After a few visits to BSNL office, we were able to lay our hands on their newly launched WiMax internet CPE. There are 3 types of CPE offered by BSNL, one is the USB dongle which is priced at Rs.2800, second one is somewhat similar to ADSL Wifi modem like and priced at Rs.4000 and the last one which we tested is the outdoor CPE priced at Rs.5000. This outdoor CPE will obviously have the best reception and when we tested, we found that it’s so powerful that it even worked when kept indoor! As advised by BSNL we installed it (we rejected the technical staff of BSNL request to install it for us) at 10 feet height on roof and aligned to the BSNL telephone exchange where it got the best signals. We have cat5 internal wiring in our building so we used that instead of LAN cable provided to avoid wire clutter. Also the LAN cable provided for ODU is only of 5 mtrs length which is insufficient.
Setting this device is pretty simple, there is a clamp provided which is used to attach the outdoor unit (ODU) to the pole and a long LAN patch cable which is used to connect the ODU to the indoor unit (IDU). A smaller LAN patch cable connects the IDU to PC. The IDU looks almost like a laptop charger but it’s much lighter as if it has nothing inside it. As soon as we power on the IDU, after few seconds we are connected to internet (no dialing nothing) and speed was surprisingly dot accurate 512 kbps (Update: Now speed offered in this plan is 1 Mbps) which is offered in unlimited plan. Sometimes it takes its own sweet time to connect to base station and it can be really frustrating to user.
Speed increases to 3.1 mbps at night but drops again to 512 in morning. This is not mentioned at BSNL website so might not be official. (UPDATE: This bounty is no more, how sad!) Talking of plans, there are four plans for home users and three for business. Plans start from Rs.220 per month which offers tiny 400mb download limit. Rs. 350 home plan gives you 1 GB download limit and Rs.750 plan will give you 4GB limit at speed upto 2mbps. However if you are okay with lesser speed of 512kbps, then BSNL gives you pure unlimited plan at Rs.750. Your monthly bill will be Plan cost + CPE rent + Tax. CPE rent will be Rs.40 for USB dongle and Rs.50 for outdoor CPE. At the time of purchase you have to pay 50% of the price of CPE (you can pay full price or buy your own CPE from market to avoid rent) and one month plan charge in advance. For example if someone opts for home unlimited plan and outdoor CPE then total amount is Rs.2500 + 750 = Rs.3250
Here is the screenshot of Wimax admin page accessible from IP address: http://192.168.1.1. Default password of which is admin.
While positioning the CPE, notice the CINR value, lowest working value is 15 and one should try to position the CPE where highest value of CINR is achieved for reliable connectivity.
RSSI: Radio Signal Strength Indication
CINR: Carrier Interference Noise Ratio
BSID: Base Station Identifier
TxPwr: This parameter specifies the total uplink transmission power of the SS/MS across all active subcarriers during the most recent frame in which it transmitted uplink burst(s) at the time of reporting. The values are quantized in 0.5dB steps ranging from -64dBm to 63.5dBm. The integer in the field is divided by 2 in order to obtain the value in dBm.