UniFi Review

Overview

www.unifi.my

UniFi is a broadband internet service provided by Malaysia’s biggest telecommunications company, Telekom Malaysia Berhad, abbreviated TM. UniFi is also known as the High- Speed Broadband (HSBB) project. The purpose of the High- Speed Broadband (HSBB) project is to upgrade Malaysia’s outdated and incompetent broadband internet infrastructure. The HSBB project commenced on September 2008 with a budget of RM11.3 billion as a joint venture between the government of Malaysia and Telekom Malaysia Berhad. The HSBB project was officially made public in March 2010 under the product name, UniFi which is an amalgamation of ”Uni” which denotes integration and ”Fi” which represents fiber- optic communication. UniFi launched with 3 plans, namely VIP5 at RM149, VIP10 at RM199 and VIP20 at RM249. UniFi is one of the few triple- play services in Malaysia, offering broadband internet, television (IPTV) and VoIP telephony services, all in one package. As of August 2012, UniFi has racked up an incredible 400,000 subscribers and is steadily gaining in popularity among Malaysians.

NOTE : If you are an experienced UniFi user, I suggest you skip to the Review section below to save some time. You may also continue on to the High- Speed Broadband section if you have time to spare. 

High- Speed Broadband

Menara TM, Headquarters of the Malaysian telecommunications company, Telekom Malaysia Berhad.

What is high- speed broadband ? In layman terms, high- speed broadband refers to broadband internet service with high download and upload speeds. However, there is no real standard definition of high- speed broadband, so it becomes a matter of personal opinion. As for myself, broadband services with download speeds of 1 Mbps [Megabit(s) per second] and above are considered high- speed broadband. However, to most of us in the developed world, anything short of 100 Mbps download fails to graduate to high- speed broadband status. This is especially true in countries like Sweden, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong where 100 Mbps download and upload speeds define the standards of true high- speed broadband. What’s more, services are of high standard and provided at reasonable prices too. Most Malaysians only get 2- 4 Mbps download speed on average, and the quality of service and pricing are also questionable. Thus, UniFi was created in an effort to solve this problem, to better prepare and serve Malaysians as we fast approach the coveted title of a developed nation.

The Material

Fiber Optic

Telekom Malaysia prides itself on being one of Malaysia’s few premier high- speed broadband internet service providers (ISP). UniFi offers up to 20 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds. This has been made possible, in part, thanks to the new fiber optic broadband infrastructure which serves as the lifeblood of not only UniFi, but of Maxis Home and other ISPs in Malaysia as well. The technology behind fiber optic communication allows for the efficient transmission of large volumes of data in a digital format over long distances. Prior to the introduction of UniFi, Malaysia’s broadband infrastructure was made up of conventional copper cable with several fiber optic backbones. Copper cable was originally intended for use in telephony services but was later improvised to support broadband services as well. Streamyx, which is currently Malaysia’s most popular broadband internet service at about 1.7 million users is based on copper cable. The now outdated copper cable is currently being replaced worldwide by the more advanced and efficient fiber optic cable. The major disadvantages of copper cable communication include ;

  • Transmission of data in the inferior analogue format.
  • Prone to service disruptions due to rain and flooding.
  • Affected by heat, magnets and electromagnetic fields.
  • Cannot transmit large volumes of data over great distances efficiently (low bandwidth/ high resistance).
  • The transmission of data takes a greater amount of time (higher ping).

The major advantages of copper cable communication, however few, include ;

  • Greater coverage and availability nationwide.
  • Cheaper than fiber optic communication.
  • Does not require much skilled labour.

Fiber optic communication does not suffer from any of the aforementioned problems. Some of the advantages of this technology include ;

  • Transmission of data in the superior digital format.
  • Data is transmitted at the speed of light; The transmission of data takes a lesser amount of time (lower ping).
  • Able to transmit large volumes of data over great distances efficiently (high bandwidth/ low resistance).
  • Not affected by external elements such as heat and rain.

The disadvantages of fiber optic communication include ;

  • More expensive than copper cable communication. ( cost factor )
  • Low coverage and availability nationwide. ( time and cost factor )
  • Requires more skilled labour. ( cost factor )

It is obvious that fiber optic communication is the technology of the future. The few disadvantages are merely cost and time factors which will eventually be overcome in the near future. The technology itself is near- flawless since it was designed specifically for the purpose of supporting broadband services. Now we know why TM chose to rebuild Malaysia’s broadband infrastructure from scratch with the help of fiber optic technology.

The Speed

As mentioned above, UniFi offers up to 20 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload speeds. How much can one do with 40 Mbps of combined broadband bandwidth ? Here are several dreams made possible by UniFi ;

  • Download videos, photos, audio etc. at blisteringly fast speeds. You can download a 1 GB file in mere minutes !
  • Enjoy your online video games with no lag and a silky smooth experience. Low ping and smooth connections to both local and international servers will give you a massive advantage over your rivals.
  • * Get all the games, movies and songs you will ever need. Thanks to high download speeds and bandwidth, thousands of movies, games and songs are at your very fingertips.
  • Never have to wait for that YouTube video to buffer again, HD or SD.
  • Turn your PC into an internet host server. Thanks to the high upload speeds and bandwidth, your PC can serve as an internet host server for business purposes and more.

Note : * Download at your own risk. Piracy and file sharing are against the law in most countries.

Internet Protocol Television (IPTV)

HyppTV, in High Definition.

UniFi is among the few broadband services in Malaysia which offer Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). What is IPTV ? Basically, IPTV is a form of television service which is transmitted by means of the internet. The television service infrastructure in Malaysia makes use of satellite and radio transmission platforms today. In the early days, television is Malaysia was limited to the use of radio wave communication. Malaysians had to use aerials to tune into what few channels which had existed. During the 90s, satellite television took off in Malaysia with the launch of ASTRO. Today, ASTRO is Malaysia’s premier television service provider. Prior to the launch of UniFi, IPTV services in Malaysia were mostly negligible, although in existence. The failure of the Malaysian broadband infrastructure in serving the various IPTV services has turned Malaysia into a country which depends on satellite transmission for television services. While satellites are advanced and considered futuristic by many of us, it is still flawed in many areas and is not popular in countries with advanced broadband infrastructures like Japan and South Korea. Some disadvantages of satellite television include ;

  • Poor service whenever it rains due to signal interruptions.
  • Linear television streaming; No pausing, rewinding or fast- forwarding. (In the case of ASTRO B.yond, a hard disk drive is used to store the data, not the satellites themselves.)
  • Considerable lag (latency) during transmission of data (higher ping). When watching a live broadcast (football match, news etc. ), you are actually lagging several hundred milliseconds behind.
  • Satellites are expensive to build.

The only reason why satellites are still in use in television service infrastructures is because of the ability of satellites to serve any customer anywhere in the world. Hence, 100% nationwide coverage is possible. Isolated and underdeveloped rural areas are able to receive television service thanks to satellite communication. This is especially true in Borneo Malaysia and the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. If satellite television did not exist, these people would have to rely on conventional radio wave communication, which is often worse in terms of quality of service if compared to satellite television.

Thanks to the all- new fiber optic broadband infrastructure, IPTV in Malaysia has finally kicked off successfully with TM’s HyppTV service. Now Malaysians can enjoy the television service infrastructure of the future. The advantages of IPTV include;

  • High quality service 24/7. Data is transmitted via fiber optic cables which are unaffected by external factors such as rain.
  • Dynamic television streaming; The user can pause, rewind and fast- forward at any time. Data is stored and retrieved from computer servers. (Similar to YouTube)
  • Minimal lag (lower ping). Truly live broadcasts are made possible.
  • Video On Demand (VOD) services are possible. For example, the user is able to watch his or her movie of choice at any time during the day. (Similar to YouTube)
  • Slightly sharper and clearer video quality thanks to the transmission of data in a digital format and noise reduction. True HD is made possible.
  • Greater interactivity with the service. Users get to use various internet- based services right on their TV screen, like YouTube, Facebook and others.

