Wireless Claro 4G

I purchased the $37.99 IVA included Wireless Claro 4G modem 2 weeks ago.

1 year contract,if you are like me which,I don't download stupid music,nor movies,this puppy will let you surf the web ALL month long.

I gotta say,I am impressed!! this thing is lighting fast,with little or no trouble at all.

IMO,if you live outside the city,even the boonies,such as Apanas,and maybe even la Dalia,this modem if for you,as long as you have 2-3 bars worth of reception,you got it.

It's worth giving it a shot!!

Been using it for 2 weeks,here in casares and I love it.

I'll keep you posted,should I run into trouble.

Felix

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4G USB Modem

I have a contract with Claro and DO NOT have a cedula. They will make exceptions like a 3 month deposit................ The 4G service is great!

...

I too got a contract with Claro without a cedula.

A Gadget That Connects To Computer Via USB?

I assume that this is a little modem gadget that connects to a computer via USB, is that correct?

Initially, I will be traveling with my laptop from Managua to Esteli, Matagalpa, Jinotega, then Jinotepe area. Will the gadget work in those areas reliably? I don't have a smartphone/Iphone so this sounds great, if it works in most areas.

Thanks for any information/guesstimates anyone could provide.

Yes, but....

You have to get prepago if you aren't a resident (there have been exceptions to this, but if you're picking up the modem at the Claro Store at the airport, probably not. Prepago requires a bit of fiddling with a phone (doesn't have to be that smart) and the modem.

If I were traveling though, I'd simply go to WiFi spots (which is what I did the first five months I lived in Jinotega). I know of WiFi spots in Esteli (Cafe Luna, and others) and Jinotega (Hotel Solluntuna Hem and others), and suspect you would find them at better hotels and probably some restaurants in Matagalpa. I don't know as much about the Jinotepe area but suspect that the same sorts of places would also have wifi.

Rebecca Brown

Planning on Coming Back, Long Term.

I'll be returning to Nica within 5 or 6 months of this September trip, so I'd like to have it set up for a long period of time. What are the approximate rates of the modem gadgets per month, if you know. Tried to find on it on the Claro website, but couldn't quickly locate the rates there.

Unless you can talk someone into it,

...you have to have a cedula to get a contract and flat rate service. The rates vary depending on line speed -- my monthly rate for 3 G (and I'll go to 4G when it expires) is around US $42 a month for 512 KB/sec speed (rarely achieved until fairly recently). There's a cap of something like 10 MG download at that speed, after the cap is reached, the download speed drops to something approximating dial-up. 4G looks like it's the price quotes per month in the first article in this thread, so cheaper and faster speeds. $50 for the modem.

http://www.claro.com.ni/wps/portal/ni/pc/personas/internet/internet-movi... Looks like they're also offering 4G with prepago (pay as you go), available to anyone, apparently a bit complicated to set up, and available in up to 15 day chunks. You have to buy the modem. Everything about pre-pago made it sound far less desirable than postpago.

Postpago (contract) rates are here: http://www.claro.com.ni/wps/portal/ni/pc/personas/internet/internet-movi...

I have a friend who is renting a small house for $100 a month who had cable and internet installed by his landlady before he got his cedula. Hot spots with security are not uncommon here, and you may find that where you rent already has a net connection or that your landlord would be willing to set it up for you.

I know of one place where the landlady, currently living in either Managua or Miami, is looking for a gringo renter, with rent maybe as low as $80 a month for half a house near Dino's Fusion.

Rebecca Brown

ditto what oncidiumfan said

plus what we were told with our 3g service is that it is only good within 1 KM of the tower and anything else gets iffy. In a downtown area you might be ok, but it is a fair amount of hassle and expense if you are going to be moving around. Ciber cafes are widely available for 50 cents a hour and some restaurants and hotels have wifi.

"You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality." Ayn Rand

Extending coverage

There are two things you need to do to get a decent signal a fair distance from a tower:

  1. Get the modem up away from buildings and such. If you need more cable length, you can get USB cables with a built-in repeater in 5 meter lengths.
  2. Add a reflector behind the modem. There are lots of possibilites but a piece of zinc liso maybe 250 to 500 mm square bent at 90 degrees is probably the easiest. Thus, you have sorta a V shape. Put the fold vertical with the modem in the V. Adjust the distance from the modem to the base of the V for maximum signal. A good starting distance would be about 70mm. Pointing it in the right direction and the distance from the zinc is what is important, the size of the zinc is not.

