4G connectivity is beginning to gain traction in Malaysia. While some quarters debate the true definition of “4G”, none can argue that specified speeds of 3-10 times of current 3G speeds is still much welcomed. We’re lucky to have been given a chance to get up close and personal with the 4G experience. The quirky, fun 4G telco – Packet One Networks or fondly known as “P1″ – were nice enough to provide us with a review unit recently to give us a taste on how fast and convenient 4G network connectivity is.
The Modem: Pocket-sized Power
The P1 MX230 Portable and Pocket-size 4G MiFi Modem can connect up to 8 devices at a time, connecting to the P1 4G network. I’ve tried my collection of devices – from my Android smartphone, iPod, laptop to my trusty Nokia N8 (okay, it’s old, I know) to do my blog updates, work and social surfing. The modem is not hard to set up at all and I’ve been running around events with it under the Wi-Fi name “Vernonchan.com” (there, now you know).
The colour to indicate the signal strength for the 4G connectivity is easy to decipher. Green for best, yellow/amber for average and red for poor. Connecting to the device is as fast as counting “1,2,3” assuming you get the password right.
Security on this modem is similar to any WiFi device with support for WPA/WPA2/WEP encryption. Set a strong password (not “0123456789” please) unless you want your neighbour to leech on your super fast 4G connection.
The modem is small and lightweight. It fits easily into my shirt pocket or pants. Surprisingly it produces very little heat when in use, so no cooked innards over long periods of use, if you know what I mean.
I get a decent 4-5 hours of battery life with continuous usage on a full charge. The standby time for this device is pretty good as well. On a full charge, I can even turn it on the third day.
The modem uses a standard micro-USB cable to charge, connected to a standard USB port on a laptop or PC. It’s not much of a hassle to charge sans a laptop/PC either, as my external battery banks are able to charge the device when I’m on the go.
P1’s 4G network is adequately fast. I manage to get 3-5Mbps on a full green bar status. Even with yellow to red bar status, I could get around 2-3Mbps of smooth and stable connection. It managed to hit 8Mbps once at the center of Kuala Lumpur city (around Bukit Bintang area) which was nice surprise.
The speed provided by the P1 4G modem is great for my work as a writer – uploading photos, writing and posting articles, streaming videos and occasionally playing some games online through my games via Steam with my buddies. Thanks to good ping times, there isn’t much lag while online gaming. I have a nightmare previously using 3G even to login to various online games.
I managed to test the P1 MX230 modem only around Kuala Lumpur and part of Petaling Jaya most of the time but there are issues. Signal strength (red bar status) was poor in certain areas in Petaling Jaya and outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. Not unlike other wireless technologies, signal is sometimes not available in big buildings like shopping complexes and covered car parks.
It’s kind of tricky, this thing called ‘signal’. Chief Editor, Vernon, has had better, more consistent luck with P1 4G connectivity, strangely.
On the contrary, I’ve always had problems with 3G signal at my place – Midfields Condominium near Taman Sungai Besi. The P1 MX230 modem, however, performs great there compared to 3G connectivity on my Android phone.
So, as long you’re in the open or near a window, you should get at least a red bar or yellow bar signal which will give you some decent speed. I even tested connectivity on the highway back to Ipoh and manage to get some connectivity.
While I’m still quite on the fence on this, the P1 MX230 modem with the 4G connectivity, in my opinion, is a convenient tool for my work and entertainment especially when I’m always out and about. The only qualm is when fully indoors, it is sometimes hard to get a decent signal. If you’ve many gadgets that need to be connected to the net constantly, this would be a good gadget.
4G connectivity paves the way to better and more stable speeds for the people who demand faster, better and smoother connectivity. And for mobile writers like me, the P1 MX230 modem can be quite a life saver!
You can find more about the P1 MX230 modem and 4G connectivity at: P1 MX230 MiFi Modem