The only downside is that IPTV requires an advanced broadband infrastructure to function optimally. With the launch of the HSBB project, this is no longer a problem for Malaysia, at least, for those of us in the covered areas, namely the Klang Valley and parts of Penang and Johore among others. It will take several years before all of Malaysia is covered by the HSBB network. Until then, satellite television will remain the platform of choice for the majority of Malaysians. IPTV has been adopted in recent years by many countries worldwide. Malaysia has now jumped onto the bandwagon to the future thanks to UniFi and HyppTV.

VoIP Telephone Service

The telephone has been around since the late 1800s and the early 1900s. The majority of Malaysians today are subscribers to the conventional fixed line and cellular (handphone) services. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a recent entry in this market. What is VoIP ? Similar to IPTV, VoIP makes use of the internet for telephony services instead of the conventional point- to- point method. There are several advantages of VoIP, namely;

  • Crystal clear audio/ voice quality thanks to the transmission of data via fiber optic cables in a digital format.
  • Minimal lag (lower ping). You will not notice any delay in the voice transmissions (except during international calls).
  • Minimal service disruptions. VoIP depends on the secure broadband infrastructure (not radio towers which are affected by rain etc.).
  • User- friendly. VoIP DECT phones are more modern and advanced than standard home telephones.

There are also several disadvantages of VoIP telephony services;

  • Requires an advanced broadband internet infrastructure.
  • Power source is required for the VoIP telephone; Increased electricity consumption.
  • Not portable as it is a form of fixed land line communication.
  • VoIP telephones are slightly more expensive than conventional telephones.

VoIP telephony services are usually more economical if bundled together with a broadband internet plan. UniFi offers VoIP in addition to high- speed broadband and IPTV services. However, VoIP telephony services are not popular worldwide. Most people prefer cellular services as opposed to fixed lines. Since VoIP is a form of land line, it can only compete directly with the conventional fixed land line service providers. In short, VoIP can be considered as an added bonus in the UniFi package at least and a technological achievement at best.

Review

Fiber Optic

I wrote this review for several reasons, with the main goal of giving potential UniFi customers and new UniFi subscribers valuable insight and knowledge regarding this service. I made sure to write this review in a professional, non- biased manner so that it will appeal to as many readers as possible. This is my first written review of a product and I would like to apologize if it fails to meet your expectations. I understand that many of the statements below lack supporting evidence. You may choose to trust or to disregard those statements, the choice is entirely up to you. However, I would like to make it clear that I gain nothing by cheating or tricking others with false information, and that I am most certainly against propaganda, favouritism and fanboyism.

My History with UniFi

UniFi Modems

I first heard of this high- speed broadband service in late 2009. During this period, it was known as the HSBB (High- Speed Broadband) project. In November 2009, my residence qualified for the HSBB beta testing program, which was limited to 4 selected key areas in the Klang Valley, namely Shah Alam, Bangsar, Taman Tun Dr. Ismail and Subang Jaya, the latter being my place of residence. The beta testing program was free of charge but limited to several hundred beta testers only. The installation process commenced in November 2009. During this period, download speeds and upload speeds were both limited to 15 Mbps. Later in early 2010, prior to the official launch, both download and upload speeds were raised to 20 Mbps without charge. In March 2010, the HSBB project was finalized and launched with the product name, UniFi. 3 plans were available; VIP5 at RM149, VIP10 at RM199 and VIP20 at RM249. Later in Mid- 2010, payment for the service ensued (previously the service was free of charge to all beta testers). I subscribed to the VIP5 plan initially but upgraded to the VIP20 plan a few days later. All beta testers and TM staff members only pay RM119 for VIP5, RM129 for VIP10 and RM139 for VIP20. There were no developments or changes in the whole of 2011. In January 2012, I migrated my UniFi account to my new home. This concludes my history with UniFi up ’till the time of writing.

NOTE : All comments on UniFi below are based on my experience with the UniFi VIP20 plan unless stated otherwise.

Downloading with UniFi

From my experience with UniFi,

Downloading has become more frequent and economical. I no longer have to wait long hours to download updates for my PC, Antivirus and others. Disruptions and disconnections are few and far between. Downloads to local servers are extremely fast and usually peak at 19.5 Mbps. However, downloading from international servers, specifically from servers in the United States will take a little longer. This is probably due, but not limited to the distance and heavy international traffic from other countries and non- UniFi users. Either way, downloads are still adequately fast to any capable internet server, regardless of location. Download speeds also remain relatively constant throughout the day, even during peak hours. It is likely that the current server/ bandwidth capacity of UniFi exceeds expectations because never in my 2 years of experience have I experienced hard capping or throttling on UniFi. What more can I say ? You must experience UniFi to believe it.

*File Sharing with UniFi

From my experience with UniFi,

File sharing no longer took days on end. The sole website I relied on for file sharing was The Pirate Bay. Thanks to The Pirate Bay, I managed to seek out almost all of my favourite songs and television shows. For files which had thousands of seeders, downloading only took mere minutes for whole song albums (audio). As for television shows (videos), it took significantly longer due to the increased file sizes. I recall downloading an entire collection of Air Crash Investigation episodes (about 20 GBs of data !) in under 48 hours, with only a hundred or so seeders if I’m not mistaken. I rarely had to wait too long to get anything. UniFi also made my PC into a superb seeding machine. I recall witnessing my downloading agent recording upload speeds of 19- 20 Mbps many times. All- in- all, it is estimated that I’ve downloaded almost 2 TBs worth of data in one year of file sharing based on records from my downloading agent. That was nothing though, there are UniFi users out there who download 3- 4 TBs worth of data on a monthly basis ! That’s over 40 TBs per year ! Anyway, I stopped file sharing in 2011, feeling guilty and cheapskate. I no longer did any file sharing with UniFi since then. All of these statements are based on my experience in late 2009 and 2010.

* File sharing is against the law in most countries. File share at your own risk. 

YouTube with UniFi

From my experience with UniFi,

Buffering on YouTube has now become a thing of the past. These days I only need click on any video and get to watch it instantly, regardless of whether it’s in SD or HD. Gone are the days of endless disruptions and buffering. UniFi VIP20 will make short work of any YouTube video, loading a 3 or 4 minute long YouTube Full-HD 1080p video in less than a minute. UniFi VIP5 also streams YouTube Full-HD 1080p videos without any buffering, albeit significantly slower than UniFi VIP20. Since the majority of new YouTube HD videos are mirror hosted locally, UniFi users get to exploit the full potential of the service. From various tests and critical observations over the past 2 years, I can safely confirm that UniFi streams YouTube HD videos at near maximum capacity. That is, if you subscribed for UniFi VIP20, your YouTube HD videos will stream at exactly or close to 20 Mbps. However, this does not apply for YouTube SD videos (240p, 360p and 480p) because YouTube hard caps video streaming on YouTube SD. Thankfully, YouTube HD (720p and 1080p) has no such capping. I have used various software to confirm these statements, such as DU Meter and YouTube’s own speed test. If you don’t believe me, you can always ask other UniFi users about their YouTube experience. I assure you will get only smiles in return.

Online Gaming with UniFi

From my experience with UniFi,

Online gaming has never been this fun or exciting. UniFi is the hardcore gamer’s wet dream. Thanks to the superior quality of service that UniFi offers, online gamers get to play games the way they were meant to be. As an online gamer myself, I can safely assure Malaysian online gamers nationwide that UniFi is the service to go for, without a doubt. I have archived valuable information regarding the performance of UniFi in online gaming over the course of 15 months. I’ve summarized them down below for your viewing pleasure, enjoy.