Once you get your "outside antenna" specs from playing around you can build a plastic box to mount the modem in front of the zinc and hold the whole mess up high. Or take a trip to Plastinic and see what you can find. An alternative would be to buy a plastic box, line two sides with aluminum foil to reform the reflector with a 90 bend and have one pre-built enclosure.

Antenna connector & External Antenna???

I finally ordered a couple of routers with the 3G & 4G USB modem interface from the states to solve the line length issue when you put the whole works up high.

Question:

Your corner reflector may be about 6 dB gain but the antenna on the modem probably is about -3 dBi which leaves 3 dBi net gain - Better than before - Maybe double the range.

Do any of the USB modems selling here have an external antenna connector similar those on the old 2.4 GHz WIFI PC Cards? My MoviStar HUAWEI E1756 does not but I have read that some do.

Obviously you know there are lots of simple home brew antenna designs for these frequencies that will yield 9-12 dBi gain.

Exactly

You will likely gain more by getting the modem up high and clear of objects than with the corner reflector but you need to enclose the modem in something if it is outside anyway so the box with aluminum foil approach is pretty much a free 6db.

The excuse for no antenna connectors is FCC regulations with regard to ERP but the reality is that the connectors add a lot to the cost. The last device I saw in Nicaragua with an eternal antenna connector was my 1900MHz Ericsson cel phone but, at the price of the USB modems, taking one apart and attempting to add an external antenna connection is probably worth it. It's a lot easier to kludge something at 850MHz than 2.4GHz.

Kludge

Wikipedia....

'An ill-assorted collection of poorly-matching parts, forming a distressing whole' esp. in Computing, a machine, system, or program that has been improvised or 'bodged' together; a hastily improvised and poorly thought-out solution to a fault or 'bug'. …

Have You Got

your routers to work with the Claro (or Enitel's) modems? I tried a couple of years ago, but was unsuccessful.

If successful, please share your router brand and model. This is an elegant solution that would allow multiple users, both wireless and wired.

I had a NetGear 3G wireless router that accepted a USB modem, worked great in the US, but not in Nicaragua. A simple firmware issue, I'm sure, router not recognizing the Claro modem.

I just checked and the HUAWEI E1756 >>> IS <<< supported (Oh, Happy Day!) -- Ignore the Australia and New Zealand header at the top of the page and scroll down. There is no listing for Nicaragua :)

http://www.netgear.com/3gsupport/mbr624gu/apac/Australia.aspx

You could also amplify your cell signal; simple kits are available on EBAY for well under $200, including cabling and both antennas. This is not a really robust solution for a weak signal area, but it's cheap and might improve bandwidth.

4G Claro

Do you have the model # for the 4G Claro modems? I bought the routers for the Movistar and hopes that the Claro would work too.

I have not received the routers - TP-Link & Sapido - Will post the results here in a couple of weeks.

I have the comparability problem with a Cradlepoint CTR350 Router - Worked with the Claro modem but Claro was only 256K in SJDS so I traded that for the Movistar HUAWEI E175 and it is not supported with that router. So ended up using ICS off the main computer to the cable router to share the cell connection but you gotta reconfigure when you switch cable to cell and back.

You really need a good high gain antenna up above obstructions and the LNA or modem interface up there for the best S/N but the Cell amplifier system may be good too. Might kill two birds with one stone since MoviStar signal is so so inside the building some places.

If Everyone

could take a moment and note the model number of their USB modem, and the provider (Claro, MoviStar, Enitel, etc) and the service you have, it would be very helpful.

Huawei and ZTE seem to be models found in Nicaragua. There's no question that an appliance like this would be a big plus in you have a wireless connection and more than one user.

The TP Link TL-MR3420 that JohnS mentioned is only $38 on Amazon. As he mentioned you CAN set up ICS to share the connection but for $38 it's not worth the grief. I've tried to configure ICS to broadcast over a wireless connection (through a dedicated wireless card) with no luck.

