Serious talk about mobile internet

    As part of the creation of a new project on mobile communications, we decided to purchase equipment available on the current market from various operators in order to have a direct idea of ​​what was owned and how.



    The first article is for informational purposes only, in which I will briefly talk about 7 devices for working in 3G and 4G networks.

    I’ll immediately get rid of bad thoughts - all this is exclusively a voluntary beginning, with a tiny budget, but with a “fuse” in the form of a certain amount of enthusiasm and desire to sort it out. Absolutely no agreements with operators - all in order to create one small resource on the network, on which, without unnecessarily technical density, one could dispel the fog of ignorance about the mobile Internet created by current networks, communication standards, various devices and other operators' tricks. Well, just keep abreast of developments on this topic.
    There are more and more operators and each of them considers it his duty to offer something of their own, “new”. New services, tariffs, brands, protocols, communication standards, devices and everything else. The result is a huge amount of informational noise, a lot of announcements and incomprehensible new words - everything would be fine, but many often don’t even understand what it is about. Okay, there the terms “trigi” and “fourji” can still be somehow vaguely imagined, but a little deeper and you understand ... that you don’t understand anything.

    To begin our “research” activities on the issue of mobile Internet, 7 different modems were purchased (not counting two more that were already available - about them another time). Now they are all in working condition - they still have a lot of work to do. But if someone suddenly wants to help us - always feel free to .

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    By the way, yes, two charming ladies will help to understand mobile troubles - “ Tridzhi ” and “ Chetyreggi ”, with whom we will meet a little later.
    Now let's get started. For some reason, I decided to start with modems from mobile operators. At the moment, the "big three" have several devices, between which, by the way, have a lot in common. For example, problems :) But first things first.

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    1. MTS


    Black oblong matte plastic modem - with red LEDs, company logo and with a removable cover. There is no swivel mechanism for the USB connector, so the modem will always stick out in a horizontal plane. In general, this is not the operator’s own development - the modem (E1550) is made quite famous in the world of communications by Huawei .


    Complete with a modem is a SIM card, user manual and a whole bunch of information waste paper from the operator.



    When connected to a laptop, the modem is mounted as an external drive and software installation begins with it. All this takes no more than a minute, as a result of which a clumsy icon of the corporate "oval" appears on the desktop.



    The interface itself is rather dull - impractical red, a window that does not fit into the resolution of the netbook, in which the free space is misused.



    But he became the only 3G-modem (looking ahead), which earned immediately and almost with no problems.



    Moreover, the first connection was far from Moscow (almost in Volgograd) - the signal reception quality was very good, which, apparently, was the reason for the almost instantaneous loss of balance at -300r (on the Moscow SIM card).



    It was also surprising that SMS spam began to go to a completely new SIM card in half an hour:



    The speed was very low - about 250 kbit / s, but in Moscow it was becoming more optimistic - up to 3 Mbit / s.



    2. Megaphone



    An absolutely identical modem, only already white and with green LEDs, as well as with a cord for mounting (all this in an irrationally large box made of cheap cardboard).



    And, of course, the differences in software - this time all in branded green tones. There are slight differences in the interface - for example, there is the possibility of checking the balance. But least of all, by pressing this button I expected a proposal to enter the USSD code manually :)



    Unfortunately, right after the connection, the modem appears in the system, but the program shell does not see it.



    After some manipulations, the modem began to appear in the settings, but I didn’t want to catch the network in any way - despite the fact that I could almost reach out of the window with my hand from the window.



    Perhaps this problem arose due to the installation of a similar (after MTS) device and a software conflict occurred - at least this version is the most popular on the forums. However, even connecting the modem to a “clean” computer did not help, not to mention futile attempts to resolve the issue by removing / rearranging software and cleaning the registry.
    What is even more surprising - periodically launching the Megaphone program, the MTS program was launched and vice versa. Such is the mutual friendship of red and green.
    Nevertheless, the company managed to get another modem, as a result of which it stably demonstrated a speed of up to 3.3 Mbps. Both modems are compatible with the MacOS operating system, however, as in the case of Windows, the software conflicts with each other. But you can work.

