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Neotel Home 2mbps LTE Uncapped Customer Review

the eskimo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
330
#1
After 2.5 months without a working ADSL line, it was time to explore alternative options.

Ordering
This was seamless. I called neotel on April 7th, sent documents in on April 8th and had an appointment for Installation/Line Of Sight (LOS) test on April 9th.

Installation
The technicians (contracted to neotel) came on the scheduled day, and couldn't find LOS. "Oh well, let's try bitco" I thought. I went through the processes with bitco, only for neotel asking the next day when they can schedule a LTE test following the unsuccessful LOS for WIMAX. It was never explained that I had 2 options (wimax and LTE), and I had already signed the bitco documentation.

A week passed and on April 16th, bitco advised they have no LOS from my house (they do internal tests before scheduling installation).

Anyway, I go back to neotel and ask them if they can check for LTE coverage. Within 15 minutes, I received a email response that the installers will contact me later to schedule coverage check and installation.

On April 17th, despite having load shedding in my area, they proceeded with installation (did the setup from within their vehicle), and helped my wife (I was at work) connect her laptop and tablet to the wifi network. A very neat setup with just a router (HUAWEI B-something). Apparently the Neotel LTE tower is 500m away from my house.

Performance
First thing, catch up with downloads for series episodes missed while without internet. Torrents and (international) News-server downloads flying at 240KB/s. Did some FTP downloads, same speeds. GTA5 updates from social club also flew along.

Youtube 720p streams fine (as long as I'm not using anything else competing for bandwidth).

All things considered, so far so good. Will post some stats tonight, and give a report back on how it performs for online gaming.

I'm sure I've downloaded 30GB or so this weekend.

I did notice connection drop once or twice, but within 10 seconds the connection was restored.

PROS
Quick installation(s)/coverage checks
Quick communication
Getting good speeds on Torrents/NZB/FTP downloads
Uncapped & Unshaped
Neat Installation, no brackets, dishes, booster antennae to be installed.

CONS
A bit more expensive than Telkom
Was never advised that I had option of either wimax or lte (website doesn't say much either) which caused delay
24 month contract
Installation fee (bitco and others have no installation fee with 24 month contract)
FUP of 200GB on 2mbps (I doubt I'll get there though)
 

Solitude

Expert Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2008
Messages
4,566
#2
Thanks for the review! If I don't get LOS with BitCo then it looks like Neotel will be my last option.
 

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#6
So I have send them all the paperwork on Monday 27 July and they called me yesterday to arrange a time to test/installed. They arrived at 16h00 and first tested with a huawei router inside the house with no signal. They then connected up an external antenna unit and found 4 bar signal, they proceeded to install the external antenna. Took them about 40 min to install and everything was working.

So far the performance is great. Tested with news servers, torrents, steam and youtube and all running at the full 2Mbps.

External antenna > 2015-07-30 17.45.46.jpg
Speedtest with test sim > 2015-07-30 16.26.39.jpg
Speedtest with contract sim > 2015-07-30 17.50.52.jpg
Signal > Capture.JPG

They also provided me with a Zyexel vdsl router to use inside the house for wireless but I have connected the external router directly to my Mikrotik router. http://www.zyxel.com/uk/en/products_services/vmg1312_b_series.shtml?t=p

My only concern now is lightning!!
 
Last edited:

Azimuth

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
2,191
#7
Great thread and feedback, guys. It sounds like Neotel offer a real professional service. I'd love to see them offering better packages and prices and really competing against the rest on the consumer front.

Go Neotel!
 

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#9
Been using Neotel for about 2 weeks now and so far its rock solid. I have downloaded about 80GB so far and no shaping at all, torrents run full speed. Can stream 720p youtube without any buffering.
 

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#10
They use a Atel LTE router outside with POE, I have the manual at home and post the model no tonight. The router and antenna is one unit.

They first tested inside the house with a Huawei B593 and then used the Atel outdoor unit to test outside.

@Grasmuis any idea what outdoor antenna that is? It could be a Poynting XPOL-0001 but I can't be sure.

BTW Neotel use a standard Huawei B593 LTE CPE, the same device used by Telkom for their LTE (Vodacom now use Zyxel and MTN do a rebranded B593 that is black in colour).
 
Last edited:

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#12

Azimuth

Expert Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2013
Messages
2,191
#13
Thanks for that link - I'll be sure to head there and read more.

Very interesting that they switched from the B593 to Atel. The B593 works flawlessly for everyone else so why not Neotel? Also, did Neotel ever try adding outdoor antennas to the B593?

Thing is, this Atel integrated CPE is severely limited. That antenna can't be more than 2-3dBi gain whereas with the B593, one can use something that gives 12dBi again.
 
Last edited:

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#14
Thanks for that link - I'll be sure to head there and read more.

Very interesting that they switched from the B593 to Atel. The B593 works flawlessly for everyone else so why not Neotel? Also, did Neotel ever try adding outdoor antennas to the B593?

Thing is, this Atel integrated CPE is severely limited. That antenna can't be more than 2-3dBi gain whereas with the B593, one can use something that gives 12dBi again.
I'm not sure why the use the Atel routers. Nope they only tested with the 2 small antennas on the B593.

They installed this Atel AOL-PE103 unit and can't find any specs for this unit.

http://www.asiatelco.com/en/productshow.asp?ID=175&ClassID=59&Path=0|4|50|59|
 
Last edited:
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
7
#17
Thanks for that link - I'll be sure to head there and read more.

Very interesting that they switched from the B593 to Atel. The B593 works flawlessly for everyone else so why not Neotel? Also, did Neotel ever try adding outdoor antennas to the B593?

Thing is, this Atel integrated CPE is severely limited. That antenna can't be more than 2-3dBi gain whereas with the B593, one can use something that gives 12dBi again.
The gain is lost over the length of the cable, depends on what your gain is. Again dependant on distance from base station.. They switched to a single port antenna that operates in bridge mode and the internal ZyXEL does all the IP stuff.. The external antenna is connected to the POE and internal router using UV stabilized CAT5, thereby allowing up to ~80m of cable run. The B593 with a "dumb" antenna limits installation points.. The external gives them more flexibility when signal distribution/penetration isn't so hot. They haven't rolled out enough base stations to be taking significant chunks out of anyone's base yet..
 

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#18
Yes the Atel router is set to bridge mode and the public IP is configured on my mikrotik router, so remote access and NAT works perfect.

Downloading also run at full speed without any shaping > Capture.JPG
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2014
Messages
28
#19
How do you set the Atel router to bridge mode? I also have one but it is not in bridge mode and NAT is a problem now.
 

Grasmuis

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2009
Messages
805
#20
How do you set the Atel router to bridge mode? I also have one but it is not in bridge mode and NAT is a problem now.
The router was pre configured in bridge mode, somewhere in the setting you will find the setting to switch between router or bridge mode. I can make some screenshots tonight of my settings?
 
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