As a bonus, TP Link sounds like a very user friendly vendor:

http://www.tp-link.com/en/support/3g-comp-list/?model=TL-MR3420

Claro doesn't itself sell USB modem routers

My Mac will run as a wifi hot spot of limited range (within a few feet of the Mac). I'm not sure what the issues would be in using the chip in a stronger router or if I could use a stronger router as a repeater. Mac's "share the connection" option apparently works as a true WiFi connection (but for one of my devices, I had to do some massaging in a config file -- can't remember now if it was for the Kindle or the phone).

If the Mac can use the modem with its wifi, then it seems that other devices should be able to do this, too. It may be that a config file in the router would need to be changed, if that's possible.

Rebecca Brown

my model is a..

HUAWEI E153 BTW I could careless if my USB modem was 1G, at the speed I am surfing!!! I am amazed!!! nuff said.

Frequency Used By 4G

is same or is it piggy backed on the 800 Mhz cell signal ?? Does anyone know?

I was able to get 3G signal acknowledgement on a friend's phone at my place, 17 Km from the tower, and receive emails, but that's a lot different than a viable internet connection used for browsing.

I want to amplify the signal for better consistency and increased bandwidth but would need an amplifier specific to the required frequencies, if 4G is using a different one. Seems like a lot of extra infrastructure for Claro to invest in compared to the potential demand. All the urban users are probably going to have access to fast cable internet.

No radio changes

The unofficial but authoritative word is that there is no radio changes involved. Thus, same frequencies.

By unofficial but authoritative I mean someone who actually knows but is not authorized to BS customers. :-)

The remaining question is where is the service available but as as there is no change in the expensive pieces, it should happen a lot more quickly than when they did their frequency change a few years ago.

Thanks!

Good to know if a guy with way too much time on his hands wants to home brew a cheapie antenna and solder a hunk of coax between that and the modem. Isn't gonna be me though.

BTW - Anybody know anything about Dennis and GGNET service? I still have a tower & modem but it all seems dead for quite a while.

yes.. it's a USB wireless Modem

infact I am currently 1 hour away from Jinotepe

Forgot to Ask: What's the Monthly Fee for the 4G gadget service

Can you say what you are paying per month for the Claro 4G service? Thanks.

I have the 3G as a back up to my cable system

If you get in the right spot its great. Glad to hear the 4G works so well I think I will upgrade. I am sure some kid will be happy to have to have the old 3G.

If it exists ...

At least as of a few months ago, not even 3G existed in San Nicolas. Sure, 19 months ago I was assured by a person in Enitel in Estelí that it did exist but I happen to know better.

I just went to the "Claro" web site. They have "updated" the information such that it seems to tell you less than it used to. It lists towers in Estelí that might offer 4G service but places where they used to claim 3G existed (Santa Cruz and San Nicolas, for example) seem to be missing.

So, I am happy your 4G works where you are but i would not make any assumptions about where the service really is available -- yet. My guess is that it will become the common Internet over a phone network approach of Enitel but I don't think it is ready for prime time yet.

For me, the most amusing about the updated web pages is that the service that I actually have seems to no longer be listed.

yeah

I used to have their top of the line 500+, this one is 1.5, triple the speed,and it show, this is faster than my cable connection t1 I have in Florida,no $hit,phil.

We have 3G in La Dalia..

I bought the 3G USB last month, If I go up on the mountain to where I can see La Dalia I get an HSPDA connection, which is not to shabby,bounces up to 400+. I am using it right now sitting on the roadside near Matagalpa, the 4G sounds great, I wonder if I can trade-in for an upgrade.

-Doug ©

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate

...

"the 4G sounds great, I wonder if I can trade-in for an upgrade."

Doug, you're dreaming in technicolour. Claro's motto:

"We're not happy unless you're not happy!"

the claro 3 g used to work in la dalhia ..

and waslala..i had a tough time canceling my yearly contract with them..when it quit working..moviestar is putting towers in ,out that way..i hope they offer internet..waslala..dosent even have a internet cafe

....

Are there download limits on this package?

yes..

I believe it's 10 MB,but like I said,unless you download stuff a lot, simple surfing will last you way over a month. I hardly ever download anything,so me me it's great.

...

Thanks Felix.