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Telstra Ultimate Wi-Fi review: Telstra Ultimate Wi-Fi

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The Ultimate Wi-Fi's best performance should come in an area blanketed by DC-HSPA coverage, so we at first tested using the Speedtest.net web application in Sydney's CBD with both the Ultimate Wi-Fi and its predecessor, the Elite Wi-Fi. The Elite Wi-Fi will, for the moment, remain Telstra's offering for its prepaid customers, and we were curious to see if there was a real-world difference between the devices in usage.

Our Sydney CBD figures showed that difference well, with the Ultimate averaging 6.424Mbps down and 1.35Mbps up to the Elite's 5.56Mbps down and 1.28Mbps up. That's not as huge a difference as we'd hoped to see, so we took our testing further afield, by testing in Sydney, Ryde and Hornsby, and then heading off on a road trip to test in Wagga Wagga in regional NSW and Glenelg in Adelaide, South Australia.

Telstra Ultimate Wi-Fi

Location Average ping Average download (Mbps) Average upload (Mbps)
Sydney, NSW 136.6 6.424 1.35
Hornsby, NSW 102 5.014 1.434
Ryde, NSW 127.2 5.706 1.36
Wagga Wagga,NSW 168 1.15 0.08
Glenelg, SA 82.4 14.946 3.23

Telstra Elite Wi-Fi

Location Average ping Average download (Mbps) Average upload (Mbps)
Sydney, NSW 105.4 5.556 1.712
Hornsby, NSW 84.2 3.254 1.28
Ryde, NSW 126.6 4.52 1.646
Wagga Wagga,NSW 301 0.37 0.01
Glenelg, SA 134.8 1.804 0.818

The wider test figures do show the Ultimate Wi-Fi performing well against its brethren, and better than anything else we've ever tested. Bear in mind these are averaged figures as well; one of our Glenelg tests gave us an impressive 21.68Mbps download figure. Equally, our very low Wagga Wagga test scores were in a residential house that we knew upfront got very poor mobile signals from every carrier, because there's merit in giving a tough test every now and again.

As with all things wireless, variability is still a key factor; you may get better than most current fixed ADSL2+ offerings, but equally you may get worse figures. Uploads are still relatively sedate and for gamers and those requiring low latency, ping figures are still on the high side.

In battery life terms, we averaged around three hours in our tests with multiple connected devices. It wouldn't be enough to go an entire day without the add-on battery, but it's broadly comparable with other competing devices. Like any other battery-powered enclosed device, it can also end up a little warm over time if you're carrying it in your pocket while testing.

Conclusion

The Ultimate Wi-Fi is the fastest hotspot we've tested to date, but as with all things Telstra, there's a premium price tag attached. If you need the speed and network access offered and can cover the ongoing data costs, it's a very worthy buy.

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