    3. Beeline




    It’s nice to write about this device, if only because it differs from the previous two, and, in my opinion, for the better. Smaller sizes, glossy white plastic of good enough quality - all this on a rather inconvenient swivel USB-plug. It is inconvenient only because it entered the USB port very tightly, which is why during installation it involuntarily turned - you need to insert it very carefully. Another of the functional elements is a status LED and a SIM card installed under a removable cover. You can install an external antenna:



    In the system, the modem is mounted as a CD-drive with the name ZTE MF170. The manufacturer of the modem is the company ZTE, known in our market primarily for ADSL modems, which are actively installed by STREAM.



    The second pleasant moment was the software. The first two shells examined do not go to any comparison - here you can see that the designer worked. Pleasant colors, calm design, large clear buttons - all this easily fits on the screen of a netbook. Although, just in case, there is a version of the “Light” interface in which there is absolutely nothing superfluous - the most MOT for moms / dads and connoisseurs of minimalism.



    But this ended the positive mood. There was a clear color instruction in the kit, in which it is written in black and white that to start work you need to activate the “starting amount”, for which you only need to press one button.



    The problem was that nothing happened after clicking ... although no, an error-free error with code 57 crashed out - “Invalid code or used card code . " Check the balance also failed - " Service is unavailable, error code: 4 ". Due to circumstances, it was not possible to call the operator to clarify the circumstances, so I had to stop testing - no reinstallation of the program and dancing with a tambourine did not help.





    Later it turned out that this was far from the only case that was already written about and even shot videos. Moreover, telephone operators will not help in any way - they called me to the office all the time, supposedly to replace the card (while maintaining the number and balance).



    So, apparently, there is a large batch of defective kits that are sold throughout Moscow (repeated cases in Svyaznoy and even in ION-e).
    All arising problems were resolved in the Beeline service office by replacing the SIM card. The modem also works fine under Mac OS, and perhaps this modem provided the most comfortable work of all 3G modems. As for the speed, the maximum that we managed to squeeze out of it in the center of Moscow is 2.5 Mbit.
    Except for the potential troubles (it’s really lucky) at the very beginning of the work, the Beeline modem left quite good impressions.

    4. Yota


    In the case of this operator, I want to consider three 4G devices (maybe the term 4G is somewhat inappropriate, but for now we will not go into these details, let it be so), presented on the Russian market - this is the “pioneer modem” Samsung SWC-U200 , the relatively recently released Yota Jingle USB modem and the Yota Egg wireless Wi-Fi router . I would also like to note the quality of all devices - they are pleasant to hold in your hands, they are ergonomic, controlled by a pleasant-looking and minimalistic software.





    Samsung SWC-U200there are several colors - white, red and silver. Dimensions - 70x14x27 (mm) with a weight of 25g. One end is made in the form of an indicator, on the other behind a retractable plug is a swivel USB-plug. When installed in the system, a small application is immediately installed, after which you can start working.
    Yota Jingle WU217 is made in white - it has no turning mechanism, but otherwise, there are practically no differences from the first model. Unless inside there are 2 antennas for reception and transmission (2x2 MIMO). Dimensions and weight - 80x26x9mm, 16g.



    For example, modems from operators, the software interface is minimalistic and very pleasant - anyone can really cope with it. And what’s even more pleasant (moreover, it was surprising) - even if you insert both modems at the same time, the program shells will work independently - with this approach it was much easier to drive a car to compare the signal reception quality.



    And strangely enough, he practically did not differ - where Iota does not have official coverage (for example, in my city Dzerzhinsky), in some places a weak signal was barely caught, for one “stick”. And in the same place where it is declared - usually the same 3-4 divisions. In my city, on one “stick”, a connection was easily established at a speed of 1 Mbit / s, in the center it was easily obtained 4 Mbit / s.

    Yota eggvery different from the first two Yota-modems - this is a fairly simple, but unexpectedly convenient Wi-Fi router. It (the egg) is a small piece of white glossy plastic with three indicators and a power button - I already did its review .



    The small size (110x28x62mm) allows you to carry it everywhere, whether it be a pocket, backpack or car glove compartment. And the weight (130g) is almost entirely the built-in battery, which lasts up to 6 hours in the mode of intensive distribution of the Internet.



    The principle of operation is simple - turn on the device, see that the WiMAX network reception indicator is green and if everything is fine, then connect from the laptop to the appeared Wi-Fi network and use the Internet.



