Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Globe Tattoo Superstick Review: Network Performance and Internet Experience

This is the part 2 of my Globe Superstick review. On this part of the review, I'll talk about what Superstick is all about - the internet experience.

 Before I proceeded on purchasing the Superstick I first acknowledged the following points: 1) Being a wireless connection, I acknowledge that my connection is not 100% reliable and stable; 2) I might not get 100% of my subscribed speed most of the time; 3) This type of connection might not give me a good online gaming experience; 4) Because I did not test the signal quality in my area, there is a chance that the signal quality that I'll get will be crappy; 4) I will exhaust all possible solutions and workarounds to make my browsing experience acceptable before calling customer service; 5) Even if I call customer service, if the quality of signal that I'm getting is really poor, the customer service and network support might not be helpful at all; 6) I might either have to deal with it for the rest of my lock in period or deal with disconnection fees. It's very important for me and to everyone who's thinking of subscribing to a 3G wireless internet to acknowledge these to keep expectations to a minimum. You can't expect wireless internet to be as good as wired internet like DSL. However, in my mind if I could make this work and the internet experience that I'd get is acceptable, the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages for me.

The moment I've got my hands on my Superstick, I got pretty excited that I've tested it right away and didn't wait for the 24-hour activation. It was strange because it worked right out of the box. From that time on, I was able to test it in a couple of different areas in Manila and even in Nueva Ecija.

EDSA-Boni, Mandaluyong
Ok this is where I used to work because I recently got relocated in Eastwood, Libis. I'm expecting the signal to be pretty good because the Globe Telecom Plaza is just a few blocks away from my building. This is one of the reasons why I favored Globe Superstick over Smart Bro Plug-it. I can't even maintain a consistent 3G signal with Smart. 

During the time I've availed the Superstick, the plan that I've subscribed to was 1299 for up to 5 Mbps (which is 7 Mbps now) and the moment I'd tested it, the speeds that I'd got were pretty good in my opinion.

This is a speedtest I got at around 4 PM

Considering that the maximum I could get during that time was still at 5 Mbps, the first speedtest that I've got above is pretty good. The speeds that I've got became lackluster during the night though.

Speestest around 9 PM
This is expected, as during this time a lot of subscribers are at home and probably surfing the net as well with their Globe Tattoo. But seeing a speedtest like this might get you pissed especially if you don't have other time to use your Superstick other than this time of the day. Luckily for me though, the speeds that I'm getting improved as the days went by. I'll show the screenshots later on.

The next screenshots are during the unholy hours when everyone else is asleep so I've already expected to get good speeds. The download speeds that I've got are pretty stellar as well.

Speedtest at around 1 AM
Speedtest at around 2:30 AM
Speedtest at around 3:30 AM

And I don't even use torrent. I see some ridiculous speeds from some people using torrent like 800 KB/s.

If streaming videos, torrent, and downloading movies and other big files are your thing then the Superstick is for you. Probably the only gripe I have with the Superstick is the browsing speed. It's very noticeable once you open several sites simultaneously and it may be due to the Globe network's relatively high ping rates and low upload speeds. Another screenshot showing the highest speed that I've got:

Speedtest taken at around 5:30 AM

I was surprised I could get something like this. It's not consistent of course, but I'm pleased with what I saw and it makes me feel confident that I won't regret getting the Globe Superstick.

Recently I've been detecting consistent HSPA+ signal in this area and I must say I'm very glad with the speeds that I'm getting. The lowest I can get is like 2 Mbps average.

Speedtest taken at around 8 PM
There's definitely a difference when you're under HSPA+ signal. Web pages load very quickly and you can definitely get consistently good speeds even during peak hours. Below is the highest I could get with the HSPA+ signal:

Speedtest taken at around 4 AM

Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati
Speedtests taken in my apartment had been pretty crappy on the first day. See my screenshots below.

Speedtest taken at 1 AM

Speedtest taken at 2 PM
Speedtest taken at 8 AM

I find it strange that the best speed that I can get is during early morning and not at dawn. For the most part it was tolerable but there are times when it's completely unusable especially every holidays when you get really crappy speeds like this:

Speedtest taken at around 7 PM on a holiday
One of the biggest concern that I had during the first few weeks was unlike in the office, I couldn't get a consistent HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) signal here at home. The signal occasionally drops to UMTS especially during peak hours. For those who don't know what UMTS is, it's the traditional 3G that we had during the days when Nokia N70 was still the hottest phone. It was actually pretty crappy at 384 Kbps max speed, and it was so bad everytime my signal drops to it because it kills all my direct downloads. The thing is, Base Transceiver Stations, otherwise known as cell sites has something like a congestion control mechanism wherein it lowers its transmission power when it reaches the maximum amount of subs connected to it, thus lowering its coverage area. Only the subscribers that are near the cell sites get consistent HSDPA signal, and it seems like I'm getting the lower end of the stick.

