okay, so we know that other than for the very lucky few practically living inside network towers, the rest of us get far from extraordinary speeds (even in metropolitan suburbs).
So before fibre optics kick in in who-knows-when, we’re forced to endure ADSL2+ capabilities.
As 4G coverage expands, so do the stability of the speeds which, as can be seen on a video on their website, hover around an impressive 10 megabyte mark.
As Debbie states, “I think it’d be pretty safe to say that our speeds are faster than what most Perth residents get from their regular ADSL2+ providers who boast speeds of up to 20 megabytes per second but, realistically, most only get around 5.”
It’s also important to note that more rural areas are more likely to experience speeds of around 4-5 megabytes by comparison because of less distribution of network towers – Vividwireless is still quite small, remember.
The price-to-speed/quota ratio for Internet access can differ astronomically in a place like Perth, so it’s fundamental that you assess your options depending on where you live.
Unlike most ISPs, Vividwireless has an “unlimited” quota plan for their customers.
“Surprisingly we’re also a lot cheaper than what is out there at the moment. You can get an unlimited quota for just 79 dollars a month, so it’s great value too.”
By comparison, you might get about around 50 gigabytes (on and off peak) with ADSL2+ ISPs.
Here’s where you’d expect the real issue to be with 4G Internet – after all, it is completely wireless.
When I asked Debbie about this, she responded: “Generally our customers won’t experience those problems unless they are in less centralised residential areas where towers aren’t so abundant.”
Simply the same deal as the network speeds – if you’re closer to the city, you’re more likely to get better speeds and connectivity.
Environmental factors and interference are occasionally also a reported problem with 4G Internet, although this is typically where the signal is weak.
When comparing it with ADSL2+ and all the mechanical maintenance, there’s hardly an argument.
If you’re currently in a metropolitan suburb and paying way too much for way too little, then 4G Internet is a very valid option.
Even if you’re a more distant resident, it might be worthwhile and if it’s just as bad as the ADSL you get over there, Vividwireless has a 14 day full refund policy so it’s at least worth a shot.