Ping/ Latency

When it comes to ping or latency, UniFi has it all, thanks to next- gen fiber optic technology. As you may already know, ping or latency is critical in live applications, such as live conferencing, live news, live video chat and of course, online gaming. Ping/ Latency is especially important in First- Person Shooter (FPS) games. Simply put, ping is basically a form of measurement that refers to the time taken for one packet of data to reach an internet host server and back, that is, a round- trip. Latency refers to the time delay experienced in a system. The time delays of both ping and latency are usually displayed in milliseconds. For example, when someone in Kuala Lumpur pings a server in California, an average of 200 milliseconds of delay will occur before a response is received. 0.2 seconds…. that’s all it takes for a packet of data to travel across the Pacific Ocean and back. Fast ? For most online gamers, the answers would be mostly negative in nature. Why is that ? How is that not fast ? Well, if you’re an online gamer, you probably already know why. For those of you who are not online gamers, I have written an explanation below.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 Online Gameplay

Lets take for example, the popular online First Person Shooter (FPS), Call of Duty, which has a strong fan base here in Malaysia. When playing Call of Duty online, the player with the lowest ping or latency to the host server will have a large advantage over all other players. By the way, the host server is a computer which ”serves” players in an online game by acting as a connecting bridge between all of the players in the session. Back to the point, the player with the lowest ping value will not experience much lag or delays. In the still frame above, you can observe the player is firing his gun at the enemy, which is directly in front of him. When he fires his gun at the enemy, several packets of data are sent to the host server. The host server then transmits this data to all of the other players in the session. Only then is the enemy killed. Assuming that the ping value or latency of a player is high, it will take significantly longer for his kill to register on the host server. Most gamers call this phenomenon lag. The player who lags will be set at a disadvantage in any online game. Thus, ping is very important in online gaming. The lower your ping, the better. Ping is affected by many factors, among them the location of the host server, quality of the broadband internet service and servers and the ”ping route” taken. UniFi offers some of the lowest ping to servers worldwide. For example, I have achieved ping values as low as 170ms to some major cities in California, where many internet servers are located, such as Facebook’s, Yahoo’s and Google’s. Normally, the national average ping to California for non- UniFi users is much higher, at around 250ms or more. Many Streamyx users for example, cannot achieve a ping value of under 200ms to Californian servers. Every millisecond makes a difference in online gaming.

Here is an infographic map I chalked up to further illustrate the ping or latency superiority of UniFi in online gaming and other live applications. The infographic map below is based on my personal observations and experience in online gaming and test results from various computer software. This infographic map is for rough illustrative purposes only. Data may not be 100% accurate because of various external factors, namely the time of day and quality of internet servers. This infographic map is only applicable to UniFi users in the Klang Valley. ;

This is as good as it gets for Malaysian broadband.

This is as good as it gets for Malaysian broadband.

International Cable Landing Points

UniFi has cable landing points all over the globe. This is crucial in achieving low ping values. In internet communication, packets of data are transmitted from servers to surfers via the international broadband infrastructure and network. There are many important submarine (undersea) cables and domestic/ land cables which make up the international broadband infrastructure and network, such as the SEA- ME- WE cables which connect Southeast Asia to the Middle East and Western Europe (hence its name) and the AAG cable, which connects Asia Pacific to North America. The routes taken by the packets of data will make for a significant difference in the ping value or latency. For example, when someone in Kuala Lumpur pings a server in London, the packets of data may travel west along the SEA- ME- WE or east, through the AAG and AC cables. In the case of the former, it would take a lesser amount of time, thanks to the shorter distance travelled, than opposed to the longer route of the latter. Thus, the ping value is reduced and less lag is encountered. UniFi maintains a strong integrated global network with landing points in all crucial internet server hotspots. Without these international landing points, ping values or latency would soar and cause significant lag in online gaming and other live applications. For example, I recall observing many South Korean gamers with poor ping values of above 200ms to host servers in Hong Kong. Under normal circumstances, South Korean gamers should get ping values of 40ms or so to Hong Kong host servers. Unfortunately, many do not, from what I have observed. I believe that the packets en route to Hong Kong from South Korea travel all the way to the United States before reaching the desired host servers in Hong Kong. This explains why those gamers got higher than usual ping. However, I have also witnessed some South Korean gamers with around 40ms ping to Hong Kong, so I’m guessing that this problem is ISP related. A similar problem plagues the users of Australian ISP Optus, which lacks proper landing points in Southeast Asia, causing ping values to soar into the 300s and 400s. Under normal circumstances, ping should never exceed 150ms between Asia and Australia. Thankfully, UniFi is, for the most part, devoid of such problems. Most ping values match theoretically proven calculations based on geographical distance.

Quality of Service

It is important to have broadband internet service which offers a high quality of service to achieve the best results in online gaming and other live applications. Not surprisingly, UniFi offers some of the best Quality of Service (QoS) in town. Disruptions are extremely rare with UniFi. I can only recall a handful of moments where there were disruptions under severe circumstances. UniFi will ensure a stable connection (low jitter) to any capable internet host server. I have kept some downloads going for hours on end in the past, but so far, no major disconnections occurred. Many of my other friends who are subscribers to UniFi are also satisfied with the quality of service. However, when I asked several of my friends in Singapore, I got mixed answers. Many were not satisfied with the sub- par quality of service offered by both StarHub and SingNet. Many of my Singaporean friends were quite frankly surprised at how good the quality of service offered by UniFi was, judging by its ability to act as a host server in online games. I recall several of my Singaporean friends saying ” You are the best Malaysian host ever ! ” and ” Your internet connection is damn good ! ”. From what I have observed, UniFi offers a quality of service on par with Japanese, South Korean and Hong Kong Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and is superior to most European, American, Singaporean and Australian ISPs. I confirmed these statements through various observations, information from international forums, results from various computer software and simple surveys. Ping values are low, jitter values are low (connection is stable), packet loss is low, what more could an online gamer ask for ?

HyppTV on UniFi

HyppTV STB

From my experience with HyppTV on UniFi,

Initially, I was skeptical about the relevance of HyppTV, the IPTV service offered as part of the UniFi triple- play plan for all UniFi subscribers. I know many UniFi users are only interested in the broadband service and show little to no interest in HyppTV. Well, I was one of those users, initially. I have been an ASTRO user for many, many years so I was naturally uninterested in HyppTV. I always got my daily TV fix on ASTRO. However, in 2011, I began to grow closer to HyppTV after discovering that one of my favourite television shows, Top Gear was airing on a daily basis, in High Definition (HD) on BBC Knowledge, a channel exclusive to HyppTV. After sometime, I gradually shifted my TV leisure time from ASTRO to HyppTV. Whenever it rained, I just flipped over to HyppTV at the press of a few buttons. I began to appreciate many of the exclusive channels offered on HyppTV, such as BBC Lifestyle, DW- TV Asia+, Channel NewsAsia and of course, BBC Knowledge. The shows on offer were really, really good. I reckon many of them are sourced directly from the distributors, without going through any editing or changes to qualify for Malaysian television. This is supported by the fact that there are almost no such annoying advertisements on HyppTV. All ads are limited to TM’s services only, for example, ads for the VOD services, with the exception of the ads on local TV channels like TV1, TV2 and TV3. I also did many comparisons between channels offered on both ASTRO and HyppTV, like Al Jazeera and Australia Network. I noticed that the ASTRO versions of those channels contained ads and the video quality was slightly lower than on HyppTV. Of course, whenever it rained, the ASTRO versions of those channels ceased functioning altogether, whereas HyppTV broadcasts 24/7, regardless of weather conditions. This is probably the strongest advantage of the service. The Video On Demand (VOD) option is superb too. All movies and shows are offered in HD and can be viewed at any time of the day in the purchased time period. For example, if a user purchases the Hollywood Movies Pack, he gets to watch all movies in that package as many times and for as long as he likes until the time period expires. The time period varies from pack to pack. This is not the case with ASTRO, where purchased movies are screened in a continuous, non- stop linear fashion. ASTRO users must still wait for the movie to start whereas HyppTV users need not, as they can, at the press of a button, start, stop, pause, rewind and fast- forward any movie at will. (ASTRO users need to pay extra for a HDD to get this feature). Furthermore, HyppTV also packs in some neat features and services such as YouTube, Facebook and TED among others. All of these services are made possible thanks to the IPTV technology. All- in- all, I really like the HyppTV service on UniFi, despite being skeptical initially. While it is true that HyppTV offers a lesser number of channels than on ASTRO, I believe that it still has massive potential on the market, especially since HyppTV is bundled together with every UniFi subscription. However, I also believe that ASTRO is the king in Malaysia’s TV broadcasting market and is likely to remain in that position for the foreseeable future. HyppTV can thus, be considered as an added luxury and a viable supplement for all UniFi subscribers; Most HyppTV users are also ASTRO subscribers after all.

