The Problem with My Old Pocket Wifi
I have an old Sun Broadband pocket wifi (E5832) which I hadn’t been using because I couldn’t get it to work. The Sun plan it came with had long since expired (did not renew), and I wanted to use a Globe prepaid SIM on it. I took it to Greenhills to get unlocked last year, but after coming home, I wasn’t able to get it to work with other SIMs – the Globe SIM was getting a good signal, wifi is working, but there was no internet.
Since I was always in a hurry to leave every time I thought about using my pocket wifi, I didn’t really spend time to figure out what was wrong. I just end up using my 3G tablet as a wifi hotspot instead.
Consider Buying a Non-Locked Manufacturer Pocket Wifi
I was browsing Lazada when I saw that non-telco branded pocket wifi prices were becoming more affordable. I actually found one for only P1,890! It was a Huawei E5330 that has speeds of up to 21Mbps and can connect up to 10 devices. I knew that Lazada had a Mastercard Monday promo where I can get 10% OFF, so that it would end up costing only P1,700. Lazada also has other promos with P200-500 OFF that I can wait for, too.
Telco-branded ones cost around P1,500… but considering the money I would be spending to have it unlocked (anywhere from P200-800, depending on haggling skills), the time and effort and transpo costs to go to Greenhills, plus the inevitable meals we’d have to take there, I think the P1,700 unlocked pocket wifi is a better deal. There’s also less headache – no worrying about incompatibilities or about if the unlocking was done wrong. The hassles of getting it unlocked are just too much trouble to save a measly P200.
I was already about 85% decided on buying the Huawei pocket wifi until it occurred to me that maybe the reason I couldn’t get internet from the pocket wifi, was because it was using the wrong APN. I was so used to the APN being set up automatically, I forgot that I may have to do so manually with this OLD pocket wifi.
How I Got My Old Pocket Wifi to Work
At first, I tried doing it via 192.168.1.1 (wifi router’s admin panel) , and was frustrated that everything was greyed out. I couldn’t edit anything. It was defaulted to the Sun Broadband settings.
Then I remembered that the Sun Broadband pocket wifi had a desktop app (you need to connect the pocket wifi to your computer using the USB wire). I created a new profile for Globe Prepaid Internet, saved it and set it to default. IT WORKED!
I turned off the pocket wifi, and turned it back on, and it’s still working using Globe internet. The settings on 192.168.1.1 are still showing Sun Broadband, but as long as the internet is working, I won’t let it bother me. (Note: for my new Huawei pocket wifi, I access the pocket wifi settings page by typing in 192.168.8.1)
I was going to post pictures of the settings, but I found this video on Youtube which shows how to do it much better, and he is using the same pocket wifi model as I am:
FYI, he also has a video on how to unlock a pocket wifi, which I wish I had seen before going to Greenhills.
Now that the pocket wifi is working, there’s no need for me to buy a new one just yet. Sure, my pocket wifi is OLD and has a download speed of maybe 3.6 or 7.2 Mbps (not really sure), but I don’t usually get higher than that, anyway. Last night, my Speedtest result using Globe Prepaid was only 1.82 Mbps (download) at Shangri-la Plaza. So there’s no pressing reason for me to get a faster pocket wifi if the current internet speeds can’t even max out my old one.
But even though I did not end up buying a new pocket wifi, if YOU are looking to buy a pocket wifi of your own, I think you should consider buying an unlocked one (non-LTE). The prices have gone down enough to make it worthwhile, if you factor in using some promo codes to get discounts. Also compute how much trouble and money it would be to have a locked pocket wifi unlocked – if you DIY it, are you tech-savvy enough to be able to do this in less than 30 minutes or will you waste an entire afternoon figuring it out? If you will have it unlocked somewhere like Greenhills, how much will the unlocking fee, your gas, parking, taxi, food and time cost (don’t forget the annoyance you will get from haggling!)?
If my old pocket wifi was actually broken and unusable, I would probably be buying an unlocked pocket wifi, too. If something changes, I probably will. But hopefully my old pocket wifi lasts me long enough until LTE becomes more widespread and unlocked, manufacturer-branded LTE pocket wifi prices come further down.
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The Barat Queen
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