Is That a Router in Your Pocket, or are You Just Happy to See Me?

Yesterday, I actually got to put the router from Freedom Pop in a real world usage. The speed seems fine, however I do find some things with it I am not fond of. So, here is my review.

The Good

It is small. It is smaller then the size of a hockey puck. You could even put it in your pants pocket. I am a little more intelligent about where my router goes, and keep it in the back pack. As long as there is a good Wimax signal, you should have no problems with connectivity. While the device does support 8 devices, it is realistically intended for a single person to use.

The Bad

The router takes about 5 minutes for it to completely boot up. This is for it to start it POST (Power On System Test), find the Wimax signal, and start the Wifi Radio. I would have expected a better boot up results.

The router according to Freedom POP is a resource hog. I had the device on for less than 30 minutes twice, and both times, it used an average of 10MB. If it continued on that rate – it would have used 20MB for every hour. In about 25 hours, a person on a free plan would be paying overages. Now, I wouldn’t be complaining if I was doing streaming, or anything like that – but I was doing basic web browsing, and email. I truly found that hard to believe that I will use 20 MB in less than hour with such minimal usage.

The Ugly

I am not going into detail of the customer service, nor delivery delay. You can read about that in my First Impressions Blog Post ( http://fsp.cc/250 ). However, I am going to go into the pricing plans. The 500MB is free for anyone. The overage is 2¢ per MB, or based on my notice of usage – about 20¢ per hour of basic usage. Yes, there are other plans, and they maybe cheaper than the carriers, but they are also more limited. And if Clearwire (Freedom POP’s Backbone provider) remains on Wimax, they will not survive. If they move to LTE, all of the current devices will be legacy, and no longer working.

Verdict

If you are willing to keep an eye on the usage, and not use the service for audio/video streaming or large downloads – you should be fine provided you have no problems. Keep in mind the only customer support reply I ever received was after I threatened to have my bank do a chargeback. This would not have looked good with Freedom POP, so their reputation with my bank as a legitimate company could have come in question. This does not give me a good taste in my mouth for customer service. On an optimism side, it will be unlikely they will get worse.

The price is better than the typical big 4 carriers, however the overages will kill you. Be prepared for customer service problems, and the fact that basic web browsing somehow eats 10MB per hour. If you are willing to look past those issues, then you should be fine, and Freedom POP might be a consideration. Keep in mind, that the speed and reliability is based on the Fusion Router in the Pittsburgh PA area of the United States. Your device, and location might be dramatically different.

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