When we looked at mobile broadband plans in November, the catch we saw with all of the provided modems was that they were locked to a single provider.
The biggest feature of the Bandluxe is the fact that it’s not locked to any provider, giving you the freedom to choose either whichever one meets your current needs or operate off contract entirely. This is ideal if you find yourself not working or living in any one part of the world for any length of time.
The Bandluxe was very simple to configure in both Windows and OS X, especially in comparison to the Bigpond unit we used for reference. The Windows client also contains a database of configurations for all Australian pre-paid mobile broadband vendors, so there is a good chance that after installing the software all you need to do is enter your username and password and you’re ready to go.
Connectivity wasn’t a problem either: the Bandluxe supports HSDPA, WCDMA, EDGE, GPRS and GSM carriers. You can connect via Expresscard 34 or USB using the included adaptor, meaning it’s compatible with every laptop and can even be used on a desktop computer in a tight spot. Linux drivers for the Eee PC and Fedora are available on their website.
Using a Bigpond SIM, Speedtest.net returned just over an exceptionally quick 4Mbps. While it was still a long way short of the theoretical 7.2Mb/s possible through HSDPA, it was in line with the equivalent Bigpond modem in the same configuration. Pings of 160ms are more than adequate for web browsing and casual gaming, but you won’t be playing any shooters on the train.
The Bandluxe also kept the connection alive through small signal blackouts, including the two rail tunnels just north of our North Sydney offices, which is great news if your primary use would be the commute to and from work.
Overall it’s an excellent device; in terms of performance, however, there isn’t much to distinguish it from the competition. If the freedom of being able to jump provider is important then this is a great device for you; but if your favourite provider offers a modem for free then it will be tough to justify the extra cost.
This Review appeared in the February, 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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