I tried to find workarounds to counter this. One of which is finding a different cell site other than the one I usually detect. To do this I do following: 1) I place the Superstick in a different area in my apartment like in the kitchen for example; 2) I set the Band Selection Mode to WCDMA only like in the screenshot below; 3) I tweak the frequency channel settings which is found in Settings > Wi-Fi Settings > Basic and change to a particular channel other than auto. I then check if I detect a different cell ID in 3G Settings > Wireless Info. Rinse and repeat. 

This works for the most part, but it gets pretty annoying quickly when I have to do this everytime I'm not getting a consistent HSDPA signal.

I was so pissed about this that I was already thinking of disconnection even if I have to deal with disconnection fees. However, a few weeks later I started detecting a new cell site with a pretty high RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication). I can tell that it's pretty close to my area because I'm getting as high (or less negative) as -48 (the average I could get before was -70). From that time on though, I can now get consistent speeds like the one below:

Speedtest taken at around 11 PM

Eastwood, Libis
Recently, my office got relocated in Eastwood. It wasn't a very good business decision of the company for me, but I can't do anything about it. Anyway, I'm hearing a lot of bad feedbacks from Superstick subscribers in Quezon City area, and now I understand why. You'll actually get speeds like this:

Speedtest taken at 7 PM
This speedtest was for HSPA+ signal and it was still horrible. The ping rates are very erratic as shown in the screenshot below.

I can detect a lot of cell IDs in the area. Being the most populated area in Metro Manila, this must be something that Globe has done to cover the large volume of subs but at the same time it's very annoying because I get dropped off to a different cell site every now and then which totally disrupts my downloads and browsing experience. No wonder a lot of people here complain about Globe.

Jaen, Nueva Ecija
I'm not sure how many Globe Tattoo subscribers are around but I will definitely not recommend anyone to get the Superstick if you're living here. Maybe Globe Tattoo prepaid will work for you, otherwise you won't get your money's worth. I'm actually surprised that there's 3G signal around but the best speed that I can got is actually 1.16 Mbps (I wasn't able to get a screenshot though) and that is at around 1 AM. During the day, the speeds that I'm getting are horrendous and the Superstick is almost unusable.

Speedtest taken at around 11 AM
Final Verdict
The thing is, when it's good it's really good but when it's bad, it sucks so bad. I can't describe it in a proper way because it all goes down to your location. A lot of people are complaining that all they are getting are crappy speeds and that's because they didn't test first the signal in their area before subscribing. As I've mentioned in this article, try to borrow someone else's broadband stick and try it on your house. Test different ISP providers, Smart, Globe, Sun, and pick which is the best for you.

On the other hand, I'm definitely looking forward to Globe aggressively rolling out HSPA+ networks across the country this coming next year and improving their network overall. There are still a lot of places that don't have good HSDPA signal like my town in Nueva Ecija and I do hope that Globe can do something about it. 

If you want to read part 1 of this article check the link below:

The Globe Tattoo Superstick Review: Device and Interface

Want to use the Globe Superstick for PS3 online gaming? Check out my article here:

For other Globe Superstick subscribers out there, are you satisfied with the speeds that you're getting?

If you like this post, don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed.


Anonymous said...

Cool..Thanks Dude!..can you do also a review on smart or sun? or atleast a reliable review on the other 2 networks

Anonymous said...

atleast reliable review link..thanks

Soul Annihilator said...

Thanks! Glad you liked my review. I'm afraid I won't be able to review the other 2 networks anytime soon. Smart doesn't have any good postpaid deals for 4G internet, they're mostly for prepaid, and the price is atrocious. For Sun, I'm hearing good feedbacks so far, but still depends on location. If you want to read some reliable reviews, I believe Yugatech ( and Unbox ( has written their initial thoughts and reviews on Smart Bro Rocket, though the testing they've done are not as extensive as mine ^__^

Anonymous said...

I noticed that globe has high ping results thus the network is latent and browsing experience will not be as responsive compared to fixed line broadband with ping results below hundreds.

jo teach said...

I bought one and the signal is not good maybe due to Globe upgrading its system

Anonymous said...

Malaking bagay yung mga ganitong review....thanks

Anonymous said...

The post was made sometime in 2011. Fast forward to 2013, bulok pa rin ang speed ng Globe sa Quezon City. I have a 21mbps Tattoo postpaid but I can never get anywhere half of that subscribed speed, even if I try to do speedtests during wee hours of the morning. My typical speed is 4mbps at dawn, and 1mbps during the day. Globe advertised falsely. Can the NTC be expected to step into this false advertising?


Anonymous said...

Your location determines the speed you will be getting. It is best that you test each broadband sticks and pick which is the best for you. I just hope that ISP providers would offer a trial period for Internet subscribers.

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