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

Western Digital Livewire

Internet throughout the house, thats one of the biggest annoyances people have when at home. You are usually stuck where the router is, and that is probably where you have the most powerful signal. In my case I went to an insane extent to wire up different rooms throughout the house so I can spread the wireless signal coverage. Most cases your stuck with the wireless signal you have, but in this case you have powerline networking. I have always been a bit skeptical about this technology, it usually doesn’t produce that speeds that I am looking for and I’m always thinking that it just won’t do. But there have been a lot of successful kits and this is just the latest development. If you are having internet coverage problems and putting ethernet cables through what little space you have in your walls is not possible then the WD Livewire Powerline Networking Kit is your best option.

There are drawbacks with powerline networking but it’s a simple solid solution when don’t have a wired option. You have four ports with the WD Livewire, the throughput is around 200MB/s which your machines will interpret as 100 MB/s since it’s not a Gigabit connection which is 1000MB/s. Sometimes with sound there is interference but if you need to this get your network where you need it to go. You would have to buy it from Amazon UK to get the right plug with it, but you can change it you buy it from the US as well.

Check out the Review at WeGotServed.com
Link: Amazon

Access Point Search in London

We have internet at home, even though its a little bit on the slow side but I needed an access point to put another location to cover the whole house because the one from the modem is very weak. I thought that would be simple enough, but it turned out to be a lot more difficult then I expected. I was in Harrods and decided to ask if they sell access points in the computer section, the lady looked at me like I was speaking Chinese to her so I thought I would go to Totenham Court road and find many there. I walked over there and I stopped at nearly 9 different electronic and computer shops on that street and every one of them don’t sell access points any more, they sell so many kinds of modems, routers and switches but no access points. It seems London is no longer in need of access points so I decided to order it from Amazon.co.uk and it came the next day, much simpler then running around for a few days.

ADSL Modem/Router

I have to ISP coming in and I have two different technical setups for them, but both of them are the same idea. An ADSL modem which is a attached to a router which handles the network. For past couple of weeks my internet from Qnet has been acting up, I have done pretty much every possible conceivable solution to try and remedy this but to no avail. I have decided to do some testing with my modem, I have feeling that its life has come to an end after 6 years of good service, its a Thompson ADSL Modem but I can’t really do any configuration on it when I try to access it, so I wanted to replace it. Called my Qnet and all they offer is the Linksys ADSL which was crap from Kems, I asked for a Cisco modem but they said that it is only for corporate customers and they don’t have that in stock.

I’m judging these modems by a few of the points listed below, the main point is stability and no issues then I go on to other testing.

Key Points for successful modem:

  • Faster Connection, with the newer modems surfing is substantially faster due to the better architecture, a Cisco modem is much more stable and faster the a Linksys modem and I have tried that first hand
  • FTP and VPN access without any issues
  • Extra features such a Port Forwarding, VPN configurable, Black or White Listing IPs & MAC addresses, DynDNS, and Wireless options

I have taken the options into my own hands, and after reading up online I decided to do some testing on affordable regular ADSL modems to post it up later. All the below have decent reviews and had their own problems and what they were good at, I’m going to test it to my preferences and see what I come up with as a winner.

  • D-Link ADSL Modem/Router/Wireless
  • D-Link ADSL Modem/Router
  • Actiontech ADSL Modem/Router/Wireless

Two Tier Solution

I had the Belkin ADSL which worked all nice and dandy for only a few days before funky things started happening. I wanted a one box solution which I could use for all my needs instead I got another bunch of headaches. If I left my desktop for more then a day it wouldn’t be able to access the internet, I would have to manually restart the router. If a laptop was put into standby I wouldn’t be able to connect to the wireless connection, again I would have to reboot the router. Another thing which really bothered me was that for some reason the connection was a bit slow whenever I did a traceroute there was always a long delay with a multiple websites, so after going through this hell for a couple of weeks I went back to my old solution.

I brought back the Cisco Modem and D-Link Router, as soon as I plugged it everything was back to normal. Browsing felt very fast and stable, I was downloading and browsing faster then before. Even when I was sharing the connection with the main PC I was having issues with it hanging. Now with this solution its working perfectly, my only gripe is that I can’t really do any configurations with the Cisco Modem, if I try anything from the console I will probably crash it, I can’t even access its web based interface, until I find somebody that can I will leave things as is.

Review: Netgear Wireless N Access Point

I have to say that I am a fan of Netgear products, I needed an Access Point for our floor which would be able to cover this floor a little better then the other one. This would be connected to the router which has the KEMS connection.

The configuration on this Access Point is really simple, and Netgear has made the configuration screen as simple as possible with a lot of options. It does have a powerful signal once its all configured, I tried the security configuration and worked fine, but I prefer blocking by MAC address rather then Encryption.

All is great if it kept working, the problem is that this is the second access point of this kind that has failed from Netgear. I have sent one before for an RMA, and received this one, yet this one also failed. I do like Netgear products but their consumer line is lacking, their ProSafe line is excellent though. For now I am sticking to a D-Link Access Point which is doing the job excellently without any issues.

Rating:

Centralizing the Network

My network consolidation steps have failed as I post about this earlier. My main problem was that I have multiple machines and multiple storage machines, so for the longest time I  had a lot of items spread out in different locations.

I have two separate networks since I have two ISPs coming in and I want to combine there speeds which is possible with the right setup but it didn’t work out for me and I’m not up for testing all over again. I’m thinking about trying a piece of equipment later, but I don’t want to purchase a load balancer.

I tried something different this time around, I connected both network cables to the two ethernet ports on the back of my power house PC. Its an Nvidia motherboard with two ethernet ports and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be if I plugged them both in, but as soon as I did it accepted the second IP Address. At that point I was able to see both networks and so for the past week I have been shifting data to my Windows Home Server (Bunker-Server).

Data:

  • TV Shows (Done)
  • Anime (Done)
  • Movie (Done)
  • Photos (TBD)
  • Music (TDB)
  • Other Files (TBD)

But the drawback is that the transfer has to go through the main PC but luckly the main PC is powerful enough to handle the huge transfers while doing other tasks and I have delegated downloads to the two other PCs.