UniFi Review - Part 1

Posted by MyBroadbandNews On Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Author: Bernice Low

Grrr. This is the third time I'm writing this blog entry. I must have Uni-Lins in my system or something. The first time I accidentally hit the close window on Firefox (memo to self: Ask Ed to put in auto save function). The second time, I hit upload, and my wonderful, brand new, 10MB Unifi connection SPAZED on me.

Yes, I got the screen that said "CANNOT CONNECT". The Internet gods clearly have a dark sense of humor.

So, here I am, writing it for the third time. Which means the condensed, condensed version.

Now, most of my regular readers know I am not exactly a big fan of TM, and have been skeptical about the launch of this service in terms of rollout. So you may be wondering: Why on earth did I subscribe?

The answer is, I didn't. My dad, who after years of being technologically conservative, suddenly decided he wanted to be an early adopter and be the first among his 60something clique to have HSBB (he uses the Internet only to buy Air Asia tickets really). So, on the first day of the service's availability, he signed up.

One week later, our house was wired up for Unifi 10MB.

Credit where credit is due, that's pretty fast. Although, of course, it could also be that no one in our area has signed up.

Briefly, it took 3 hours and two technicians to wire up the service. One guy to handle the outside wiring (and there was some snafu there since he ran the wire across the house porch rather than following the old telephone line--more on that later) and one guy to handle the inside. An improvement on the previously documented six guys.

The first thing I did was to check and make sure the network was secure. No sense in tempting the neighbors to break the 10 commandments of Internet use: THOU SHALL NOT COVET THY NEIGHBOR'S BANDWIDTH.

Of course, first, I had to find the box. It had been placed not next to our home PC, but next to the TV, obviously, staking out a space in the Malaysian household's living room. Ours was located on a wooden Ottoman right beside the console that contains the DVD player, DVD recorder and ASTRO! Wonder why?!

The technicians had secured the wireless network.

Our house network setup was as follows: One PC tethered by cable to a Belkin Wired-Wireless Broadband Router + Aztech DSL modem. (Wireless card and Windows XP hated each other on the PC in the house, so the wired connection was inevitable). The rest of the laptops and PCs in the house ran off wireless cards.

Currently, with the Unifi in place, here's the setup. (Look, Ed, PICTURES! Photos taken with BlackBerry Curve, so apologies for the average quality). [Response from Ed: Pictures nevertheless! Time to buy Toto!]

The PC is now connected to the Unifi broadband via Wi-Fi USB Adapter (dongle not included for free, RM40 on the bill).

The FTTH connects to a small socket box (approximately the size of a normal telephone socket box), and then links up to two boxes: A larger modem and a smaller wireless modem.

In addition, there is an IPTV settop box (very plasticky, I knocked it over accidentally when trying to move around the cables to tidy them up. New users: When moving around your modem, be WERY WERY CAREFUL) and a VoIP phone. The phone, according to my mother, dials to any fixed-line number in Peninsular Malaysia for free. THE IPTV, I haven't tried it yet. (To follow.)

You will need a dedicated power outlet with an extension box for all the power outlets. It's a bit of a mess, yes, as the photo below shows.

Medusa's head of wires aside, as with all things and Chinese politicians in Malaysia, it's all about the performance, folks, right?

Since this is the THIRD TIME I'm typing this in, I'll keep it brief.

YOUTUBE - slow. However, apparently YOUTUBE is having trouble today. However, it was definitely faster than normal on the 1mb streamyx. I tried watching 3 minute clips on both normal 360 and the HD 720. It didn't exactly load up instantaneously (I was sort of expecting that after hearing the tales of the speed from friends who had trialled the HSBB but maybe they got the 20MB line!).

QUICKTIME - fast. Watched Ironman 2 and Robin Hood trailers. Both on LARGE setting. The indicator loaded up all the way to the end by the time I was about 1/4 of the way through the trailer. Again, not the WHOOOSH that I expected, but it was certainly a seamless viewing experience with no buffering. Nice experience watching trailers without having to wait.

ABC.COM - I'm a huge Castle fan so I checked out their site which is video heavy. Took about 5 seconds for the site to start loading video (again, I kinda thought it was be like instant) but again, seamless and very pleasant viewing experience.

DVD RIPPING SOFTWARE - 7.4mb download. Took about 1 minute. Again, not like going down the rabbit hole to Wonderland, but fast nonetheless. The indicator progressed at a very respectable clip with no interruptions.
The rest of the pages I visited were mostly FB, Gmail and Malaysian-Insider. For these pages, the experience is very negligibly different in my view in terms of using the Unifi and normal Streamyx, mostly because I think the site's loading is dependent on the external server's speed (Malaysian-Insider was slow for some reason)

SKYPE - my mom tried to speak to my aunt in Taiwan. For some strange reason, the image reception was grainy and unclear. However, we don't know what the image was like on the other side for them. And our home PC is pretty old. So re-testing that on my Mac later.

Generally, I haven't felt like what I have in my house is the F1 of Broadband. But it is clearly a faster experience on heavy multimedia pages. The question is whether or not that speed is going to be addictive, and whether or not the speed is worth RM199 (I am in the skeptics camp so..)
In any case, I plan to further test the uplink by uploading a huge DVD file to my fileshare account to further roadtest the service. Hopefully THIS TIME when I click upload, my blog entry will go through and there won't be a SPAZ OUT moment.


  1. aredhel Said,

    RM199 would be 120GB of monthly download right? TM said no capping as of yet. I am wondering about one thing though, that 120GB of data download is inclusive of TV, phone and internet or specifically for internet which would mean the TV and phone data transfer is unlimited? I would very much like to know how is UniFi treating you so far.

    I recently changed my 1Mb streamyx to 2Mb ... fast response on their part since it took less than 3 days to process and set everything up from the day I signed up. Oh I demanded a router that is NOT Aztech and I think my screeching over the phone and saying Aztech sucks helped a bit. Got the TM's DLink instead. Woohoo!

    Nearly 8Mb in less than a minute. That is not bad. Wi-Fi USB Adapter for RM40? Monthly payment or a one time payment? Are there any hidden charges to go with that RM199 like service tax and whatnots? We all know how companies love all those hidden things.

    Posted on January 12, 2011 at 9:40 AM

  2. Jason Hor Said,

    I believe the monthly cap is not including IPTV and phone usage. as TM mentioned IPTV will be allocated separate bandwidth and watching IPTV will not decrease your surfing speed.

    Posted on January 13, 2011 at 10:13 AM


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