Since the second quarter of this year, there was a sudden spike in demand for home broadband due to the work-from-home setup brought upon by the lockdown. By the third quarter of the year, a further surge in demand was felt as the school opening started and everyone had to resort to online classes.
Telcos and internet service providers recorded a surge in subscriber base, revenues, and profits by the end of the 3rd quarter. PLDT even posted a 95% increase in net income for the quarter and estimates that their 2020 results will be much better than 2019, despite the pandemic.
For most students who are attending online classes, the immediate and most cost-efficient solution for home broadband is to get a prepaid home WiFi. They’re affordable and easy to install with each unit going for only PHP 1,995 (it started out as high as PHP 2,495 when it first came out). This is especially crucial in areas where fixed wired solutions are readily available (more so in the provinces and many rural areas).
PLDT has ramped up its offering of prepaid data plans that cater either to WFH employees and students. You can easily load up the PLDT Home WiFi Prepaid with different data packages. FamLoad 199 now has 24GB of data for seven days, FamLoad 599 comes with 80GB of data for 15 days, FamLoad 999 has 130GB of data for 30 days, and FamLoad 1499 gives you a generous 200GB of data for 30 days.
There are actually a number of variants of the PLDT Home Prepaid modems. One is the PLDT Home WiFi Advance which sells at PHP 1,995 with a model name Evoluzn FX-ID5. The other one with a model name Boost Even R281 also sells for PHP 1,995 (from PHP 2,495). There’s also a much older modem that’s cylindrical in shape with a model name of Green Packet D2K-FT10.
You need to take note of these differences in their modem features so when you purchase one of them, you know which one is the best fit for you and your location. The Green Packet modem only supports 4G while the Boost Even supports both 3G and 4G and the Evoluzn supports 2G, 3G and 4G.
In terms of WiFi capability, the Green Packet modem only broadcasts at the 2.4GHz frequency while the Evoluzn and Boost Even support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
When you want to hook up to the modem via the LAN port, take note that the Green Packet only has one LAN port while the Evoluzn has 3 ports and the Boost Even has 4 LAN ports. Evoluzn’s 4th port is a WAN port that also serves as a wired connection to Fiber broadband or VDSL, technically doubling as a fiber/DSL modem as well (for when you finally switch to a fixed broadband subscription in the future). This is good as a back-up solution where your primary is wired and your secondary is wireless with both using the same router.
Among the three, both the Evoluzn and Boosteven modems are more capable have better features. Evoluzn’s DSL/fiber modem capability might come in handy to those who are looking for a wired and wireless broadband solution at home (works as a dual-WAN Failover feature). The Boosteven has an option to hook up to an external antenna to help boost the signal in areas where LTE is weak.
As for internet speeds, simultaneously loaded all three modems with a Smart 5G SIM and ran Speedtest.net multiple times (10x per batch of test) at different times of the day to get the average.
Here are the results:
Boost Even: 15.3Mbps (Down), 6.1Mbps (Up), 21ms (Latency)
Evoluzn: 15.1Mbps (Down), 8.3Mbps (Up), 20ms (Latency)
Green Packet: 10.4MBps (Down), 5.1Mbps (Up), 24ms (Latency)
The Home WiFi Modems are already pre-configured right out of the box but can still be updated and managed thru a browser-based Admin tool. This is important so you can change the default settings of the modem, like the WiFi name, password and admin access for security purposes. For topping up, there are several options but the best and easiest way we found was using the GigaLife app as it gives you all the options for subscribing to data promos.
In summary, here’s is our rundown of the 3 PLDT Home WiFi Prepaid modems based on features, ranked by preference:
* This is the newest of the line-up of PLDT Home WiFi Prepaid modems.
* Supports mobile internet from 2G to 4G signals
* Has a lot of LAN ports
* Has a dedicated WAN port
* Supports dual-WAN Failover
* Most affordable with a limited offer of only Php995
* Fastest download and upload speeds and latency
Boost Even R281
* Supports 3G and 4G mobile signal
* Has 4 LAN ports
* Support for external antenna
* Equally fast download and 2nd in upload and latency
* Oldest PLDT Home WiFi Prepaid modem
* Only has single LAN port
* Only supports 4G signal