VoIP Service on UniFi

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Phone

From my experience with the VoIP telephony service on UniFi,

From day one, I knew that the UniFi VoIP telephony service or as I came to call it, the ” UniFi phone ”, screamed awesomeness. Previously, I was only a subscriber to the standard conventional TM fixed land line. The phone in use was a regular telephone, not the one of cordless nature (DECT). Calls were somewhat expensive during those days and there were frequent disruptions due to the poor quality wiring in my house. When UniFi was installed, everything changed. I no longer worried about costs and disconnections. As part of the package, all calls made on the ” UniFi phone ” are free to TM fixed lines. Previously, I was a Streamyx subscriber and such an advantage was also available to me at that time. However, for some reason, I feel more secure making calls on the ” UniFi phone ” as opposed to the conventional fixed line. I was one of those early subscribers who received the now phased- out Aztech DECT phone. Currently, UniFi subscribers get the superior Motorola DECT phone. Nevertheless, the Aztech phone was perfectly functional and extremely durable. It has been dropped on the floor several times over the past 2 years but it continues to work normally up ’till the time of writing. Calls on the ” UniFi phone ” were, as promised, crystal clear. However, this is only true to calls between ” UniFi phone ” subscribers. Assuming if you were to make a call to a mobile Maxis, DiGi or Celcom user for example, the line quality would have slightly degraded due to the non- fiber optic telephony networks of the cellular providers of Maxis, DiGi and Celcom. One cool feature available on the subscription is the ability to choose your own unique phone number. Initially, my phone number was set at 03-56111111, but was changed later on. UniFi users get to pick any number they want, so long as it is not already taken and the first 4 numbers are set depending on your location in Malaysia, in my case, it was 03-56xxxxxx for Subang Jaya. However, there are several important features that are surprisingly absent in the UniFi telephony service. The first feature that should be present is caller identification. The second is a mailbox for missed calls. Such features are supposed to be standard in VoIP services. Other than that, the UniFi telephony service is perfectly fine, in terms of quality of service, albeit lacking in features. By the way, UniFi subscribers can add on a secondary VoIP line, which could come in handy for business affairs, among other things.

Comparisons

Fiber Optic

The price, value and quality are important factors that should be considered when purchasing a product. Thus, I believe it is an absolute must to provide adequate comparisons between UniFi and other ISPs in Malaysia so that you, my dear readers, are able to make the necessary decisions and choices, yes and no. All the comparisons below are split into two sections; direct comparisons between two forces and my personal comments. You may choose to trust my comments, or ignore them completely, the choice is entirely up to you. All data in the comparison charts are sourced from the official websites of the ISPs. The comparisons below may not be presented in a holistic manner. As such, it would be a good practice to obtain further information regarding the services from the official websites of the respective ISPs.

How does UniFi compare to other ISPs in Malaysia ?

We shall be comparing UniFi with other ISPs in Malaysia for the first part of our comparisons. The purpose of this comparison is to give readers a better understanding of the position of UniFi on the national level. I only chose to compare UniFi with popular Malaysian ISPs, and there are many more than those few listed below. The premier plan is highlighted from each and every one of the ISPs below. The reason being that the most expensive plan will usually offer the most value for your money. For more details regarding the plans and services, please visit the official websites of the respective ISPs.

UniFi vs. Streamyx

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor Streamyx 4 Mbps
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 4 Mbps Inferior
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Up to 512 Kbps Inferior
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM140
Superior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM35.00 Inferior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota None
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Match Yes VoIP Yes Match
Superior FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) ADSL (Copper cable) Inferior
Inferior Selected areas Availability Nationwide Superior

Streamyx Official Source

Comments

Both UniFi and Streamyx share a common parent ISP, Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM). However, that is pretty much the only significant thing both products share in common. I was once a Streamyx subscriber. From what little I can recall on the experience, it was mostly negative. There were frequent problems with the quality of service. At times the service was great, at others it was terrible. However, that was in 2009 and from what I’ve been hearing and observing, Streamyx has come a long way in terms of quality of service since then. A have a friend from Kuala Lumpur who I used to game with in 2010. I recall his Streamyx service performing better than expected. Ping and latency were surprisingly low. 1 Mbps was all he had but he seemed satisfied with his internet connection. There were some bumps here and there from what I observed at the time however, but for the most part, it was good at best and tolerable at worst. I also had two friends from Kelantan and Sarawak who were Streamyx subscribers. From what I observed, theirs were pretty good as well. However, these are just my observations and I cannot confirm whether Streamyx has really improved over the years or not. As of writing, both UniFi and Streamyx are not affected by monthly quotas. While TM has set quotas for UniFi, they do not enforce it, and there are UniFi users who download up to 4 TBs worth of data each month. Furthermore, Streamyx is older than UniFi, and thus is available in more areas. The biggest difference between UniFi and Streamyx is that UniFi is based on an advanced fiber optic network, whereas Streamyx is based on the now- incompetent copper cable network. For the most part, UniFi is superior to Streamyx and I’m sure many would agree with this statement.

UniFi vs. Maxis Home (FTTH)

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor Maxis Home 30 Mbps
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Inferior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 30 Mbps Superior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown, Possibly Up to 30 Mbps
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM398
Superior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM13.27 Inferior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 300GB (Not Enforced Until Jan-31-2012)
Match Yes IPTV Yes Match
Match Yes VoIP Yes Match
Match FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) FTTH (Fiber optic) Match
Superior More areas Availability Less areas Inferior

Maxis Home Official Source

Comments

You’re probably wondering right now how come Maxis Home seemingly triumphs UniFi in the comparisons above. Well, it’s no mystery really. For those of you who are unaware, Maxis Home is based on the UniFi fiber optic network. Basically, Maxis chose not to invest in the construction of their own fiber optic network and instead opted to collaborate with the government and Telekom Malaysia. Thus, Maxis Home shares a lot in common with UniFi under the hood. I have never used Maxis Home before, so I cannot comment much on this service. From what I’ve heard, it isn’t exactly as perfect as it seems.

UniFi vs. P1 4G

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor P1 4G One Plan
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 5 Mbps Inferior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown, Possibly Up to 1 Mbps
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM169
Superior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM33.80 Inferior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 30GB
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Match Yes VoIP Yes Match
Match FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) WiMAX Match
Inferior Less areas Availability More areas Superior

P1 4G Official Source

Comments

It wouldn’t be fair to directly compare P1 4G to UniFi. This is because P1 4G, formerly known as P1 WiMAX is a mobile or portable wireless broadband service whereas UniFi is a fixed wired home broadband service. Hence, both P1 4G and UniFi have their advantages and disadvantages. I personally know this because I’m also a P1 4G user. P1 4G works best in a mobile environment and performs poorly in the confines of a house or an office building. TM offers 17,000 free TM WiFi hotspots for UniFi users on- the- go, to compete with wireless broadband providers like P1 4G. However, download speeds only go up to 384 Kbps and are limited to certain areas in Kuala Lumpur. Thus, P1 4G is superior to UniFi when it comes to mobile broadband. P1 4G offers a home modem in addition to a mobile wiggy as part of the One Plan package. Either way, it is still no match for the likes of UniFi, especially in gaming. The WiMAX technology behind P1 4G is the source of high latency and ping, as well as high jitter. In other words, P1 4G does not offer a constant and stable internet connection required for live applications. Both P1 4G and UniFi offer VoIP services. I’ve noted that P1 4G’s VoIP service is based on Maxis’ network. It offers more features than UniFi’s VoIP service but lags far behind in terms of quality of service, literally. Furthermore, heavy downloading is not advisable on P1 4G, as the 30 GB monthly cap would prove insufficient in the long run. Long story short, P1 4G is suitable for those who spend their lives on the move whereas UniFi is suited to the home internet surfer and gamer.

UniFi vs. Maxis Wireless

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor Maxis Wireless Ultimate
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 7.2 Mbps Inferior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM198
Superior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM27.50 Inferior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 12GB
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Superior Yes VoIP No Inferior
Superior FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) 3.5G HSDPA Inferior
Inferior Less areas Availability More areas Superior

Maxis Broadband Official Source

Comments

Aside from the fiber optic service mentioned earlier, Maxis also offers a cellular broadband service, called Maxis Wireless Internet, similar to P1 4G above. However, the technology under the hood differs. Maxis Wireless utilises the now outdated 3.5G HSDPA technology. Maxis Wireless plans only come with portable wiggies. Just like P1 4G, Maxis is suited for outdoor mobile internet surfing and ill- suited to closed environments. I have used Maxis Wireless before but I cannot comment much due to the lack of experience with the service. From what I’ve heard, the service is good, in comparison to Streamyx and Celcom at least.

