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Since its launch in 2019, Vodafone’s 5G network was the first of its kind to roll out to Irish users and has been evolving ever since. Originally launch in 5 major cities (Dublin. Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway) Vodafone then upgraded the Aviva Stadium to support 5G connectivity. To help bring these greatly improved connection speeds to more homes, Vodafone launched their new 5G-ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband earlier this summer which can be seen as an evolution of its existing mobile broadband offering. This new broadband service (which uses a Huawei 5G ready modem) is portable, which offers a nice bit of flexibility when looking to connect to Vodafone’s Mobile Network, no matter where you are. We’ve been testing this offering out for a few weeks now and here we thought.

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband | TheEffect.Net

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband | TheEffect.Net

Set-Up & Features

Setting up the 5G-ready modem was pretty painless, as you can imagine, as all you need to do is plug it in, insert the supplied 5G capable SIM card into the bottom of the device and then it should automatically connect to Vodafone’s mobile network.

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband | TheEffect.Net

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband | TheEffect.Net

There is a QR on the bottom of the device that should allow you to automatically connect to the device’s Wi-Fi network but you can also install Huawei’s ‘AI Life‘ connected devices app to help further tweak the modem’s settings/passwords, check for updates for the modem and set up things such as ‘Guest Wi-Fi’ options.

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband options menu via the Huawei AI Life app | TheEffect.Net

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband options menu via the Huawei AI Life app | TheEffect.Net

You also have the ability to connect up to 60 devices to the modem which, unfortunately but not surprisingly, we weren’t able to test out. We did connect about 10 devices though and things seemed to work fine for each of them with them streaming and downloading various forms of media without any issues.  The modem allows you to run a diagnosis program to help check for anything that might be causing issues with your connection.

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband options menu via the Huawei AI Life app | TheEffect.Net

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband options menu via the Huawei AI Life app | TheEffect.Net

Speeds

Going by Vodafone’s website, it claims its 5G network is capable of up to 1Gbps which, when put into context, is equal to the fastest speeds offered by dedicated line (fibre/cable) providers in Ireland such as eir, Virgin Media and Sky. In practice though, achieving these lofty speed is slightly more hit and miss but, on the whole, overall speed levels were still extremely impressive for the device.

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband | TheEffect.NetThanks to its built in ethernet ports on the rear, you’re also able to hardwire devices to the modem to hopefully give you more consistent speeds. When connected to our Windows PC laptop via ethernet cable, we were clocking speeds of around 620Mbps on average.

The average speed I was getting when connecting my Windows PC laptop via ethernet to Vodafone’s 5G-Ready modem | TheEffect.Net

Switching over to the Wi-Fi connection of the modem, which also offers both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network options (former should offer wider range with slightly slower speeds with the latter offering faster speeds but a shorter range) we were clocking speeds of around 230Mbps, so less than half.

The average speed I was getting when connected via Wi-Fi to Vodafone's 5G-Ready modem | TheEffect.Net

The average speed I was getting when connecting my Windows PC laptop via Wi-Fi to Vodafone’s 5G-Ready modem | TheEffect.Net

Now, this is more than likely due to the actual Wi-Fi limitations of our aging Windows PC laptop as, when we tested the same network on our Pixel 6 Pro device, which supports Wi-Fi 6, we were recording speeds of 730Mbps. This obviously isn’t the expected ‘1Gbps’ speed claims Vodafone’s 5G network is capable of but is still very impressive.

The average speed I was getting when connecting my Pixel 6 Pro via Wi-Fi to Vodafone's 5G-Ready modem | TheEffect.Net

The average speed I was getting when connecting my Pixel 6 Pro via Wi-Fi to Vodafone’s 5G-Ready modem | TheEffect.Net

Connectivity

As I said at this start, Vodafone’s 5G network is still growing and is going to be at its fastest in cities such as Dublin. Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway. I reviewed the device in my apartment in Dublin 4 and assume I’m getting some of the best speeds available on their 5G network but the modem can connect to both 4G and 5G networks so, where 5G isn’t available, it will connect to the 4G network automatically. Speeds on 4G will be markedly slower but still, for most tasks, should still be perfectly fine for general Wi-Fi and broadband use.

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband | TheEffect.Net

Vodafone 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband front display LEDs and WPS/HiLink Button | TheEffect.Net

Conclusion

Having tested Vodafone’s 5G-ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband for a month or two now, I have to say I’m impressed with what’s on offer here. Their 5G speeds truly are fantastic, if you’re lucky enough to be in an area where its available and the modem itself is an impressive device with all the bells and whistles you’d expected from any other feature-packed modem.

I was consistently getting Wi-Fi speeds of over 500Mbps on my newer portable devices and this is more than enough to look after most modern household needs, be it streaming or even downloading large movie files, video calling friends and family or just checking things up on the internet.

The fact its also truly unlimited also means you don’t have to worry about going over your download limit in a given month which just adds to your peace of mind.

Pricing & Availability

Vodafone’s 5G-Ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband plan is available for €45/month on a 12 month contract with the cost of the 5G-Ready Huawei Modem coming in at €99 as a once-off fee.

REVIEW: Vodafone 5G-ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband Modem
  • Set-Up & Features
  • Speeds
  • Connectivity
4.2

Summary

Having tested Vodafone’s 5G-ready Unlimited Mobile Broadband for a month or two now, I have to say I’m impressed with what’s on offer here. Their 5G speeds truly are fantastic, if you’re lucky enough to be in an area where its available and the modem itself is an impressive device with all the bells and whistles you’d expected from any other feature-packed modem.

John Reilly

John is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheEffect.Net. His favourite gaming series is Uncharted and his favourite film is Interstellar. He is also known to quote 'Father Ted' and Keith Lemon more than is normal. John@theeffect.net