    Accordingly, the obvious pluses are always free USB ports, the ability to go to the Internet at the same time for several people, as well as the ability to be in touch with any device that supports Wi-Fi. Really very comfortable.



    The signal reception quality is very good - where USB modems were not caught (a meter from the window), the “egg” shone with an orange LED, which signaled a “weak signal”. What is surprising - on the windowsill itself the Internet was very caught, and the indicator was already green.



    But the best part about the Yota network is the price - unlimited Internet costs 900 rubles per month, and the opportunity to get in touch for a day (without a monthly fee) now amounts to 90 rubles (before July 1, 2010 it was 50 rubles). But there is also a flip side to the gold medal - network coverage is not the best yet - even in Moscow there are places where the network does not catch at all. Not to mention the suburbs, and even more so about the provincial cities. For speed measurements, I used the standard service on the iota site - the speed was also in the megabit area, which can already help out if necessary. In general, the young brand evokes only positive emotions.

    5. Comstar


    Another modem for working on a 4G network, but this time from another operator - Comstar.



    The familiar form of the device, but this time it is smaller and lighter, which means without a battery and the ability to work autonomously. Guesses were confirmed after a USB-cord was found in the kit for connecting to a computer - after a minute it becomes clear that the “egg shape” is extremely inconvenient with this method of connection.
    Also in the kit was a beautiful and clear color instruction.



    As in all previous cases, the software is installed immediately after connection - this time it is another decorated (in blue) interface in which an ordinary user will not need half the functions.



    Unfortunately, I couldn’t get online right away - I had to call the STREAM office to create an account that didn’t want to create with the data that was issued in the store upon purchase. When the modem was half-activated in half, the speed averaged 3-4 megabits.



    Unfortunately, in the MacOS operating system, the modem did not work.

    Total


    I don’t know what is there and how - I have not seen Comstar’s obsessive advertising in Moscow (as opposed to an iota). But in general, I think you can live with such an Internet. But I repeat - using such a modem in everyday life will not be very convenient. And in some places it’s impossible at all :)

    conclusions


    After the “test” of several devices, a strange precipitate remained - it would seem that in the battle for users all manufacturers should try to beat each other, providing the most simple and convenient service, not to mention speed and coverage. After all, I wanted to initially compare, select, and the first thing I had to tinker with installing and configuring modems. And this despite the fact that I’m far from the first day at the computer and I know about what vectors you need to dig in to solve this or that problem. In general, I had to tinker with it - but, unfortunately, it is unlikely that “non-advanced” mothers and fathers will hardly be able to handle this on their own — even by telephone it will be very difficult to explain.



    Otherwise, except for the rake on the way to online, you can go online with any of the devices described. Another question is quality and speed (well, the operating system,). So, for example, the same Yota is relevant only in Moscow, the near Moscow region and in several million-plus cities, while modems of the “three operators” allow you to access the network almost everywhere (here the price question already arises). By the way, in a province with the Internet, everything is much worse, which I will write about in a vivid living example.

    I will not hide - most of all I really liked Yota. Good speed, exceptionally nice devices that work like clockwork (from the tested set, all three devices worked immediately and without problems), and of course, nice prices. But Yota is far from everywhere, oh how far. Comstar - similarly not everywhere, but the service is completely different, and the modem is very average.
    Three operators can be talked about for a very long time, but on the whole I didn’t get what I expected, which made me somewhat disappointed. Involuntarily the impression was created that the company's profit was at the forefront, and the service and customer care were somewhere TAM, at the end of the list. But they have the opportunity to provide service ... at adequate prices!
    Now it’s necessary to approach the choice of tariffs with great responsibility and accuracy - almost everywhere there are a lot of “pitfalls” - then unlimited Internet is actually not unlimited at all, then the speed after some traffic volume will be killed almost to zero, then ... in general, it’s only in commercials that everything seems simple, but in reality it’s a complete mess.



    Well, prices - the issue of pricing for operator services is still a mystery to me. And the devices themselves - in order not to waste time and nerves, I advise you to check the operability of modems (and SIM cards) even in the store, under the supervision of consultants.



    But now at least there is an idea of ​​what and from whom to expect. In the near future on gTodaywe will provide the results of our testing of all operators in Moscow, which we are currently conducting. Anyone can join - we are preparing something interesting.

    Success and stable connection!

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