Okay so I got a new Wi-Tribe connection by going to their office in Clifton and talking to them for a bit.
This is only because they wouldn't answer my calls on their 111-1-tribe number.
They have nice support staff and quick connection service, they even let me check the coverage in my area via a special map. They finished the deal, I paid the security deposit and fee in advance, and got a nicely packaged CPE.
Note that the one I bought is the CPEi 35775 model, which is a Wi-MAX/VoIP modem and Wi-Fi 802.11g router all in one. I paid Rs. 1200 extra for the device and the requisite Rs. 1600 for the 1MBps service with 17GB cap.
NOTE: Don't fall for tricks. The 17GB service they claim is only for three months, after that you'll revert to 15GB. Just a reminder of marketing tactics that people apply and don't show behind the scenes.
And I'm sorry for the pics, phone camera. :P
I have to admit, this is the first time somebody has gone to such lengths to customize the standard dull packaging. It gives the whole experience a premium feeling.
Yes, thank you.
The box is well made and weighty. The side describes some info about the device and some promotional info.
You just get the bare essentials. Ethernet cable, AC adapter and the CPE itself.
Please note, for beginners, there is no manual included. Noobs will have to figure out how to set it up themselves.
It's not really that difficult though. Plug the power cable and go. You can either access using the instant Wi-Fi or ethernet.
I was surprised to see the CPE, which is a very tall but very slim device with a plastic body and the silvery grey part (aluminum) acting as a reciever and WLAN transmitter. You can see the nice touches Wi-Tribe puts from the logo at the top. This really shows how much thought and personalization they put into their services.
The device takes a standard 12V DC 1.6A power connection.
You can see the single ethernet port as well as the two phone line connections for VoIP. Wi-Tribe at the moment does not offer telephony services but may plan to in the future, so these ports are useless for now.
The reset button, as a side note, is HORRIBLY DIFFICULT to push. But that's Motorola's fault, not Wi-Tribe's. :P
It also has a rotating stand for positioning in either vertical or horizontal orientations.
In horizontal orientations, however, the vents are covered and the temperature gets worrying. More on that later.
Comparisons with the Linksys WRT54G2 WLAN router
And here it is, all set up and in action. My setup has it positioned on top of a shelf next to a window. I trailed a 13ft. ethernet cable to the computer I have next to it.
Here's the speedtest I just did for this review:
Bear in mind that these appear mediocre, but I'm on the first floor of a flat in a very crowded area and almost no sky coverage. The CPE was getting 2/5 signal coverage bars and is positioned on top of a 6.5ft. shelf. The test was taken through an ethernet connection.
For these conditions the results are amazing. The downlink speed NEVER drops below 0.99Mbps under whatever conditions you throw at it, which is astonishing for a Wi-MAX network.
The overall experience is as you would expect from a wireless connection. Most pages load quickly but there is sometimes a definite 10-20 second lag when you open a page, mostly because the CPE has to fetch the data. I never experienced this lag with my previous cable connection (also 1MBps) but it's a small price to pay for a portable device you can plug in anywhere and recieve an instant Wi-Fi signal from.
Please note just this one thing. TORRENTS. ARE. SLOW.
No matter what port, how many seeds, tracker updates whatever. In all conditions this thing FAILS at being a seeding/leeching machine. I'm talking to Wi-Tribe (the have really fast customer support via email) and they hope to get this fixed soon, so I'm optimistic.
It's okay. To be expected, though. It's a friggin wireless.
My cable connection got a perfect A, mainly due to the almost non-existent ping. Jitter was mediocre.
The CPE config page is surprisingly comprehensive.
Once again, though, the password nor the IP address is not provided. Given that some people would absolutely need to set a password on the Wi-Fi and change the SSID, this is a serious con on Wi-Tribe's part. They don't even provide a manual or instruction booklet for the Wi-Fi CPE.
I'm not writing an instruction manual so I'll just go through the basics.
For people who are curious, the password is "motorola" (this was a huge tukka I made) and the IP address is 192.168.15.1. I changed the default password immediately.
Interface is friendly.
Status page displays ALOT of data. The temperature is not a good sign and sometimes it jumps over 60. I don't like it; maybe it can stand it, maybe not, but Wi-Tribe's policy remains: If something happens to it, you pay Rs. 5.5k for a new one.
I won't say more, because there are alot of options to be discovered.
Overall, the interface is comprehensive, friendly and detailed. Kudos to Motorola for making it that way.
Wi-Tribe's Account Panel:
Wi-Tribe has a very nice control panel on their side that I've not seen any other provider...uhm...provide.
To get to it, you go to http://myaccount.wi-tribe.pk and enter the username and password you get in an e-mail from Wi-Tribe upon getting your connection.
Here's the very nicely done account page:
The service page, useful to know what you've subscribed to.
Since this is a volume based service, you can purchase additional volume, which I find extremely handy. This is an awesomely convenient feature.
You can also temporarily step up your package for one month, and the charges will be tallied in the next bill. This is cool, too.
I have the top package so this has nothing for me:
In conclusion, this is the best web-based interface for an ISP I have ever seen. Cheers, Wi-Tribe.
Overall the experience with Wi-Tribe, their equipment and their support has been pleasant.
Here's a list for your convenience:
> Wonderful support and help
> Well designed service packages
> Pleasant packaging and product
> Modern and feature-packed CPE
> Reliable, no drops or cutouts till now
> Excellent web-monitoring page
> Email notifications about volume consumption
> Flexible volume expansion and package upgrading via online interface
> Lag while browsing webpages
> Signal reception not consistent
> No manual included, bad for beginners
> Device gets worryingly hot
> TORRENTS. ARE. UNBEARABLY. SLOW.
> Not competitive pricing as compared to other DSL or Cable counterparts
> Volume cap. It's just irritating.
Recommended to: Fairly heavy web users, people looking for a convenient solution to set up a wireless internet connection wherever they go.
Hope you liked the review.