Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway
The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway works well, but it's not cheap
- Looks stylish; stable performance; easy to setup; works with PC, Mac and Linux platforms
- Feels a little flimsy, doesn't work with prepaid accounts or Telstra mobile phone SIM cards, expensive initial outlay and plans
The Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway performs well, taking advantage of Next G's superior network coverage and speed. However the expensive initial outlay and ongoing monthly costs are hard to swallow.
Price$ 399.00 (AUD)
Aimed at users without access to fixed line cable or ADSL Internet services, Telstra's BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway is a 3G modem/router that provides wireless access to Telstra's Next G network. The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway works well, but neither it nor Telstra's wireless broadband plans come cheap.
Manufactured by NetComm, the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway (3G21WB) is a much nicer looking device than the previous model. Gone are the protruding antennas and the flat, box-shaped design. The new Elite Wireless Network Gateway is sleek, slim and sits upright thanks to a small silver stand. This means its ideal for those with limited desk space. The modem feels a little flimsy; the plastic creaks when pressed and the rear cover awkwardly clips in and out of place.
The front of the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway features 12 blue LEDs. They let you see signal strength, 3G, LAN activity, Internet connection and Wi-Fi status, and power at a glance.
The Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway includes four 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, two USB ports, a SIM card slot and an optional antenna connector for wireless reception. The USB ports allow printers or hard drives to be shared over a network, while the four Ethernet ports can connect directly to a PC or other network-capable device. The USB ports are conveniently located on the side of the device, so there's no need to remove the rear cover.
Setting up the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway is relatively straightforward. The package comes with a USB key that you plug into your PC or Mac to install the connection client software. The modem router comes pre-programmed with an SSID (wireless network name) and a WPA key (wireless security key). You'll need to use these defaults to set up the network initially, but you can change them using either the software or the Web-based interface. You'll also need to enter your BigPond account details. The device must be paired with a new or existing BigPond broadband account and will not work with prepaid accounts, nor will it accept regular Telstra mobile phone SIM cards (even if they have a data allowance).
We installed the connection software on both a PC and a Mac and were up and running in a matter of minutes. The BigPond Elite is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Mac OS X operating systems. For wireless use, the Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway only requires the included AC adapter to function. The unit supports the latest 802.11n Wi-Fi standard as well as 802.11b/g.
The Telstra BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway can deliver a theoretical maximum throughput of 21Mbps for downloading and 5.8Mbps per second for uploading when connected to the Next G network. These theoretical speeds are normally only available using Telstra's Turbo 21 modem; Telstra's other USB modems and similar devices from the likes of Optus, Vodafone and 3 are generally capable of 7.2Mbps downloads. It's important to note that these speeds will rarely be seen during normal use — Telstra claims an average speed of 8Mbps for downloads. The speeds will also depend on a number of external factors including your location and hardware.
We performed the majority of our testing with the device at our North Sydney offices, using both a PC and a Mac. The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway maintained a full HSPA+ connection and performed reliably. We achieved average download speeds of 3Mbps and upload speeds of 1.5Mbps when connected over b/g Wi-Fi, and speeds of 4.1Mbps (downloads) and 2.3Mbps (uploads) when connected over Ethernet. The BigPond Elite Wireless Network Gateway took 7min 49sec to download the 85.8MB iTunes installation package over Wi-Fi and 3min 41sec over an Ethernet connection.
Telstra sells the BigPond Elite Network Gateway for $399 outright. Selected Telstra customers may be entitled to a $200 rebate, in addition to a discount on Telstra access fees for the first 12 months of a 24-month contract plan. There are five plans available, with monthly combined download and upload limits of 400MB ($29.95), 1GB ($39.95), 3GB ($49.95), 6GB ($79.95) and 10GB ($119.95). There are no charges for exceeding monthly quotas, though Telstra will throttle speeds to 64Kbps once the limit is reached.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 review
- 2 Portable power: Venom Blackbook 13 Zero review
- 3 Alcatel Idol 4S review: King of the mid-range?
- 4 Witness a 241% Australian price hike: Dell Latitude 7370 review
- 5 Is this the best value phone on the market? Moto G4 Plus review
Latest News Articles
- Apple slates March 21 event, with 4-in. iPhone likely on the stage
- Convoy International restructures business focus
- ASUS launches world’s first liquid-cooled gaming laptop
- Tablets replace books for kids back at school
- Dell agrees to acquire EMC for US$67 billion
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
- FTPMO SpecialistACT
- FTProject ManagerNSW
- CCQuality AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project Specialist - Network IPVIC
- CCBackfill Support Engineer (Renewable 12-month Contract)Asia
- CCSolution Architect - WMS/LogisticsVIC
- CCSenior Technology Specialist - Back-end Java/JEENSW
- CCChange AnalystVIC
- FTIT ManagerAsia
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Business Analyst - TaxVIC
- CCData/ Business AnalystVIC
- FTBack End Developer - Java, Spring, RESTNSW
- CCProject Manager - Operational TechnologyQLD
- CCData Analyst - multiples roles - EAM experience requiredNSW
- CCProject Resource SpecialistVIC
- FTDefence Network EngineerACT
- CCDesktop Support Level 1 /2VIC
- CCActive Directory Consultant/ArchitectWA
- CCSolution Architect - POSVIC
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (Crystal Report/JAVA) 160816/AP/vhsAsia
- CCCustomer Service RepresentativeQLD
- CCSharepoint ArchitectACT
- CCData ModellerACT
- CCSenior Change Analyst, WealthNSW