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Verizon 4G Jetpack Signal Showdown: MiFi 4510L vs 4620L

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Thursday, 10 May 2012

Verizon 4G Jetpack Showdown: MiFi 4510L vs 4620L


Whenever a new modem comes out, customers are eager to know whether the new model performs better than older devices. In most cases, there are no significant performance differences between different modems operating on the same network. For example, the old 3G-only Verizon Novatel Wireless USB727 performs identically to the newer USB760.

When Novatel Wireless released their latest 3G/4G MiFi, the 4620L, most users (3Gstore included) assumed that it would perform comparably to the model it replaced, the 4510L. Surprisingly, users on our forums have been reporting seeing wildly different results between the two hotspots, so we put them to the test!

We tested the 4510L and the 4620L one after the other, in identical conditions (same location, same time of day, same environmental factors, etc). First, we looked in the web admin for each MiFi to see what RSSI was being reported (RSSI a numeric representation of signal strength that is far more accurate than signal bars or percentages - click here for more info on how to find the RSSI for your device):

MiFi 4510L RSSI:

MiFi 4620L RSSI:

As you can see, the 4510L claims to be receiving a MUCH better signal than the 4620L (closer to zero is better for RSSI), even though they are in the exact same location. This was surprising as there is no obvious reason why the 4510L would receive a stronger signal than the 4620L.

After checking the RSSI, we ran speedtests while connected to each device. The results were shocking! Simply put, the 4620 blew the 4510 out of the water. Over 10 tests, the 4510L averaged download speeds of 14.67mbps and upload speeds of 7.28mbps. Those are GREAT speeds, but the 4620L did even better, averaging 18.00mbps down and 12.66mbps up over ten tests!

We can draw two conclusions from these experiments:

  1. Obviously, either the 4510L or 4620L is mis-reporting the signal strength. After comparing the RSSI for other Verizon devices in our warehouse, we determined that the 4620L is reporting accurately and the 4510L is reporting far better signal than it is realistically receiving.
  2. In identical conditions, the 4620L out-performs the 4510L (the 4510L worked great, but the 4620L gave us consistently better speeds in every test we ran).

The fact that two devices on the same network in the same location reported such wildly different signal readings also reinforces why we always recommend doing a site survey before buying an antenna or amplifier - simply looking at your signal strength in one location can be deceiving; to determine if an antenna will actually help you, you need to compare your signal and performance in and around the area to see if better signal and performance are available nearby.

If you’ve used the 4510L or 4620L (or both!), what are your results like? Have you compared them to another Verizon device at the same location? Have you seen any interesting discrepancies like we saw in our tests? Share your results in our forums: Novatel 4510L vs 4620L




Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 May 2012 )
 
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