UniFi vs. U Mobile

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor U Mobile 42 Mbps MB 128
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Inferior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 42 Mbps Superior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM148 (With Modem Rental)
Inferior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM3.52 Superior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 20GB
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Superior Yes VoIP No Inferior
Match FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) 4G HSPA+ Match
Superior More areas Availability Less areas Inferior

U Mobile Official Source

Comments

U Mobile is a new player in the market and is the first ISP in Malaysia to make use of the advanced HSPA+ technology, which enables amazing download speeds of up to 42 Mbps. There are several twists, however. The first being the relatively small 20GB monthly quota. You only get to download around 700 MBs worth of data each day, ideal for that YouTube HD video or two, and about 4 to 5 hours on Facebook and Twitter. Anything more than that and speeds are gonna drop below 1 Mbps until the next month. Thus, U Mobile is not suitable for hardcore downloaders, even though speeds go up to a mind- boggling 42 Mbps, more than twice that of UniFi VIP20. The wireless HSPA+ technology, although advanced, does not allow for low latency and ping. Lag is still a problem with U Mobile, making it ill- suited for online gaming as well. Other than those few drawbacks, U Mobile is an excellent broadband service which sets the standards for all other Malaysian ISPs to follow. I have almost no experience with U Mobile’s services, so I cannot comment further on the quality of service.

UniFi vs. TIME Fibre Broadband

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor TIME Fibre 12M
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Debatable Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 50 Mbps with BOOST Debatable
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown, Possibly Up to 50 Mbps
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM219
Debatable RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM18.25/ RM4.38 Debatable
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota None
Match Yes (HyppTV) IPTV Yes (ASTRO b.yond) Match
Match Yes VoIP Yes Match
Match FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) FTTH (Fiber optic) Match
Superior More areas Availability Less areas Inferior

TIME Fibre Official Source

Comments

I know what you’re probably thinking; ” TIME TOTALLY ROCKS ! ”. Well, you’re probably right, in one way or another. However, there’s a lot more to TIME than meets the eye. Unlike Telekom Malaysia, TIME is a small private company. The Malaysian satellite television company ASTRO recently collaborated with TIME for the launch of their IPTV and broadband internet services, which are based on TIME’s broadband network. TIME is also one of the few ISPs in Malaysia which doesn’t impose monthly quotas, allowing users to download as much data as needed without penalty. Thanks to TIME’s 100% fiber optic broadband backbone, jitter and ping are kept extremely low too, ideal for online gaming. Plus, download speeds can go up to 50 Mbps with BOOST, making TIME Fibre among the fastest in Malaysia. However, 50 Mbps with BOOST is limited to several hours per month, and actual download speeds are only 12 Mbps in the case of our 12M plan above. All- in- all, TIME Fibre Broadband is everything UniFi is, and more. The catch ? TIME doesn’t offer its fiber optic service in many premises. Only certain highrise luxury condominiums and commercial buildings are covered by TIME Fibre Broadband, where the majority are in the Klang Valley, Penang and Johore. These premises are expensive to own, and are out of reach for the majority of Malaysians, unfortunately. Only a small number of ASTRO Beyond customers are given access to the IPTV and broadband internet options. So, there you have it. However, if TIME Fibre were to expand its services to more residential areas, UniFi and Maxis FTTH would be placed at a severe disadvantage. But for now, TIME has no such plans, and UniFi remains the biggest fiber optic based ISP in Malaysia.

UniFi vs. YES 4G

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor YES 4G Valuepack 150
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 15 Mbps Inferior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM150
Inferior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM10.00 Superior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 10GB
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Debatable Yes VoIP No (Cellular available) Debatable
Match FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) WiMAX Match
Match Selected areas Availability Selected areas Match

YES 4G Official Source

Comments

Again, I don’t think it’s fair to compare UniFi with YES 4G due to the wired/ wireless factor. YES 4G, like U Mobile, is a new entry in the market. Services are offered with a cellular (handphone) option, adding value to the product. YES 4G is clearly targeted at college students and on- the- go businessmen, with just a 10GB monthly quota (around 300 MB per day) and availability in major commercial cities only. The WiMAX technology behind YES 4G, as explained in the P1 4G comparison above, is not ideal for gaming. All- in- all, YES 4G is an excellent ISP which is, together with U Mobile, spearheading the development of Malaysia’s wireless broadband infrastructure.

UniFi vs. DiGi Internet

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor DiGi Explore 10GB
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 3.6 Mbps Inferior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM103 (After Rebate)
Superior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM28.61 Inferior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 10GB
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Superior Yes VoIP No Inferior
Superior FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) 3.5G HSDPA Inferior
Inferior Less areas Availability More areas Superior

DiGi Internet Official Source

Comments

Same drill here. DiGi, best know as one of the popular Malaysian cellular network providers also offers broadband internet services. Like all other wireless providers, online gaming and excessive downloading is out of the question, with a low 10GB quota and higher than usual ping and latency due to the outdated High Speed Direct Packet Access (HSDPA) technology. DiGi is best suited for casual internet browsers on- the- go. From what I’ve heard, DiGi internet services fail to meet the demands of their customers. I cannot comment further on the service due to a lack of solid experience.

UniFi vs. Celcom Broadband

UniFi 20 Mbps Factor Celcom Broadband Pro
Verdict Response Response Verdict
Superior Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Download Speed Up to 7.2 Mbps Inferior
Up to 20 Mbps Maximum Upload Speed Unknown
RM249 Monthly Subscription Fee RM138
Superior RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM19.17 Inferior
120GB (Not Enforced Yet) Monthly Quota 10GB
Superior Yes IPTV No Inferior
Superior Yes VoIP No Inferior
Superior FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) 3.5G HSDPA Inferior
Inferior Less areas Availability More areas Superior

Celcom Broadband Official Source

Comments

Celcom is the wireless broadband and cellular (handphone) service from Axiata. Celcom is similar to DiGi and Maxis Wireless. It is marketed towards light internet browsers as a small quota of only 10 GB per month and high latency will not provide for the average online gamer or avid downloader. Customer feedback on Celcom Broadband is largely negative though, and many users are unhappy with the quality of service. Again, I cannot confirm this statement due to the lack of experience with the service.

How does UniFi compare to ISPs from around the world ?

Fiber Optic

For the second half of our comparisons, we shall be comparing UniFi to ISPs from other countries, such as StarHub and SingNet from Singapore, NTT from Japan, Verizon from the U.S.A and BT from the U.K. The purpose of this comparison is to present readers with a rough idea of the position of UniFi on the international stage. Much of the data and verdicts were drawn based on observations, results from computer software, surveys and data from trusted websites, such as Netindex.com. I did not choose to compare UniFi with individual ISPs from other countries because such a comparison would require massive amounts of information and resources which were unavailable to me at the time of writing.

UniFi vs. Singapore ISPs

 Malaysia Factor  Singapore
Malaysia avg. UniFi 20 Mbps StarHub, SingNet, M1 Singapore avg.
2 – 4 Mbps Up to 20 Mbps Download Speed Up to 1000 Mbps 10 – 20 Mbps
1 – 2 Mbps Up to 20 Mbps Upload Speed Up to 500 Mbps 5 – 10 Mbps
RM80 – 100 RM12.45 Cost Per Mbps RM0.98 (StarHub MaxInfinity Supreme) RM10 – 20
Medium Very High Quality of Service Very High High
Low High Customer Satisfaction M1 (High), SingNet (Medium), StarHub (Medium) Medium
Most Popular = ADSL FTTH (Fiber optic) Technology (Last Mile) FTTH (Fiber optic), ADSL Most Popular = ADSL

StarHub Official Source – SingNet Official Source – M1 Official Source

Comments

Singapore is the telecommunications leader of Southeast Asia. The three major ISPs in Singapore are SingNet, M1 and StarHub. To compare UniFi with StarHub/ SingNet/ M1 is like comparing a Lotus Elise with a Ferrari Enzo. Both are supercars. Both are adequately fast. But the Ferrari is still believed to be superior at the end of the day. StarHub and M1 are among of the few major ISPs in the world to offer download speeds of up to 1 Gbps (Some minor Malaysian ISPs such as Vasseti DataTech offer 1 Gbps download speeds too). Both ADSL and Fiber Optic technology based services are popular in Singapore. Broadband internet service is generally very cheap as well. Most Singaporean subscribers only pay a fraction of what Malaysians pay for a similar service. For example, SingNet 10 Mbps users only pay S$44.90 (RM110.70) whereas UniFi 10 Mbps users pay RM199 for a similar service. However, Quality of service is questionable. While it is true that broadband speeds in Singapore are high, throttling and hard capping is not unheard of. I have met many Singaporeans who were unhappy with their service. Most of these users were, but not limited to, ADSL StarHub and SingNet subscribers. From what I have observed, the M1 fiber optic users get a quality of service which is superior to UniFi’s. Either way, in terms of value for money, StarHub, SingNet and M1 are the indisputable broadband kings of Southeast Asia. UniFi, although comparable in terms of quality of service, loses in terms of value for money due to expensive pricing.

