Telstra Ultimate USB Modem
Provided you're in a major metropolitan city, or a key regional area in Australia, Telstra's Ultimate USB modem provides superb wireless data speeds
- Dual antenna ports, USB connector can swivel and tilt, microSD card slot, software installed on modem itself, fast and reliable speeds
- Faster speeds not available in all areas, upload speeds not as generous as download speeds
Telstra's Ultimate USB Modem provides very fast wireless broadband speeds, provided you're in a major metropolitan city or a key regional area in Australia. It's expensive compared to the alternatives, but when it comes to coverage and speed, Telstra's network is superior to its competitors.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Telstra's Ultimate USB Modem is claimed to be the world's first dual channel HSPA USB modem, promising typical download speeds of up to 20 megabits per second (Mbps) and a theoretical maximum download speed of 42Mbps. Targeted at companies with a mobile workforce who require speedy mobile broadband, the Ultimate USB Modem is definitely fast, but the speed comes at a hefty premium compared to rival offerings.
UPDATE: Telstra offers the Ultimate USB modem for $0 upfront on a number of its consumer mobile broadband plans over 24 months. It also sells the device outright for $299.
The Telstra Ultimate USB Modem is larger than regular mobile broadband devices, including Telstra's own Turbo 21 Modem but its connector doesn't hinder access to nearby USB ports. The device is slim, with two antenna ports available on top and LED lights denoting power and data traffic. The USB connector can rotate and swivel, so it can be positioned at the side of your notebook in a variety of ways.
As well as a SIM card slot the Telstra Ultimate USB Modem includes a microSD card slot to allow the device to double as a flash drive. The software required to run the modem is included on the modem itself; for Windows users, the installer will automatically open, while Mac users simply double-click the file that appears on the desktop the first time the modem is plugged in. At this stage, Telstra says the Ultimate USB Modem does not support Linux. Telstra's Connection Manager software allows you to access session information, including sent and received data, 3G/HSDPA indicators and signal strength — it's minimalist and easy to use.
Though the device has a potential maximum download speed of 42Mbps, Telstra says the Ultimate USB Modem should provide "typical" speeds of between 1.1Mbps and 20Mbps. The speed will depend on a number of factors including time, location, network coverage, signal strength and congestion.
The speeds we encountered in an office environment in North Sydney were around 13Mbps — an excellent speed when compared to competitors, and very impressive for a wireless device. Keep in mind, though, that these faster speeds are only are available within five kilometres of all major metropolitan cities, and in 100 regional areas across Australia. Telstra estimates that 50 per cent of the Australian population has access to the faster dual channel speeds provided by the Ultimate USB Modem.
During testing, we were able to achieve speeds of up to 18Mbps, though speed regularly fluctuated between 5Mbps and 14Mbps. Despite the theoretical maximum 42Mbps downlink, typical upload speeds are between 300 kilobits per second (kbps) and 3Mbps. It took us just 4min 22sec to download a 101.8MB iTunes file, and using PC World's Broadband speed test, we achieved results as low as 6.2Mbps and as high as 18Mbps. We even managed to achieve speeds of up to 150 kilobytes per second when downloading files using BitTorrent.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei P10 smartphone review
- 2 Huawei P10 Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Motorola Moto G5 smartphone review
- 4 Oppo A57 phone: full, in-depth review
- 5 Moto G5 Plus phone: full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Telstra says some of its NBN customers paid for unachievable speeds
- Australian broadband speed ranking drops again despite NBN rollout
- Rowland says govt supressing unflattering NBN information
- nbn grows customer base, but suffers EBITDA loss
- [Updated] Labor has ruled out a Royal Commission into the NBN
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG 2017 OLED TV range full review: W7 Signature Wallpaper, G7, E7 and C7 UHD TVs
- Asus ROG Strix Z270F Gaming motherboard review
- The simple RAM buying guide
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media Executive / Specialist (Facebook) - online gamblingNSW
- FTLead ArchitectVIC
- CCDeployment Manager - TelcoVIC
- FTData ScientistACT
- CCProgram ManagerVIC
- FTLevel 2 Desktop SupportACT
- TPTrim Helpdesk AnalystVIC
- CCWeb Designer - IT Graphics / UI DesignerACT
- FTSenior Marketing Manager | Global Technology CompanyNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager (Office 365) - Finance - Contract - Sydney CBDNSW
- CCIDAM ArchitectVIC
- CCMicrosoft (Sharepoint) SpecialistNSW
- CCChange ManagerWA
- FT.Net DeveloperNSW
- CCChange AnalystVIC
- TPWeb DeveloperSA
- FTDevOps EngineerNSW
- CCIT Security Risk AnalystVIC
- FTSenior Analyst - Rostering ProjectNSW
- CCTRIM TrainerACT
- FTProgram SchedulerVIC
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- FTData Analyst - BIQLD
- FTSolution Architect - NetworksVIC
- CCBusiness Analyst - SalesforceVIC