Zain Home Router (LTE/4G Speeds)

I had a chance to get my hands on the Zain router, running on the LTE/4G frequencies in Kuwait which still hasn’t been fully certified from the Ministry of Communications. So people are asking the main reason for the delay is MoC, they have everything deployed for a little while now, but as usual politics is what stops things in Kuwait, but MoC is a totally different story.

Getting my hands on it I had a bit of skepticism but I did try AT&T’s 4G services and I have seen how fast it is and its scary fast. So the first thing I wanted to do is test it where ever I can, and this case I tested it at work and friend’s places and my home. Overall I am impressed with the hardware, it is solid and gets a lot of signal, decent speed even when it is low signal, and that was the important test for me, even with low signal it was getting decent speeds around 10 MB.

It’s a Huawei modem, looks good and simple, 4 Ethernet ports on the back and right now the services are not open to the public. The worst signal I got was ranging from 8MB to 16MB, up to 32MB to 42MB. Those are some very scary speeds, and surfing the net feels lighting fast, I do love fast internet. And for 33 KD a month honestly its not too bad, but the cap should at least be 200 or 250 GB not 80 GB

Pros:

  • Gets decent speed even with bad signal
  • It doesn’t have to be next to a window like Mada so you can place it inside your house and it will work
  • It has reached 42 MBPs with me, which got about 4.1 MB down with downloads

Cons:

  • The Cap is 80GB, thats nothing compared to the speed
  • You can buy more space but its overpriced in my opinion
  • Its not consistent at times, but I think they are just ironing out a few kinks in the system

Based on what speeds can be reached you can reach which is 2.1 MB/s to 4.1 MB/s you can use up your 80 GB cap in 11 to 6 hrs depending on your speed. And previously the 21 MBps had a 60 GB limit from Zain so logically it should be at least 120 GB based on their original capping scheme. Overall I think the cap is ridiculous but they are going to do it then a person should get a good bang for their buck with a 250 GB limit.

If you reach the cap you can buy an extra 25 GB for 12 KD or 5 GB for 3 KD, overall I think the pricing is off and not proportional but at least they give you an option to buy more data. For a 15 month contract you get the first three months 50% off and the device for free with 33 KD per month after the first three months. Overall the package is pretty good.

Testing In Shuweikh

Sometimes it would hang a bit, in an odd way and torrents would slow down even when the surfing speed is still high so its a bit surprising. The main issue is consistency, nothing beats a fiber connection but if you don’t have the option then this is the next best thing for surfers. Some gamers will like it but if you care about your ping then this is a bit on the high side. So its great for surfing and certain amount of downloading, not for heavy internet use, but its the perfect back up to your home internet if something goes wrong.

Testing in Miseela/Bidaa

In my case I have crappy land lines so I depend on WIMD and I’m honestly very happy with them even though they are a bit congested still at least a solid 12 to 15 MB and hitting 20 MB in the evenings with no cap. If you can have fiber thats always better but then again this device will really do the job because 4G coverage is supposed to be all over the country by the time it rolls out.

Testing In Fintas with One Signal Bar

Overall I think its an excellent product but they are working out the kinks, it did really reach those high speeds but we have to keep in mind nobody is on the network and it isn’t commercially available so until it is then we can judge the real speed based on the number of users, I hope they have the band width to accept the number of users who will get on board. I’m not sure when it will go commercial because the issue isn’t with Zain its with a governmental entity and you can never guess when they will be done.

Speedtest with VPN on, overall not bad, surfing speed feels quick

Review: Zain E-Go 21.6 MB/s

I was contacted by Zain to try out their new 21.6 Mbps E-Go and put it through the loop and see what its all about. The packaging seems to be nice and small, got a post-paid chip to try it out, took it out of the box getting it ready to plug into my HP Mini 5101. Just to keep in mind the 7.2 Mbps connection of Zain would get around 200 ~ 300 Kbps, so I kept this in mind when I was testing it out.

Its the usual plug and play scenario that everyone is used to, and piece of equipment is even a little better with the new setup. Its a sliding USB connection so its nice and compact, this is the Huawei HPSA+ Slider Model, fits nicely in any bag or pocket even. When you plug it in the USB emulates a CD so your software is installed and launched right away. I went into the technical details of it and trying to mess around it a bit, I had a few places in mind to test it out. When I first heard 21.6 Mbps I took it with a bit of skepticism and thought why not try it out and see what results I get.

Plug it in, configured the connection for the 3.5 G connection and went to my FTP Server which is co-hosted in Europe(Secret Location) to see what I could download a few large files and see what I would get in relation to numbers. I picked a 2.4 GB file to download and it started off at 450 Kbps which is faster then a 4MB land connection, I was impressed right away, its faster then the old 7.2 MBps E-Go right away. As I gave it time the speed fluctuated between 480 Kbps to 960 Kbps, and then I took it a step further, I got into my car and start stopping in different locations to test it out from the 6th ring road to Bida’a to Salmiya and back. I was impressed, there is a fluctuation in speed but it held solid between a 4MB to 9MB connection at 4:00 pm on Friday which is peak pressure time on the network, and so I’m assuming that late night surfing or downloading is going to be even faster then that.

This isn’t a long term test, so I’m going to try it a little bit longer to see what else I can get out of it. Now Zain has an excellent product on their hands with the possibility of great service, they will be giving Internet Service Providers a run for their money but they have to do two things, price it at an acceptable price and keep the service level at a high level. (Click on some of the images to get larger version of the graphs)

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