The original(itself a rebadged ZTE MF30) was a nice enough and fast enough hotspot, but compared withto the offerings put out by Optus and Vodafone, it was still not the prettiest or the best modem at displaying information. The Elite Mobile Wi-Fi (itself a rebadged ZTE MF60) makes up for most of the original device's shortcomings with the inclusion of an OLED panel which that displays the network (Telstra, naturally), battery status, connection status, Wi-Fi strength and even the number of connected clients. Other than the OLED panel and the switch from mini to micro USB for charging, you'd otherwise be hard-pressed to pick the new Elite Mobile Wi-Fi from the original, although in best Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy tradition, Telstra has printed "Elite" on the front in big friendly letters.
Just printing the word "Elite" on a Wi-Fi modem isn't enough to convince us that it's necessarily so. Telstra's claim for the Elite Mobile Wi-Fi is that it's capable of up to 21Mbps download, in line with its other "Elite" products, which translates in real world performance to around 8Mbps download speed. Presumably, if the branding is consistent, we may see "Ultimate" Wi-Fi modems in six months or so.
Like the previous generation Wi-Fi Modem, the Elite Mobile Wi-Fi will support up to eight connected Wi-Fi clients, and, as noted, a counter in the OLED display shows you the current number of connected clients.
Telstra pre-secures the Elite Mobile Wi-Fi with a password, printed on a card that it'd be a very bad idea to lose. It's possible to reconfigure the Elite Mobile Wi-Fi through the basic but passable web interface, but if you do a factory reset on the unit, the supplied password is the one that it'll default to. It is a positive step, however, that it's secured at all, especially at the prices Telstra charges for data. For an AU$129 modem — even one that comes with 5GB of data on a 90-day expiry &mdash the data charges over even a couple of months will quickly outstrip the cost of the device itself.