I had a deep desire to have a network setup at home which was wireless and flexible. I used to have 2 Wimax connections (Tata Wimax & Reliance Wimax), and one ADSL (MTNL) running 24×7. Unfortunately Tata Wimax shut down its services, and I disconnected Reliance Wimax connection. With the start of 3G services, I really wanted more flexibility and expected better uptime, and was ready to live with the disadvantages such as lack of Static IP, and significantly higher cost.
So, I set out to perform the longest duration and most expensive test I’ve ever done – 3 months and approximately Rs. 35000/- on equipment and prepaid recharges cost. The location was East Delhi, and duration was October 2012 to December 2012. The performance may change in future, so YMMV. The ingredients were
Two 3G Routers
Two 3G USB Dongles & One 3G USB Supporting Router
- ZTE K3770-z USB Dongle (Vodafone, Factory Unlocked) (Rs. 1400)
- Huawei E1731 / 173Bu-1 USB Dongle (Airtel Locked, later Unlocked) (Rs. 1600 + Rs. 300 for unlocking it via dc-unlocker.com)
- Asus RT-N66U Dark Knight Wifi Router with 3G USB Dongle Support (Rs. 14500)
The DLink 456U I bought off from Ebay, and Micromax MMX400R, ZTE K3770-z, Huawei E1731, and ASUS RT-N66U from Nehru Place, Delhi.
Four Service Providers
These 4 service providers have license to provide 3G services in Delhi. I bought 4 Prepaid SIM Cards of each and activated whatever 3G service was needed and their plans.
Additionally also bought one Nokia 101 Dual SIM phone (Rs. 1500) to easily check the balance, validity etc. and send/receive sms messages and USSD codes.
First, The Verdict
Vodafone as service provider, unlocked Huawei E1731 and Asus RT-N66U are awesome, and I assume I’d be staying with Vodafone for a long time to come.
This was my first Vodafone connection and I was delighted to see how Vodafone performed. It’s slightly on the higher side from the cost perspective, but if you want to have serious net connectivity, then Vodafone would suit you well considering the fact that it gets you
- Excellent Download and Upload speeds (unlike Airtel)
- The connection doesn’t disconnect every few hours and thus the IP remains the same (unlike Reliance)
- Connects in the first go and you don’t really have to wait (unlike MTNL)
Vodafone does not allow connectivity from outside to your setup, so you as such cannot do port forwarding easily, unless it is initiated from the client end (such as by creating a tunnel using ssh -R on Linux).
Having the perfect connectivity between the ASUS router and 3G USB dongle was the most difficult part, and Huawei one performed satisfactorily.