Vividwireless Is A Total Joke For Business Travellers

Vividwireless Is A Total Joke For Business Travellers

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been tested Vividwireless’ WIMAX-based so-called 4G service. Based on my experience, I can only say this: it’s a complete waste of time for anyone who travels more than a block in Australia’s biggest cities.

My original plan for testing Vividwireless mirrored how I assess other broadband networks: testing connection speeds in a variety of locations. But speed tests are meaningless in this case, because across Sydney and Melbourne, I literally only found a handful of locations where I could even get a connection — and that connection would generally disappear if I moved 10 metres in any direction, despite the coverage maps claiming the relevant areas were included.

At the airports in both cities, I got absolutely nothing; Vivid claims the service works in Sydney, but not in Melbourne. As I’ve already noted earlier this week, airport coverage is pretty crucial for travellers, and that kind of omission alone would probably be enough for me to ditch it from a list of possibilities.

As a working road warrior/worrier, if you can’t even connect in well-populated locations — the CBD and the airport — then there’s no point doing speed measurements, let alone trying other locations. These are the primary locations business travellers will want to use, and they are Australia’s two biggest cities. And if you can’t attract those users, it’s hard to see how you’ll ever build or expand a commercially sustainable mobile broadband network.

Earlier this week, Alex at Gizmodo did some comparison testing between Telstra’s LTE network and Vividwireless in the Sydney CBD. Having faced similar challenges in preliminary testing, in order to ensure a connection, he only used outdoor locations. This is obviously not a helpful strategy if you’re staying in a hotel and want to work on your email or do some research. In-building coverage is a challenge, but if you can’t make a reasonable crack at it as a mobile broadband service, it’s hard to justify charging anything.

Sure, there may be other non-traveller scenarios where Vividwireless makes sense. Its pricing is a lot lower than Telstra’s, and if it happens to work in your house, it’s a potential alternative to a wired connection. (If that’s the case for you, tell us about it in the comments.) But it strikes me that one common reason for going wireless is moving house relatively frequently, and based on my experience, even moving one block from your current location could render it useless.

In the long run, I want my mobile broadband to be mobile. In a fortnight of testing, if I’d been relying on the Vividwireless device, I’d have been disconnected most of the time. You can’t expect 100 per cent coverage from any mobile broadband service, but 5 per cent just doesn’t cut it.


    • In central/airport Sydney and Melbourne, definitely not! Vodafone definitely has issues but I’ve not experienced anything like the level of problems I recount here.

  • In Perth the coverage is excellent. We switched all our company laptop dongles over to it. Unlike the Vodafone dongles we were using, the Vivid devices allow us to actually establish and maintain a workable network connection. Imagine that.
    I’m guessing their coverage might be poorer in those other cities you tested.
    Still, would be good if there was one provider that had decent coverage in all major cities.

  • I use Vivid’s unlimited plan at home in Sorrento (suburban Perth). It is currently my *only* option for broadband. Telstra cable ends about 100m up the street while my house is near the maximum distance from the local telephone exchange: no ISP will offer ADSL. That said I can’t really complain – although speed varies with time of day and atmospheric conditions its usually quite fast. Just now I got 10.59Mbps down and 3.75Mbps from using their Perth server with a 60ms ping.
    But I have the vivid box on the second story of my house to get ‘excellent’ reception – if I put it certain rooms downstairs then the internet becomes very patchy. So I can understand it not being a traveler’s friend.

  • I’ve been using this since july and it really is a POS. I got it as I float between a few different offices here in Metro Sydney, and the signal strength / black spots make it virtually useless. If you read the FAQ’s they even state that ‘building materials’ like walls and windows will make the signal weaker so put the device near a window or even outside, its a total joke.

    The speeds can be somewhat OK if you have a strong green light and you’re doing a speed test only.

    Keep in mind p2p traffic is shaped from the get-go so no torrents or downloading on this device unless you want a max speed of like <50k.

    I live in Redfern and travel between Kings Cross, Ultimo, Pyrmont and North Sydney for work, and I can't get a signal in North Sydney at all and Pyrmont is virtually a black hole for anything over a 'weak signal' and that's after taping the device to a window frame.

    Save your money.

  • I have the $75 unlimited plan and in general it has been good. I recently moved from Perth to melbourne (sth Yarra) and the signal strength was poor but was ok at some times. I moved across the Yarra into Richmond and i now have full strength.

