The Alcatel Y800 is a mobile wifi device that operates as a mobile router and works on the same principles as a mobile phone. However, I was interested to see if it would be a suitable alternative to my home broadband.
Why? For reasons I go into in a previous article on the Alcatel Y800, my current home broadband speed rarely rises much above 1.0Mbps and according to various ISPs, has little prospect of getting beyond 2Mbps. Given that 4G speeds are upto 30Mbps, the prospect of seeing speeds potentially 30 times faster with the Y800, were mouth-watering.
In that same article, I outline the various payment, speed and data options available on EE (my chosen supplier) and as I explain, I settled on a PAYG double speed 6GB 90 days data duration. Note the double speed part, meaning that I could potentially see download speeds of upto 60Mbps. Wow, simply, wow but we’ll leave the plaudits for after the final speed tests.
For consistency, and transparency, I will be using the results from the following broadband speed checker websites, speedtest.net, thinkbroadband.com and broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk, there are others.
Results for home broadband provided by O2 on 08/12/2013;
- speedtest.net: 1.29 Mbps download speed
- thinkbroadband.com: 1.27 Mbps download speed
- broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk: 1.26 Mbps download speed
Once the Alcatel device is setup, I will re-run these speed tests and see how close we are to the 50-60Mbps speed that EE claim (this being via their Live Chat facility on 29/11/2013 and 08/12/2013).
Alcatel Y800 Specifications
The onetouch Y800 is little bigger than a mobile phone with dimensions of 123 x 58.5 x 14mm and a weight of just 108g, so it’s small and light enough to carry with you, should you choose to use it as a mobile wifi router, as intended.
The primary aim of this device is to deliver fast broadband speeds. However, there are other advantages over standard home broadband such as no messy wires trailing across the floor, no ugly space-hogging boxes to clutter your home.
The Y800 is small so it’s hardly noticeable, it has a modern design so compliments most homes and it’s portable meaning you don’t have to place it next to your primary BT socket, in fact, you can put it anywhere you want in the home. Having said that, the 4G signal may weaken if your home has thick walls so you may wish to try different locations for optimum signal strength.
The other advantage is that you can even take it with you. Picture this, you are travelling by train (which has either no wifi or weak download speeds) and wish to take your laptop with you, well now you can. In fact, as the Y800 can connect upto 10 wifi devices, you could take just one device and accommodate the Internet accessibility needs of the entire office, assuming there’s no more than ten of you of course!
The Alcatel Y800 In The Home
The fact that this wondrous device allows for upto ten devices to be connected, was the deciding factor that led me to conclude it was worth trying as an alternative solution to our pathetic home broadband service.
There are five of us in our household and as you can imagine, there are multiple wifi requirements from personal computers of the desktop variety to laptops, tablets, ipads, ipods, iphones, an xbox, a playstation, a nintendo wii and probably many other things if I cared to recall them all.
So onto the unboxing of this Alcatel Y800 device. Its neatly packaged, with the device itself on top and with a smaller box underneath. Opening this reveals the following;
- Device Cradle
- Power Charger
- USB Data Cable
- Quick Start Card
The power charger has a connector at one end similar to a small hdmi socket which fits into both the cradle and the device itself. The opposite end is a usb connector which would allow charging via a laptop or directly into the wall power adapter.
The back of the device simply pulls out, and in return just clicks into place. Removing the back reveals space for the lithium 3.7v /1500 mAh battery, sim card and micro sd card (upto 32GB). In this case, I am using a micro combination sim card so no need for a sd card.
Speed Test Results
Once the Y800 had been turned on, I wanted to gauge the signal strength around the house. The indicator icons range from 1 (low) to 5 (excellent).
At this stage it is worth recalling that the results of the pre-purchase tests, using the EE Coverage Checker, were that we live in an area of, quote, “Superfast Internet“.
In the lounge & study, the signal strength in both was 3 out of 5, whereas in other parts of the house it ranged from 1 to 4 out of 5. Outside of the house it moved between 3-4 meaning that the lounge and study were good places to conduct the speed tests.
The first test was done in the lounge with the Y800 placed next to the window, approximately six feet from my laptop. The second test was conducted from the study but most importantly, without relocating the Y800 device. As such, the device was in an adjacent room. Here are the results;
|Before||After Test 1||After Test 2|
|speedtest.net||1.29 Mbps||n/a||20.94 Mbps|
|thinkbroadband.com||1.27 Mbps||16.51 Mbps||18.90 Mbps|
|broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk||1.26 Mbps||4.26 Mbps||21.25 Mbps|
The first set of tests were strange to say the least. The speedtest.net website responded initially but the flash element of the site did not. Despite several attempts, the test could not be completed. The remaining two tests were wildly different but both were significantly ahead of the O2 home broadband comparisons.
The second set of tests were done from a different computer, desktop as opposed to a laptop, but I am unsure if that would make any difference. Having said that, as you can see, the speeds were pretty consistent and also higher still.
I plan to continually test the download speeds from this device but in the meantime,
the Alcatel Y800 4G mobile wifi device delivers significantly faster broadband speed than my O2 home broadband.
However, 20 Mbps is NOT 50-60 Mbps. This is a concern, and one that I’ll have to raise with EE. However, given my woeful experience to-date, I am dreading having to phone – but phone them I will. Check out the EE Complaint page for a full update on this.
Prior to buying the Alcatel Y800 on the PAYG plan, I used the EE Data Calculator to try and work out an approximate data usage. We’re pretty low data users, primarily standard Internet access, ie. web browsing, and so I arrived at around 1GB per month as an expected usage amount.
EE have just two PAYG data plans, either 2GB over 30 days or 6GB over 90 days. So whichever one you choose, both are 2GB over a 30 day period. Given that I was only anticipating using 1GB per month, either would have sufficed. I chose the 6GB 90 day plan as I wanted longer to test this.
What has shocked me is that I have used 0.5GB data in just 3 hours, so much for 1GB lasting a full month.
So what have I done in that time? I’ve ran several speed test and written this article. For the record, I’m using the popular WordPress CMS with revisions disabled.
Why on earth would this have used so much data? Yet more concerns on EE.
Great looking device that delivers 4G speeds inside the home of 20 Mbps. However, EE promised 50-60 Mbps so it has under performed.
More tests are required, including testing upto the full number of device connections. I’ll update this page in due course. In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.