Saturday, 26 March 2016 18:01

Netgear’s Cat 11 wireless modem is ludicrously fast (review)

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Wireless broadband at potentially six times the highest cable broadband speed – tell them they’re not dreaming!

Netgear’s new AirCard 810S is a Cat 11, LTE-Advanced connectivity modem that is simply the fastest 4G wireless broadband modem on the market. In theory, it supports 600/50Mbps down/upload.

It is also known as Telstra Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III and is on a range of plans from A$37-120 per month for 1-15GB of data. It can be purchased for $299 unlocked, and you can then use pre-paid data on the Telstra network – check online.

Its fast because Telstra’s 4GX makes it so - but the catch is that is that only Telstra has it in selected capital city and regional areas. It currently offers improved download speeds using carrier band aggregation of 700+1800+2600MHz, a more solid connection, and it is ideal for video streaming.

I should add that this is a two-part story – the modem and a very interesting Smart Cradle. More on that later.

In a near Sydney CBD suburb where I get 4G x 4 bars the download speed was consistently well over 200Mbps and upload was over 30Mbps. Ping speeds were under 20ms.

In the Sydney CBD standing near Telstra I managed to get over 300Mbps and 35Mbps

In a 4G only area, it was over 100/10Mbps. It will also fall back to 3G if 4G/X is not available.

Compare this to the Samsung S6 Edge+ (Cat 6, 300/50Mbps) of about 100Mbps and upload of 2.9Mbps.

OK, it is fast but mobile data is expensive, so it won’t replace landlines anytime soon. I chewed up 5GB in a few hours. It is not the speed that causes more data use – it’s the wonderful ability to do so much more in less time.

The Aircard is also a Wi-Fi AC, Dual Band 2.4/5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO router (Hotspot) that will support up to 15 devices. Of course, each shares the bandwidth but then again so does a landline Wi-Fi router. It has an 11-hour, removable battery and comes with a micro-USB charger.

I really like the 2.4” LCD capacitive, colour touch screen that displays signal strength, battery use, devices attached and data remaining. You can change all major settings from here or log in via a web page. There are management apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone.

The device also has two TS-9 socket connectors for external 50-ohm antenna as well as to dock with the cradle.

The DC112A AirCard Smart Cradle may be just what business and rural users need.

It docks with the modem and uses its own 3/4G antennas to extend coverage in low signal areas. It can also be connected to an additional two external 50-ohm antenna – there are a variety of these to boost the signal enormously. Netgear says that as long as you have one bar (3 or 4G) then you will get a significant improvement with external antenna.

It also has two external high-gain Wi-Fi antenna, Beamforming and supports up to 20 devices.

The dock also has one USB 3.0 port, four Ethernet Gigabit LAN ports, and one Ethernet Gigabit WAN port (to use as a router or access point or fall over device). It is DLNA certified – will act as a media steamer. Price: under $300.

Comment

Damned fast and a really easy way to boost wireless signals and speeds. A no-brainer really if speed is your need.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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