I have been using the PowerTel mobile broadband package for about two months now, and i am definitely blown away by the experience so far. I know there are many skeptics out there. Many of my friends have used the service and have described it as erratic and bitterly disappointing, whilst others have accused the ISP of throttling download speed, and other users have reached the point of no return and vowed never to use the service again.
I bought the modem a couple of months ago when they announced the 40% promotion. Initially I had sporadic connectivity and was part of the multitude of disappointed customers. The average download speed was always in the 9Kbs – 20Kbs range.
All these connectivity problems ended when a friend suggested that I buy a 5 metre long USB extension cable. I got one for US $2.50 at a local electronics shop. Boy did that extension cable change my life! Suddenly my internet connection seemed like it had been touched by the hand of the Prophet. I began experiencing amazing speeds, I could make Skype calls, watch YouTube videos, and stream online audio. All of a sudden I was able to achieve capacity speeds of between to 512 Kb/s to 1Mb/s, all because the modem was significantly elevated as shown in the picture.
Most consider the xfinity and speedtest.net speed tests to be a definitive benchmark as to how fast an ISP is. When I ran an xfinit
y speed test to a server in the USA and a Speednet test to one in SA, between the two they had an average download speed of 260Kbs.
I am a bit skeptical about these speed tests, as they tend to be wrong most of the time. I prefer to carry out my own tests, by using actual downloads and streaming videos. Below are some of the screenshots of the downloads speeds that I get now when I use the usb extension.
Direct Download Speed
On a good day direct download speeds usually play somewhere around 250 Kb/s.
Torrent File download
The ISP shuns heavy peer to peer downloads since the service is contended and other users will feel the pinch of other heavy users. If you are a heavy user please be considerate and use it at night when less people are online.
It’s quite amazing what a huge difference a $2.50 cable can make to one’s browsing experience. Whilst it may not compare to other faster mobile broadband options, it certainly is worth the $50/month that we pay. Some of my fellow customers who get poor signal from their PowerTel modems can try this hack and fully utilise the best broadband deal in town.
It performs significantly better if you place it outside, and when one connects the extension cable they should always place it facing upwards as shown in the image to achieve optimal results.
Given how the cable has brought wonders to my web experience I am contemplating buying a 10/20 metre one perhaps it will miraculously multiply to 10Mb/s!
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