Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yes4G Go USB Dongle: Initial Review & First Impressions

So the day is finally upon us where the veil of YTL's tight lipped secrecy is lifted on what they are calling the fastest 4G mobile broadband with voice. For the past few weeks now we have been teased by irrelevant Stormtroopers and a pretty website with not much info, but today as you would have read, the cat's out of the bag.

While many of those who were in attendance are wondering about real-world results, we managed to get our grubby paws on one of the 4G USB dongles, called the "Yes Go". The Go is a quarter of the product lineup announced by YTL, the others being a MiFi hotspot, A Mobile Phone by Samsung and a wireless router gateway, the latter 2 to be released in December.

As you may know, YTL has had some teething problems with their website right out of the gate, delaying many potential subscribers with inaccessible webpages and errors littering the sign-up process. As of the time that this article is being written, the website is back up, but we were still having trouble signing up for an account so we just went down to KL Sentral to register for an account there and then. The sign up process was pretty simple and all your need is your IC/Passport and RM50 for an activation fee and you're good to go.

Disclaimer: All tests run today will not be reflective of true performance of the network because it's still early days and the lines are not full up as yet.

Article continues after the jump
First impressions wise, the installation procedure on the Mac is pretty simple, with an installer popping up as soon as the device is plugged in. The smart thing is that once you install it, as long as the network connector is on your computer, the installer won't pop up anymore, unlike certain other USB Modems i've used.
At the network manager screen, you enter your user name and password from that Yes account you may have gotten (or not) earlier and once you detect signal near you, hit connect and you're there.

All the following tests are done at the Lowyat.Net HQ on the 13th floor of an office building. Out of the 6 signal bars, we could only get 1 or 2 tops. I didn't hold much hope for decent performance, but boy was I surprised.

As you can see from the Speedtests, we get an average of around 5.50Mbps down and 1Mbps up which is not too shabby at all, especially with 1 bar of signal. But speed is only half the equation, the other half being line quality.

For that we ran Pingtest and we got an average of a C rating for the line. The puzzling thing is that the tool detects that we are in BSB. I tried a Speedtest in KL Sentral and surprisingly it was the same. For a wireless connection, the results of the pingtest are not too bad, but certainly far from great. The quality of the line determines things like how fast your buffer, stream and conduct VoIP (which is one of the key features of Yes4G), and we're wondering how the calls would sound with such a connection.

In conclusion, there is no doubting the speed that Yes4G has to offer despite it being early days yet. The promise of 3-5x faster than 3G has been fulfilled but I can't help wonder what it will be like when more people adopt the service. For standard usage, youtube streams perfectly fine up to 1080p in some cases and 720p most of the time. The gripe I have is at such a high speed, I can't help feel that the prices are still on the high side as a fast connection turns you to a heavy user.

Anyhow, look out for the followup part 2 of the review where I bring Yes4G on a little road trip to see if it lives up to one of it's other promises.

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