Update on the EVO Wifi device
The device communicates with PTCL over EVDO (just like a regular EVO USB modem), and provides a local wifi hotspot (so laptops, phones, ipads etc. see a local wifi hotspot available that they can use).
The advantage is that you don't need to install anything to use this device (since laptops, phones, ipads etc. can use generic wifi to get internet connectivity). Similarly you don't need to worry about installing something that might mess up your computer, or install on non-standard operating systems (macos, linux, or mobile phones with wifi, or tablet devices like ipad) which would otherwise have real difficulty setting up with the regular EVO USB modem devices.
The second advantage is that you can share your EVO connection (unlike a regular EVO USB modem which can be used only with the laptop you connect it to, unless you use "Internet Connection Sharing" or some such thing, or use a DLINK DL-412 or similar wifi router into which you can plug in an EVO USB modem to get a wifi hotspot).
Basically the EVO Wifi device is equivalent to use of (DLINK DL-412 + EVO USB modem).
- EVO wifi device has much lower wifi power (meaning can't use to get wifi all over a big house like you may with DLINK DL-412)
- EVO wifi device is portable - you can carry it with you and it will run for 4 hours (according to PTCL though maybe much less). You can power it with laptop USB cable or with the included AC-to-USB adapter.
- EVO wifi device "wifi router" part IS accessible (has a webpage for managing settings), but may not be a full featured as a DLINK DL-412 (maybe).
In practical use, however the EVO wifi device seems to run ok - speeds are similar to EVO USB device.
Getting around 500kbps/500kbps (upload/download) which is about normal for EVO (Rev A) i.e. "3.1Mbps" connections - and probably will vary by time of day and connection strength.
The battery power may go down faster than the advertised 4 hours, but you CAN maintain a charge if you keep it plugged into the usb port of your laptop. On a good high powered laptop, the USB cable WILL charge the device to full charge reasonably fast as well (though the PTCL folks thought it did not charge from laptop - which MIGHT be true perhaps on underpowered or older laptops ?).
- device is portable
- can charge from laptop USB cable (provided), or AC-to-USB adapter (provided)
- has built-in battery (this is an advantage over using DLINK DL-412 type solution which would require UPS in case of loadshedding). Battery life is 4 hours according to PTCL and will go down if have more users (presumably this means that if you use utorrent or many download threads that also may deplete battery life faster). Battery life maybe less than 4 hours - however you CAN maintain charge if you plug it into USB port of laptop. Device also charges well from a well powered laptop USB port. PTCL suggested that it may not charge well from USB port, which MIGHT be the case on some underpowered or old laptops perhaps (?).
- runs on some standard-looking Huawei phone battery (3.7V 1150mAh Model: HB5A2H) - so it is conceivable that one could carry more than one battery if one needs more power for on-the-road use.
- don't need to install any software on laptop. Although manual suggests you CAN connect via USB cable also (similar to regular EVO USB device). For this reason the device DOES show a "CD device" from which you CAN install some software for that purpose (if you want), although you may just prefer to use the wifi method since it is cleaner and doesn't mess up your computer with extraneous software (or uncertain stability).
- can use on non-standard operating systems, devices (since it is just generic wifi, any device that can use wifi can connect to the internet thanks to this device)
- can use on more than one device (thus better than EVO USB device which can be limiting in that respect), however is limited to 5 devices (according to PTCL) which is a limitation compared to using DLINK DL-412 type solutions - but then DL-412 etc. are not portable. Also 5 devices is not bad if you are only using for your own use i.e. laptop, one iphone/android, one ipad/tablet etc.
- speed tests around 500kbps/500kbps upload/download speeds which is about typical for a PTCL EVO USB device "3.1Mbps" (i.e. EVDO Rev. A). Though like other EVO devices, this probably varies over time depending on network load. There is currently no "Nitro" i.e. "9Mbps" version of this device available (i.e. only "3.1Mbps" or EVDO Rev. A version available).
- skype video calling works at acceptable level when used from laptop connected via wifi to this device.
