Reliance JioFi Review: Can it replace home internet?
4G LTE network is not a new thing in India. Almost five years ago we got our hands on the first Airtel 4G LTE network in Kolkata. At that time 4G technology was in its early stages. It was available only in few selected cities. 4G LTE enabled phones and data plans were expensive. It never became mainstream until the introduction Reliance Jio which revolutionized the mobile industry. Jio stepped up the game and forced other mobile networks to expand 4G network and offer better services at an affordable price. Now 4G devices and data plans have become affordable and within the reach of most of the people. 4G LTE network coverage is now more robust and available in most of the places. Reliance introduced JioFi 4G LTE device which can act like a portable Wi-Fi router. I was thinking maybe it can be used as the primary internet connection at home. But is it good enough to replace your broadband connection? Should you cancel home broadband connection? Let’s find out.
Reliance JioFi Review:
What is Reliance JioFi?
Reliance JioFi is a 4G enabled Portable WiFi Router with built-in nano SIM card slot. It works just like a Wi-Fi router. JioFi first connects to the 4G network and then creates Wi-Fi hotspot. You can connect all your WiFi enabled devices to JioFi and enjoy fast internet connection. Maximum 32 Wi-Fi enabled devices can be connected to JioFi. But it is recommended to connect maximum 10 devices at a time for the best performance.
JioFi is powered by a 2300 mAh battery that can offer 5-6 hours battery life. When the device is not actively used, it goes to power saving mode that increases the battery life. There is a also a Micro SD card slot that accepts cards up to 32 GB. It can be used to share files between multiple phones, tablets, or computers.
JioFi M2S hardware and design:
Reliance offers a few different JioFi devices. I’ve got the JioFi M2S model. It looks nice and very compact. You can easily carry it anywhere, even put it in your pocket or throw inside backpack. JioFi M2S has five status lights that show the 4G network strength, internet connectivity, Wi-Fi, WPS, and battery status. Here I would like to mention that the glossy surface is prone to scratches. I wish they had used a different material here or used matte finish.
There are two buttons on JioFi M2S. The power button is on the top and WPS setup button is on the left side. To turn on the WiFi hotspot, long press the power button. The device boots up really quick. Short press on the button will show you the battery, network, and WiFi status. Removing the back cover gives access to the 2300 mAh battery, nano SIM, and Micro SD card. It can be charged using a micro USB cable.
Setting up JioFi is easy. After activating the SIM card, you can connect to a computer to using a micro USB cable. This will start the USB tethering option and you can start using the internet right away. To connect additional Wi-Fi enabled devices you need to know the Wi-Fi hotspot password. The default Wi-Fi password is printed inside the device. Open the battery cover and take out the battery and note down the password. JioFi supports Wi-Fi b/g/n protocols in 2.4 GHz band. There is not support for Wi-Fi ac or 5 GHz band.
JioFi has a web based setting page. Just visit http://jiofi.local.html/ or 192.168.1.1 from any device connected to the Wi-Fi hotspot. Here you can see various system details. Click on the ‘login’ and enter username and password to access the settings page. The default username and password is ‘administrator’. On this page you can change Wi-Fi password, admin password, update JioFi firmware etc.
JioFi speed test and Wi-Fi performance:
JioFi is advertised with maximum download speed up to 150 Mbps and upload speed up to 50 Mbps. But we should keep in mind that this is the theoretical speed which no one will ever get. The reason is that on wireless networks, the actual speed depends on many factors like signal strength, number of active users, network congestion etc. So, I was keeping my expectation realistic.
The maximum download speed I achieved on JioFi was around 30-35 Mbps. This will be good enough for most of us. You can easily connect multiple phones, tablets to the JioFi hotspot and use them simultaneously. I also tested streaming Full HD videos on YouTube on phone and smart TV and it worked flawlessly. 4K video streaming will also work if you have compatible 4K TV. Browsing internet is a pleasant experience, web sites load quickly.
But speed of JioFi is not consistent. Sometimes it dropped to 3-4 Mbps which is similar to 3G speed. This can become an issue when this speed is shared between multiple devices. But overall, I’m satisfied with the performance. It fared a lot better than any other wireless internet modems (BSNL EVDO and MTS MBlaze) I’ve used before.
The Wi-Fi range of JioFi M2S is not great. It may not be sufficient for large homes. That is expected from a portable Wi-Fi router of this size which doesn’t have any external antennas. For small size homes it it good enough.
Reliance JioFi M2S price:
Currently JioFi M2S is on sale for Rs. 999 for a limited period of time. The regular price is Rs. 1999.
JioFi data plans:
JioFi has the same data plans as the mobile. This is actually a good thing as it reduces the confusion. All plans come with unlimited local, STD voice calls, and roaming. To make and receive HD voice calls you need to use the Jio4GVoice app on phone.
Reliance is offering few different plans to Jio Prime members. Some plans have daily data limit while others have fixed amount of data. You can check all JioFi data plans here. The cheapest plan starts at Rs. 19 that gives 150 MB high speed data for one day. The most expensive plan costs Rs. 9999 that gives 750 GB high speed data for 360 days without any daily data limit. Internet speed drops to 64 kbps after exceeding daliy data limit. Basically it becomes unusable at this speed.
Most of the plans come with daily data limits which ranges between 150 MB/day to 3 GB/day . The Rs. 799 plan increases the daily data limit to 3GB. There are no other plans which offer more than 3GB data/day. While this is adequate for browsing and light video streaming, it is not suitable for streaming movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. I wish Reliance Jio to offer some truly unlimited data plans or at least increase the daily data limit. Till then I wouldn’t replace home broadband connection with JioFi.
Are you using Reliance JioFi? How is your experience so far? Share your JioFi review in the comment section.