UniFi vs. Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong ISPs.

Factor
UniFi 20 Mbps  Japan (OCN, NTT, NEC, Asahi)  South Korea (KT, SK, LG, Hanaro)  Hong Kong (HKBN, PCCW, Hutchison)
Download Speed Up to 20 Mbps (National avg. 2- 4 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 20- 50 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 30- 60 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 20- 50 Mbps)
Upload Speed Up to 20 Mbps (National avg. 1- 2 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 10- 40 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 20- 50 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 10- 40 Mbps)
Cost Per Mbps RM12.45 (National avg. RM80- 100) RM0.23- Asahi au Hikari (National avg. est. RM5- 7) (National avg. est. RM3- 5) RM0.20- Netvigator Fiber Direct 1000 Premier (National avg. est. RM6- 8)
Quality of Service Very High Very High Very High Very High
Customer Satisfaction High High High High
Technology (Last Mile) FTTH (Fiber optic) FTTH (Fiber optic) FTTH (Fiber optic) FTTH (Fiber optic)

Asahi Official Source – PCCW Netvigator Official Source

Comments

If comparing UniFi to Singaporean broadband is like comparing a Lotus to a Ferrari, then comparing UniFi with the likes of Japanese, South Korean and Hong Kong ISPs would be like comparing a supercar to a jet fighter, in terms of speed. 20 Mbps is almost negligible compared to the enormous, yet surprisingly affordable 1000 Mbps plans on offer in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. That’s fifty times the bandwidth by the way. Broadband internet service in all 3 countries are cheaper than in Singapore. Quality of service is also far higher than in Singapore, from I’ve observed. Words cannot describe the superiority of the Japanese, South Korean and Hong Kong ISPs. If you want the best possible internet connection, I suggest you look around in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. It just doesn’t get any better.

UniFi vs. United States, United Kingdom and Sweden ISPs

Factor
UniFi 20 Mbps  United States (Verizon, SBC, Comcast, Road Runner)  United Kingdom (BT, Virgin Media, SKY)  Sweden ( Bredbandsbolaget, TeliaSonera)
Download Speed Up to 20 Mbps (National avg. 2- 4 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 10- 15 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 7- 12 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 20- 30 Mbps)
Upload Speed Up to 20 Mbps (National avg. 1- 2 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 2- 3 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 1- 2 Mbps) Up to 1000 Mbps (National avg. 8- 11 Mbps)
Cost Per Mbps RM12.45 (National avg. RM80- 100) (National avg. RM15- 17) (National avg. RM10- 12) (National avg. RM10- 12)
Quality of Service Very High High High Very High
Customer Satisfaction High Medium Medium High
Technology (Last Mile) FTTH (Fiber optic) FTTH (Fiber optic), ADSL FTTH (Fiber optic), ADSL FTTH (Fiber optic), ADSL

Comments

UniFi can hold its own against most Western ISPs, which is surprising since most of the countries in the Western Hemisphere are developed, first- world nations. The United States for example, records lower than expected national average download and upload speeds of 10- 15 Mbps and 2- 3 Mbps respectively. Much of the U.S depends on, but are not restricted to ADSL technology. It is the same case with the United Kingdom. National average download and upload speeds are relatively low for a developed country, at about 7- 12 Mbps and 1- 2 Mbps. The U.K too depends heavily on, but not limited to old ADSL technology for broadband services. Quality of service in both the U.S and U.K are so- so, and customers are unsatisfied at best, and tolerative at worst with their products. From what I have observed, both U.K and U.S broadband ISPs fail to meet the standards required for online gaming too. Many U.S and U.K gamers suffer from higher than usual ping/ latency and jitter (unstable connection). Of course, there are those excellent ISPs as well, which provide truly high- speed fiber optic broadband in both countries. However, such services are expensive and limited to those in major commercial cities only. Either way, broadband internet service is still on average much, much cheaper in both the United States and United Kingdom, in comparison to Malaysia. But it is a very different story in Sweden. Swedish ISPs are regarded as some of the best in the world. Everything checks out, from the speeds to the quality of service. Plus, 100 Mbps broadband internet is surprisingly affordable too.

UniFi vs. National Average (Selected Countries)

It would take forever to compare and contrast UniFi with each and every ISP from each and every country. What you see above is all but a tiny chip of the wooden block. Thus, I have prepared the final table below, to further streamline comparisons and save precious time. This comparison will give you a better understanding of where UniFi stands on the international stage, where all major factors are integrated into a determinant composite. Please bear in mind that the verdict is drawn based on my personal opinion, which in turn is based on observations, surveys, data obtained from trusted sources and others. Actual verdict may vary from person to person.

Comparison Verdict
 UniFi vs.  Malaysia avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Singapore avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Thailand avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Indonesia avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Vietnam avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Philippines avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Hong Kong avg.  Match OR Inferior
 UniFi vs.  Taiwan avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  China avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Japan avg.  Match OR Inferior
 UniFi vs.  South Korea avg.  Match OR Inferior
 UniFi vs.  Australia avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  New Zealand avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  United States avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Canada avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Portugal avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Spain avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  United Kingdom avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Ireland avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  France avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Germany avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Denmark avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Sweden avg.  Match OR Inferior
 UniFi vs.  Norway avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Finland avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Netherlands avg.  Match OR Inferior
 UniFi vs.  Belgium avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Austria avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Switzerland avg.  Superior OR Match
 UniFi vs.  Italy avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs.  Greece avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs. Middle East Region avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs. South Asia Region avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs. Central Asia Region avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs. Latin America Region avg.  Superior
 UniFi vs. ,, Baltic States avg.  Match OR Inferior
 UniFi vs. Eastern Europe Region avg.  Superior OR Match

Final Verdict

From my experience with UniFi during the period of November 2009 to January 2012, I sincerely rate;

  • Promised Bandwidth (VIP20) – 95 %

  • HyppTV (IPTV) Service – 8/10

  • VoIP Service – 8/10

  • Quality of Service – 9.5/10

  • Quality of Hardware – 8.5/10

  • Customer Support – 8/10

  • Satisfaction With Service – 9/10

  • Value For Money – 9.5/10

Overall – 9/10

Conclusion

I personally think UniFi is the best broadband service in Malaysia. Quality and quantity are evenly balanced in most aspects. Value for money is also extremely high since there are no monthly quotas as of yet, and also thanks to the inclusions of both the HyppTV IPTV service and VoIP telephony service as part of the triple- play plan. It really pays to be a UniFi subscriber, regardless of whether you opted for the 5 Mbps, 10 Mbps or 20 Mbps plan. Still, I know there are many UniFi haters out there. I honestly think these people are just jealous or disturbed. Hey, don’t look at it that way. At the end of the day, it’s still just broadband internet service. It’s not all about the speed or price of the service, but rather about how one is able to make the most out of it. People who buy Ferraris for the sole purpose of driving from Point A to Point B will never get to appreciate the full potential of the car. In a similar fashion, there is no point in subscribing to UniFi if all you plan on doing is browsing Facebook and chatting with friends online. So, choose wisely and avoid unnecessary temptations. Last but not least, I would like to apologize for any misunderstandings or mistakes that I may have made in the composition of this 10,000 word review. If you have any suggestions or if you would like to know more about the service, feel free to comment below, or e-mail me at aero.nation@yahoo.com. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you who took the time to read this review.