    P2p isnt always shaped as i regularly get 200 – 400k on some downloads.

    All up it has been a godsend as i have moved essentially 4 times this year and i have never been without unlimited internet.

  • Another West Aussie here.
    Quite impressed with the quality of connection on a USB dongle. I am about 40 km from the CBD in Clarkson (which is the edge of civilisation over here)

  • I have all three devices here in Perth. i get average signal at home but then again i get 1 bar on my mobile. If i take it to my folks place i can pull 14Mbps down… faster than my adsl. We also stuck a home gateway in my office for the heavy users to use on the unlimited plan ($75 for us)

  • It appears to be a half baked solution put in place to launch prior to any LTE based network was available in any of the capital cities in Australia.. Well that is no longer the case so I suppose time to go down the Unwired path …

  • Was with Vivid for a while and it was ok except for regular drop outs. How ever better than telstra ADSL as you have to live next door to the exchange to get good speeds. I am on ADSL2 with Telstra and cant get more than 1 mbps. So going back to Vivid, Telstra big thumbs down for me.

  • I live in Perth [Ardross] 7ks from the cbd and i can see the cbd from my back yard and 2nd story. I got the C900w hotspot a couple of weeks ago and it was useless. It would not connect indoors whatsoever and only had it working twice outside with very weak signal and dropping in and out of service. The staff at Vivid were great and credited my bank a/c for the months fee and gave a report number to take back to Dick Smith for a full refund. Vivid have invited me to try the Home Gateway with a 14 day money back guarentee. I was wondering if anyone in my erea has a Gateway and if there are any problems?

  • Indoor coverage was really bad often zero. Outdoor coverage was at best 3MB/s Down, 1Mb up.
    Stability of connection was the real issue:
    Even in a stationary position outside, the connection would drop after just a few minutes.

    Not worth it.

  • I have been using Vivid since they offered me a free Gateway home modem as an Unwired customer last year, have had a few dropouts (which bizarrely seem to reconnect as soon as I fire up the Unwired modem) but otherwise no complaints.
    Just ran speedtest, about 5M down, 3 up.
    Not sure how reliable it would be around town with a dongle though, little antenna in a hilly town.

    • Same sign up reason, only use at home, get the odd dropout though nothing appalling.
      Have noticed the same re firing up the Unwired modem, kinda strange.
      4.4 down, 3.3 up, have noticed about 10M down in early hours, cheaper than my previous unwired plan and generally way quicker.

  • Well vivid sucks i live in clarkson wa and let me tell avoid it its a scam you can only get good speeds if there are next to no users on the tower you are connected to if there are people on the tower expect slow speeds i live 300m away from my tower i have 2 tower with good range 100percent connection and yet during 8am to midnight i get under 512k down 20k up if im lucky what they dont tell you is its all based on how many people are using that tower so its a pot luck situation and that is why you have to buy the modem 300dollars for a modem that only lets 10mbps transfer rate threw wifi and put it this way its unlimited but whats the point when you are lucky to get over a 1mbps connection vivid sucks avoid it like the plauge

    • I had Vivid for about a year in Southlake and it was fairly reliable if slow. I recently moved to Warnbro on the edge of civilisation and while their online maps show coverage that’s definitely not the case with no phone and very hit and miss internet. On ringing their support their techie was not really surprised. On the strength of their map I’d printed business cards with my existing number which I had to change when I switched to Westnet. When I cancelled my Vivid Wireless service they tried billing me for an extra month but instantly backed down when I threatened to sue them.

  • Ive had Vivid for about two years and as they get more customers my speeds slow down. I have the unlimited. I moved my bedroom (my Mac Pro is in there) from the front of the house to the back and wouldn’t connect. The techie said I had to go and get an antenna booster from Dick Smiths which cost me another 35.00 which they wouldn’t pay for. Seriously, move the dongle 20 meters and have to shell out more dough and still getting lousy service? Way to go Vivid!

  • I’ve been using home gateway for nearly 3 years in Fremantle Area WA moving 4 different houses, with vivid u have to go around the house and find the best signals and the best orientation to a different tower , the hot spot i reckon is a crap , my vivid works pretty well nice speed enough for youtube streaming tv ect …

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