Posted by Mark
On Thursday two engineers from Mada came over and handed me a router so I could review and after using it over the weekend here are my findings. I’ll start the post with the speedtest results since I know that’s what everyone has been waiting for. I used speedtest.net for the testing and although I was originally planning to test using the servers in London, New York and LA, I ended up running into issues with the New York and LA server and so decided to add two more locations which are New Jersey and San Francisco.
I don’t know why the NY and LA servers were giving me such terrible numbers but I think it had to do more with the server than my connection since the connection worked perfectly again with their neighboring cities. The location of the WiMAX router does effect the speed of your connection. For example I live in Salmiya block 9 and according to a Mada engineer, Salmiya is one of their most focused areas so the speeds I’m getting are probably the fastest you can get. When I tried the Mada router at my office in Kuwait City, I was getting on average around 2.8Mbps tops. The engineer told me it had to do with the location (Kuwait City), the fact my office is on the 21st floor (connection starts dropping after the 15th) and the fact the windows were double glazed (bounces signals). A reader called Kevin tried Mada in Mangaf block 1 and his download speed was around 6.5Mbps. So location does make a big difference on the speed. I don’t play many games online but my brother who lives next door and leeches my connection does. He spent the weekend playing on his Xbox online and according to him he didn’t notice any difference going from DSL to WiMAX.
Setting up and connecting the router was a very simple process. You just plug in the power cord, wait a minute and that’s it. You can then either connect to the router via one of the two ethernet ports on the device or by wifi. I did face a minor problem when I wanted to log into the device so I could change the wifi password as well as setup other options. Underneath the device you have two sets of login information. One is supposed to be the default wifi password the other I assumed to connect to the device to change the settings but it wouldn’t work. It was around 11PM and I wasn’t sure if there would be anyone at Mada support to help but I called them up and someone answered right away and gave me the default username and password which was just “user”. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to go through a dozen menus on the phone just to get to someone from support and I liked the fact that I didn’t have to wait on hold either. This probably has to do with the fact that the service is still new and so not many people have subscribed with them yet.
Which brings me to the future. The Mada WiMAX service currently has no download cap for the next 3 months, after that they are still not sure what the download cap will be but they’re saying it will be at least 20GB and that they will be offering a package for people who consume more. 20GB a month means around 600MB a day which is too little and makes the device really useless. 600MB a day is suitable for users who just use their internet to check email, maybe visit a few websites and also watch a video or two on YouTube. Those kind of users aren’t heavy internet users and for them if it’s a 1MB connection or 10 it wouldn’t make a difference. The real people who can use and fully take advantage of Mada’s WiMAX speed are users like me who spend all their time online surfing through a ton of websites, watching a million YouTube videos while iTunes is busy in the background downloading all the latest TV shows and Movies, the Playstation and Xbox downloading game demos and the server downloading torrents. For me it makes a huge difference if the connection is 1MB or 10.
Which brings me to a potential future issue. The connection is really great right now but that’s because the service is only a few days old, how will it be a month from now or even a year from now? I am not sure. Mada has been around for awhile now catering for the commercial industry so that gives me a bit of confidence in them. But still, 20KD for 10MB is going to attract a lot of people specially with all the problems people have with the ISP’s introducing download caps. Personally I am going to take it day by day and right now the Mada WiMAX internet connection is the fastest connection I’ve ever had. I’ve already disconnected my DSL modem at home and replaced it with WiMAX, that’s how much I’m loving this connection.
Mada currently have a booth setup at Marina Mall right outside the Mac store Digits and they also have a booth at Mohallab. It’s KD20 a month and if you sign up for 3 months it’s KD60 but you get the router for free. Here is a link to their website [Link]