Thank you for reading !

Credits

  • Google
  • Wikipedia
  • Various websites for the images
  • Various websites for the data
  • All Internet Service Providers above
  • Speedtest.net, Pingtest.net, Netindex.com
  • Xbox LIVE, Call of Duty
  • Microsoft Paint, GunnMap 2
  • My supportive friends & fans
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28 responses to “UniFi Review

  1. Thank You for taking the time to research and post this. It has been an invalueable piece of information for me. I will be getting my Unifi fixed up tomorrow and have been contemplating whether to get the Vip20 pkg or not. You have helped.

    Plus you write extremely well.

    • Hi zuluecho88,

      Thank you for reading my review, I appreciate it. You are most welcomed, and I am glad you found this review useful. I wish you all the best with your UniFi experience. You know you’re in for a life changing experience !

      Regards, Aero.

    • Thank you Izzul, I’m glad you found this review interesting. I do not know the exact year in which TM will launch a 1 Gbps service. However, TM will most probably launch a 100 Mbps service in the next 3 to 5 years. By 2020, the Klang Valley and Pulau Pinang will PROBABLY have 1 Gbps, but the other states might not.

      Have a nice day !

  2. I’ve just got my wifi router from P1 today. I didn’t realise that it’s not wired to the phone line or it’s own line (I’m from the UK and that’s how the isp’s do it there.) I got the 4Mbps package and after a few speed tests the best upload speed I could get was 1.13Mbps. Pretty poor.

    I’ve literally just got the thing and now emailed them to ask WTF? It took me 4 minutes to open an email, and just to clarify I had one window open on Google Chrome on a Toshiba NB550. I can appreciate that Malaysia may be a little behind the UK in terms of internet but the prices are not cheap for what they are offering.

    Am I asking too much? I don’t think so. If I buy 4Mbps I shouldn’t be getting 1.13Mbps. Should I?

    Good, insightful article by the way.

    • Hi Peep, thank you for leaving your comment, it is much appreciated.

      Firstly, I understand that you have subscribed to the 4 Mbps package, which guarantees 4 Mbps download speeds, but I have checked their website, and myself conducted speed tests for this plan and found it impossible to obtain upload speeds of 4 Mbps. However, download speeds of 5 Mbps are possible and 3 Mbps is usually the norm.

      It may be too late, but may I suggest that you carry out speed tests at different physical locations ? Eg, at home, at work, at the park, etc. The speeds will vary depending on your location from the P1 WiMAX servers.

      Either way, I’m sorry to hear about your problem. I am a former P1 user and I can easily relate to them.

      I would also like to apologize for my late reply.

  3. Bos, from my understanding Unifi (VIP5) allocated 5+3Mb of bandwidth. Meaning 3Mb just for TV streaming. In term of bandwidth required by TM to stream (3Mb video bitrates) to more than 400,000 residents (if the channel concurrently viewed during olympics), how they managed that huge traffics? How big is the TM bandwidth pipe? Will HyppTV system congested/buffering due to this heavy traffic, That is what playing around in my mind.

    • Hi Freddy, thanks for leaving your comment, I appreciate it. TM is the most experienced ISP in Malaysia. I am sure they’ve considered this possibility of congestion during peak hours. I may not know the details as I am not a TM employee, but I can tell you for sure that TM is working with Google on YouTube regional caching. Google/ YouTube uses TM’s own servers for YouTube streaming in Malaysia. If you don’t believe me, you can check the IP addresses of YouTube Malaysia’s servers, they’re all owned by TM. If TM can support the entire population of Malaysian YouTube users (more than 10 million ?), I am very sure that UniFi HyppTV is no problem for them. :]

  4. I still don’t understand why people keep fascinating on “absolute” rating. The most important is “dynamic” rating, 20Mbps(occur 1 min in every hour? the rest 59min is only 1kbps?) It will be useful if all provider give a “time continuous” rating at peak and off-peak hour. ISP network processor can sniff out speedtest.net pattern and give you whatever number that they want you to see. Until transiency and regulation occur, consumer will still be the lamb for a hiking in communication fees.

    • Hi friend, as concerned and well- informed consumers, the debate of promised broadband speeds will never truly be settled for us. In your case, you’ve mentioned that ISPs may not provide the promised speeds 24/7. Firstly, I would like to say that this ISP (UniFi) has only experienced a handful of service interruptions in my history of use. It might be different for others though. Secondly, I have used various third- party software to confirm their promised speeds. You can try them yourself, just Google DU Meter for a start. It will tell you your instantaneous download and upload speeds and total input and output data over a period of time. This is useful if you really wanna see if you’re getting 20Mbps or not on peak hours, or if you’ve really exceeded your quota or not. It is that accurate. If I could, I would prove to you that this ISP meets the promised speeds on both on and off- peak hours but I am lacking the proper resources at the moment, sorry. Thirdly, we must understand that not all of the world’s servers can output at high speeds. We may have a fast connection, but we don’t know if the guys on the other end do or not. Fortunately, Google has top- notch caching servers for their services which help us gain full advantage of our connection. In all due respect, a 20Mbps, 100Mbps or 1,000Mbps connection is capable of such speeds, but only if the conditions are met. Think of it this way…. you may have a Ferrari (1,000Mbps connection), but if you’re driving on public, congested roads (average internet server), you’re still going at 30km/h anyway(10Mbps), as opposed to 360km/h(1,000Mbps+) on a racetrack. Have a nice day, and thanks for leaving a comment. :]

      • Nagging injuries are so difficult – they don’t hurt enough to stop you but if you don’t stop yourself, they’ll hurt more later.Would it be beneficial to go for long hikes on the trails during the off days, or would that still aggravate the shin? That would be one way to get your trail fix.

  5. About time you did a followup review, since around a year has passed. Singapore now has a “fighter jet”, with six ISPs to choose from. Malaysia has had some improvements too but looking on Netindex, Malaysia is somehow stagnating at the 90++ spot since a year ago. If the graph is anything to go by, it means that broadband speeds in Malaysia are no longer increasing, which is a worrying trend. TM should increase speeds, not sit around and think that ADSL2+ speeds are worth calling fibre broadband.

    • Hi ReF, thank you for leaving a comment on my review, I appreciate it. I plan to do a follow up review in January 2013, exactly a year after this review. I understand that a lot has changed in 2012. I too have been keeping tabs on the Netindex data and I too noticed the incredible growth of Singapore’s broadband infrastructure. I agree that TM should be more aggressive with their developments. They have done good so far, but perhaps not good enough. Nonetheless, to compare Singapore and Malaysia at face value is akin to comparing an apple to an orange; it’s not balanced. Singapore is a small country with a small population of around 5 million, whereas Malaysia is a medium sized country with a medium sized population of over 29 million, almost 6 times that of Singapore. There are many other factors as well, such as the difference in industrial developments between states, per capita income by state, uneven geography etc. To provide access to true high speed broadband to the people of Malaysia will inevitably take some time. Hopefully, it comes sooner than later.

      • Hi Aero, thanks for the reply. Good to know that you already plan a follow up review. My emphasis in my earlier comment wasn’t to try to compare Singapore and Malaysia (there is little point in doing that), but to highlight the regional changes that have occured since your review a year ago, and the progress of Malaysia’s HSBB project. I gave the issue some thought, and tried to find what was probably holding Malaysia’s internet speeds back.

        Netindex as I mentioned earlier seems to show Malaysian internet speeds hovering around 90+ for the whole year, which means that out of the countries listed, Malaysia is actually slightly behind the median, and internet speed increases is barely enough to keep it in line with the internet speed growth in the rest of the world despite fibre. In fact, it is 100 today, and Brunei which used to lag behind Malaysia by a lot has finally reached the 101th position, and will overtake Malaysia soon. Malaysian HSBB takeup rate alone is in fact very high, outrunning Singapore and Australia, which makes the speed benefits of fibre in Malaysia even more questionable.

