Maxis Mobile Broadband WiFi Modem: The Good and The Bad

This is my second post on the Maxis Mobile WiFi Modem (Huawei E5832), after a quick glance on the modem.  Unlike the usual mobile broadband modem that you see or use, this modem is specifically designed to function as a WiFi router that run off mobile phone battery. It can provide mobile broadband connection on the go (up to 4-5hours), without the need to depend on the power provided via USB.

General Features

The Maxis WiFi modem can provide a top download speed of 7.2Mbps and upload speed of 5.76Mbps over  HSUPA/HSDPA/UMTS 2100/900MHz and EDGE/GPRS/GSM 1900/1800/900/850MHz frequencies. Of course the maximum speed really depends on your broadband plan and the signal strength. So far the Maxis Broadband in my area has an average download speed of 2.1Mbps and 1.1 Mbps upload speed. The wireless (WiFi) connectivity standard is 802.11b/g. The dimension of the modem is 48 x 95 x 13 mm and weighs only 90g. It also comes with a MicroSD slot, for you to use as a storage device (up to 32GB).

 

The Good

1. Sharing Up to 5 devices

Maxis WiFi modem allows you to share your broadband connection up to 5 devices. So you can share it with your friends or family as well as getting connected on your multiple devices without any hassle.

2.  mini USB Cable for Plug-and-Play Access

Don’t worry if your personal computer does not come with a WiFi connection card, you can still get connected using the supplied mini USB. Maxis WiFi modem also comes with a broadband manager that can help you get connected and monitor your broadband speed.

3. Broadband Access On The Go

As long as you’re within the broadband coverage area, you can enjoy surfing the Internet from your various mobile devices on the go. Since it’s powered by a battery, you can use it anywhere. There is no need to plug it into the USB port. You can even do that in the car! Just turn on your Maxis WiFi modem,and  your friends and family members can use the connection even on non-3G devices.

4. Hassle-free Setup

The setup for Maxis WiFi modem is pretty easy and straightforward. You just have to insert the sim card, turn it on and start surfing. Do remember to note down the network password available near the sim card slot. You need it for your device to connect to the WiFi network. Once connected, you can change the password and SSID (network ID name) via the modem admin page (http://192.168.1.1). The broadband manager software is also very easy to install and use.

The Bad

1. The Auto Turn Off Display

To save power, the display of the modem is turned off automatically after a few seconds. While it is logical, it can be rather annoying as you need to press the power button occasionally just to check the connection or the power status. You might not even realise the batter power is low. There should be at least an option to make sure it’s not automatically turned off.

2. The “Unfriendly” Indicators

The indicator lights on the display are all static. For example, the signal strength is indicated in three different colour codes (red for no signal, yellow for weak and green for strong). But you’ll never know you’re on which frequencies. Meaning that even if the signal indicator is green, it doesn’t mean you’re in HSDPA. You might be connected to GPRS or EDGE but with strong signal. So you’ll have to login to the modem admin page to check. Next is the battery “life” indicator. It’s not dynamic as you can see in most mobile device that tell you how much “power” is still available.

3. USB-Dependent Charger

There is no microUSB AC charger or other charging alternatives provided, so unless you buy one, you might have to depend on the USB ports on your laptop or desktop computer. This could give slight problems when the battery is low and all your USB ports are occupied or you’re using mobile devices with no USB port such as iPad.

4. Connectivity Problem during WiFi Sharing

It’s normal to have slower speed when sharing since sharing of your connection means splitting the speed among several devices. However, there is some minor connectivity problem when you’re sharing the connection for more than 3 devices. It seems like when all 5 devices are connected, 1 or 2 devices will experience problems connecting to the Internet. I am not sure what might be the actual cause but I reckon it depends on the amount of activity on all devices. For example, if 1 user is doing heavy downloading, the other users might experience extreme lag in the speed, which I think it’s a rather common issue.

 

Final Words

Despite its minor problems, Maxis WiFi modem is really a gadget that has made my life easier. I can “setup” a mini WiFi hotspot anywhere I like and complete my tasks. The days of locating Free WiFi hotspot is probably going to be history. But then again, it still depends on the broadband coverage, which I think Maxis can do better in widening it.  Click Here for further information on how to purchase this modem from Maxis can be obtained.

Comments:

14 Comments

  1. Liaw February 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Kee Man! I’m thinking of getting this modem. But now still checking whether the Maxis broadband coverage in my area is good or not.

    • KeeMan February 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      Well, it’s good to check the coverage and test the speed first before deciding.

  2. Gab February 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I’m using it and I agree with your views on this. So far no major problems. And I like when you pointed on the USB charger issue! It’s bugging me as well…

  3. Marvin February 26, 2011 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    Well, there are some chargers which can be separated/connected to USB cables, just like the iPad charger?
    Some phones have such charger heads too.

    • KeeMan February 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Yeah…guess need to find a backup charger with the microUSB head…

  4. Joe Chong March 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    On your note regarding the indicators, the “M” icon indicates if you’re on 3G or normal EDGE speed. Blue means 3G/HDSPA, and Green is EDGE/GPRS.

    • KeeMan March 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      Thanks for that Joe. I just realised it after the post was made and I forgot to update.

  5. Joe Chong March 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    Also, has anyone manage to setup this mobile wifi with the SIM card from another telco, such as Celcom, or any international roaming partner? Mind sharing the steps of doing it?

    • KeeMan March 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      Have not tried that yet. Will try that out and post it here.

  6. Bowie March 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Will it be possible to upgrade from basic Maxis Broadband modem rm 48 without canceling and reapplying again?

    • KeeMan March 30, 2011 at 8:42 am - Reply

      Yes, you can do that via MyLaunchpad.com.my Register your account with your Broadband SIM ID and you can manage the upgrade online.

  7. timm_bill January 18, 2013 at 3:25 am - Reply

    TQ!! u are soo helping me!!

  8. wawa August 14, 2013 at 9:35 am - Reply

    how do i know when the batt is full or not? i’m having the problem with that :/

    • KeeMan August 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      The LED light will tell you that. It’s low when it’s red.

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