- could potentially allow use of skype video calling from iphone or android phones (android phones currently do not have skype video), or ipads while on the road (thus being the only faster-than-EDGE service available on-the-road on phones, ipads at the moment in Pakistan). 500kbps (which is typical for PTCL "3.1Mbps" service) is not really "broadband" but it IS faster than EDGE/GPRS.
- the wifi router part of the EVO wifi device is accessible via webpage (just like most routers are), and you CAN set some settings (I haven't tweaked them much) but it is possible you could change encryption settings etc. By default uses WPA encryption, can set to no-encryption, but did not see a WEP encryption setting (maybe there) which some people may need for connecting some gaming devices maybe.
- device has a port at the top which COULD be for antenna for boosting the EVDO signal (no mention of this port on the provided user manual) - which suggests it COULD be connectable to the EVO "booster" device which PTCL sells for Rs. 700 that connects to regular EVO USB modems (not sure if that booster connects to Nitro USB devices). On the other hand, this port MIGHT be for an antenna for wifi or something like that as well (not sure). One advantage PORTABILITY of this device gives over the regular EVO USB device is that you no longer have to situate the device right next to you (for example if the EVDO signal is weak at the location you are are sitting at) - you can instead place the device near a window or something while sitting further inside the house. For this reason, this MAY provide a little bit more flexibility as compared to the EVO USB devices. You can connect it to an AC power outlet - and device will have sufficient power to outlast a loadshedding.
- I have not tested the recharge times (i.e. if it takes 4 hours to discharge, will it recharge in say 1 hour) - however PTCL suggests it recharges in about 45 minutes (which seems about right from what I have seen from general use so far).
- wifi power is low, so you cannot use it to provide wifi "all over the house" - however you can provide it to as far as 1-2 rooms away i.e. about 2-3 walls in between device and laptop. However if you are going to use for personal/mobile use, having a lower power wifi device is BETTER (lower exposure to wifi electromagnetic radiation). In addition it is better for security reasons to NOT have your wifi broadcast all over the neighborhood - although the power carries signal to 1-2 rooms away, which means on the street the signal could carry quite far still.
- limit of 5 devices connectable to the wifi - which is limiting compared to DLINK DL-412 type solutions, but it is not bad for personal on-the-road use, where you are unlikely to have more than one laptop, one iphone/android, one ipad/tablet and still will be within 5 devices. However this is not a solution for a home where you have one person on ground floor and another on the first floor.
- battery life is 4 hours (according to PTCL) but maybe less. Also PTCL says it will drain faster if you have more users (presumably will also drain faster if use utorrent or large number of download threads). However in practice you would connect this to your USB port on laptop to maintain or charge the device. Problem would be if you want to use it with your iphone/android or ipad/tablet in which case you would not have a USB port to charge it from.
- Rs. 7000 for the modem
- Rs. 2000 for unlimited "3.1Mbps" (EVDO Rev. A) connection (which is the same as a EVO USB device "unlimited" connection)
- you have 7 days to evaluate the device and return for full refund of Rs. 9000 if you are not satisfied (i.e. for example if torrents are not working to your satisfaction you feel). Although this won't be given back as cash, but "you will be sent a check" (don't know how long PTCL takes to deliver cheks or if they are as bad as Wateen etc. in this regard).
- PTCL may or may not have a "fair use policy" in place now - earlier some people reported that PTCL had instituted an unofficial policy to cap speeds after 10GB of use even on "unlimited" connections. It seems that this policy was reversed later. I do not know what the situation is right now.
- Current PTCL policy is that you CANNOT replace your old EVO USB device with this device - if you already own an old device, you will have to keep that and buy another one of these new EVO wifi devices. This policy may change in the future (?).
- There is currently no "Nitro" (i.e. "9Mbps" or EVDO Rev. version of this wifi device. Though one could presumably appear later.
Followups can be posted on this EVO wifi-specific thread:
Finally PTCL EVO WiFi out!!