        Looking at the possibility of large rural areas holding back internet speed growth as you mentioned, I feel that this is not actually the case. Highly developed areas like KL has an average internet speed of 5.30Mbps, while the fastest area listed is Banting at 10.33Mbps. Even twice these (assuming faster users are twice average) are attainable with ADSL2+, which means Malaysia is not actually benefiting much from HSBB deployment in terms of speed. Perhaps the only real benefit seen is latency to the ISP and reach from the ISP (where DSL was limited by distance from the exchange DSLAM).

        I forsee some potential flaws in the current deployment as well. UniFi default equipment (RG) given out is ill suited for gigabit networks, unless users get their own third party alternative. There will hence be clueless users with gigabit capable computers not running at full potential (computer to computer lan traffic stuck at fast ethernet speeds). High rise buildings are given a VDSL2 line instead of true FTTH (probably to save costs) which means that there will be a time when TM will not be willing to increase speeds further as some of its VDSL2 users will not be able to attain such speeds. TM actually has the option to allow faster local speeds to allow Malaysia to benefit from faster local traffic, but unfortunately the current situation is similar to capping both international and local traffic in terms of what fibre can actually get.

        Competitors will have a hard time trying to compete with TM given that they have a hard choice between a costly limited fibre deployment like Time, or pay TM to use their network like Maxis which means no proper competitive push to TM to be faster or cheaper. If TM drags its feet, everyone will suffer. Note too that as of now, UniFi pricing or plans has not changed since day 1.

        There used to be other alternative proposals to TM’s UniFi, like the now defunct Jalenas, modeled upon many ISPs sharing a common fibre network, similar to that of Singapore. Perhaps if this model was chosen, things would have been better due to the greater competition and less chances for a monopoly to take a laid back attitude and slow the whole country down.

        Pardon my long rant, but I sincerely hope that HSBB won’t be remembered in the future as a costly project that never reached its full potential. At the current rate, UniFi users may only be finally getting to feel the speeds they should have been getting on Streamyx.

      • @ReF

        I see, my mistake, sorry about the misunderstanding there.

        I did notice that Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Japan and China all made significant progress in 2012 based on the Netindex data. Despite the higher fibre penetration rate in Malaysia as you’ve pointed out, we’ve still failed to keep up with, let alone surpass the outdated ADSL infrastructure of comparable countries, specifically Thailand, Taiwan and Australia for download speeds. Nonetheless, there were some noticeable benefits of fibre. Malaysia ranks 50th in the world for upload speed, ahead of several countries in Western Europe and Australia as well. The promise index also shows that Malaysians who live in cities where fibre take-up is high such as Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and others in the Klang Valley get what they pay for, more so than Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. So I guess there are some benefits nonetheless.

        I would like to point out that data collected for Banting is not accurate as it is a small city. The data collected for small cities are often inaccurate judging by the unstable gradient nature of the graphs. To get accurate readings, click the ”By IP address” tab. you will notice that the significant rural or lesser developed cities such as Ipoh (2.31Mb/s download, 0.83 mb/s upload) and Kota Kinabalu (1.95Mb/s download, 0.73 Mb/s upload) lag far behind the significant industrial or highly developed cities such as Petaling Jaya (5.45 Mb/s download, 5.44 Mb/s upload) and Kuala Lumpur (5.32 Mb/s download, 4.63 Mb/s upload). It is clear from the data that these cities have benefited from fibre judging by the almost 1:1 download to upload speed ratio. Furthermore, significant industrial or developed cities with low fibre take-up rates, specifically Penang (3.02 Mb/s download, 0.83 Mb/s upload) and Johor Bahru (3.29 Mb/s download, 1.76 Mb/s upload) demonstrate the benefits of a fibre infrastructure, most noticeably for the upload speeds. It is quite clear from the above data that the non- fibre, rural, less developed areas are indeed holding back the national readings.

        I agree that the UniFi modems are not up- to par. It looks as if TM has gone for the short- term gain, long term- loss initiative here. However, the decision to not lay fibre for high rise buildings is debatable. While it is true that TM can cut costs here, it is equally true that TM does not wish, or is unable to obtain the rights to drill a thousand holes through high rise buildings to avoid compromising the structural integrity of such buildings. I used to live in a terrace house, but I currently live in a high rise building and as far as I’m concerned, there is little to no difference in the UniFi service offered for both cases. The only noticeable difference is in the latency. Currently, there is a constant 5ms overhead for the high- rise building I live in, and 5ms is something I can live with.

        I agree that TM’s monopolization of the last mile has to end, and end soon. If TM were a bit more progress- oriented instead of profit- oreinted, that wouldn’t be a problem, but that’s just plain unlikely. Whatever competition between ISPs that exist today in Malaysia is merely an illusion of actual competition. Jalenas is a good example though, as you’ve pointed out. But even they are facing insurmountable odds. I hope they succeed though, I really do.

        Not a problem, I always appreciate an objective debate. I too wish for the best for Malaysia’s infrastructure, but it seems wishing alone isn’t going to cut it. :/

  6. Hey Manoj,
    first of all, AMAZING review…
    just amazing, knowing that ur only 19, ur descriptive writing (analysis) is almost impeccable..! ur just awesome man..

    these comments might not have any relevance with the topic, but im just way too impressed with ur writing capabilities… and i HAD to say something.. lol ur awesome.

    __jomRANDOM Media.

    • Thanks bro, I really appreciate your kind words. I’m glad you found this review interesting. And I insist, I’m not awesome, I just try my best to make a difference in this world. 😀

  7. Thanks for writing this great review, its made me feel more confident about going with unifi.i do have one question. do you know what the average speeds download/upload are for the vip5 and vip10 packages?

    I feel like 20mbit is unnecessary for me. all i need is about 3mbit download and 1mbit upload for work purposes.

    Thanks again.

    • Hi, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog, I appreciate it.

      I’m glad you found this review useful, however, it is a little outdated as a lot has changed since January 2012, when this review was published. However, I can still answer your question; I have tried UniFi VIP5 in the past, and I can comment a little based on the experience. If you only need 3Mb/s download and 1Mb/s upload speeds, VIP5 will be more than sufficient. However, if you have more than three users sharing the same connection at the same time, UniFi VIP5 will not suffice. If you need more speed, I suggest you avoid VIP10 because for the extra RM50 over VIP5, you’re only given 5 more Mb/s. But for an extra RM100 over VIP5, you get 15 more Mb/s in VIP20, which is approximately 1.5 times more value for money compared to VIP10.

      I hope you enjoy your UniFi experience. 😀

    • Hi Alfie,

      Thanks for reading, I appreciate it !

      Hopefully UniFi VIP20 comes sooner to your area.

      The reason why TM only offers VIP5 and VIP10 in certain areas is because they wish to bring UniFi as soon as possible to that area without compromising quality. If TM offers VIP20 as well on the launch day, there is a higher chance that the network will become congested after a few months because one VIP20 user may use up to four times the capacity of a VIP5 user (or twice that of a VIP10 customer).

  8. Good Day
    Good review, btw I just upgraded to VIP 20 from Streamyx 1MB, and I did try TM Speedometer to check its upload/download rate, only can get around 18.45Mb, shd
    I complain to TM?

    Thanks.

    • Hey Lee,

      Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it. Congratulations for investing in UniFi VIP20, I am sure you’ll make the most of it ! 🙂

      18.45mb/s download is quite normal for VIP20. If it helps, temporarily disabling your antivirus and using the latest Internet Explorer will sometimes give you much higher speeds.

      I can only get around 19.4 Mb/s at most from the Speedtest.net Cyberjaya server. The speeds have always been in the 19Mb/s zone ( for local servers incl. Singapore) since I subscribed in 2010.

      But if you wish, you can always send TM some feedback, their UniFi customer service has improved a lot since the Streamyx times.

      Cheers !

  9. Hi there,

    I am totally puzzled by the positive reviews and don’t get it at all. After many months of being bombarded by sales people here in Malaysia to change our streamyx broadband system to Unifi, we finally decided to take the plunge only to experience the connection to be way worse than what it was before we changed. Most of the time, I am sitting in front of my laptop waiting for it to download emails or populate a website. I am totally p*****d with the connection speed. I am seriously considering terminating their excruciatingly slow connection speed. Total bogus!!!!

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