Mar 15, 2013

VIP5: TM Unifi HSBB Installation and performance

TM's Unifi High Speed Broadband (HSBB) began its availability in my area (Taman Bukit Serdang, Seri Kembangan) since early January 2011. I have noticed the TM contractors laying out the fibre optics cables in the area about a month prior its availability. TM Unifi initial launch started off with waiving the RM200 installation fee until a few months after that, they took off the promotion and started charging new customers the RM200 installation fee (additional RM40 spread over 5 months bill). Not only until recently they resumed the promotion until 31/03/2011. On top of that, people who register online will enjoy one month free subscribtion. For more information, you can go to

You could say that I have tried almost all mobile broadband services available in Malaysia and I can conclude that almost all are below my expectation. So before the promotion ends, I registered for the Unifi service online on 7/02/2011. The online registration is very much straight forward. If you've had an account with TM before, they will have your records to speed up the process. You will have three package options; VIP5, VIP10 or VIP10 with the monthly charge of RM149, RM199 and RM249 respectively.

All packages include the HyppTv service, broadband service and a fixed line telephone. You will also get to select your preference for the fixed line telephone number, giving the last 3-4 digits of the phone number of preference and it will generate the available suggestions. Lastly, you will need to select the appointment date where the TM unifi installer will come over to your house and install the service. The appointment dates options are auto-generated according to available slots. At first, it listed dates in middle march 2011, I refreshed the page and it shows earlier dates in end of February.

So I selected on the latest date available which is on the 24/02/2011. I'm not sure why this happens, but if you you're lucky, you can get earlier dates to get your TM Unifi installed. In my case, I was able to get my Unifi roughly within two weeks from the date of registration. I thought that was pretty impressive!

Just a few days before installation, a TM representative called me to confirm the appointment time and date. They also advice me to prepare a 4-point power socket extension to power up all their equipments. So on the day they came in with these four equipments to set up.

Clockwise from top left: D-Link DIR-615 Wireless N Router (Residential Gateway), TM IPTV Set-Top Box IPtv (Hypp TV STB), Motorola DECT phone, Huawei HG655a VDSL2 modem. So make sure you know where you want to place these equipments and take consideration of where the wires are going to be as well. Note that my residence is a high rise building hence the use of the VDSL2 modem. The fibre optic cable only goes up to the server room at base of the apartment and the service is distributed via the normal copper phone line to every apartment units. Where as for landed property, the fibre optic cable will go directly onto the Optical Network Unit (ONU) replacing the VDSL2 modem. The equipment and cable setup will look pretty much like below.

Depending on your residence, and how you want to set up these equipments. It is a good idea to plan where they are going to be placed and how you are going to lay the cables. Otherwise it can be quite messy. For high rise units, you might want to consider the location of your telephone point and your TV. If it's not close to each other, you might want to prepare an extension for the telephone line (Point 1 - Point 2). The ones that came with the modem are only 1.5m long. Even though it stated there for standard (no charge) wiring consist of 15m of each fibre/ethernet/phone cable, the TM Unifi installer did not provide a longer telephone cable. I end up buying myself a 5m extension telephone cable for merely RM4.00. No biggie. But if I want to make a fuss, I could... since its all there in B&W. Installation was all up and running within one hour. Thanks bro TM.

So lets look at the equipment one by one.

1. HUAWEI HG655a VDSL2 Modem

HUAWEI HG655a VDSL2 Modem - Front View

HUAWEI HG655a VDSL2 Modem - Rear View

From left:
  • DSL: Telephone line coming from the wall socket to the DSL port of the modem
  • PHONE 1: DECT cordless phone hooks up to this port
  • PHONE 2: For a second phone
  • LAN1: Connects to the Wireless-N Router (Residential Gateway)
  • LAN2-LAN4: I was informed that these ports do not work. (untested tho)
  • RESET, ON/OFF, POWER. (Self explained)
The modem generate quite a bit of heat while in operation, so I think it's best to place it in a well ventilated area to reduce the heat stress on the electronics.

2. D-Link DIR-615 Wireless-N Router (Residential Gateway)  and 3. Motorola C601A DECT Phone

Phone and Router (Front View)

The telephone that came with this looks simple and sleek. I kind of like it. The Router in the other hand are in the TM colour theme (white+orange). I would have preferred if it was black so it would go together with the modem and the phone. Now out of the sudden I have something that looks like a child's toy with blinking lights and two antennas. So I have that ugly thing nicely tucked behind the TV out of everyone's view. It also has a USB port in front for USB printers and storage sharing.

Router (Rear View)

So looking at the ports from behind. From left, we have the red Ethernet cable which is the Ethernet cable going to the IPtv STB unit. Then it has 3 ports to distribute the internet via Ethernet cables (4 x 1.5m cables provided in the box). One port at the far left is the WAN Ethernet cable coming from the VDSL2 modem that provide the main connection to the internet.

So depending on where your computer is, you have the option of connecting it via ethernet cable to these 3 available ports or you can just connect it wirelessly.

4. IPTV Set-Top-Box (STB)

STB (Front View)

STB Remote Control

Above is the STB or similar to the ASTRO decoder to provide the IPtv service named HyppTV that comes together with the Unifi service. IMO the device has this typical cheap-china made built quality as compared to the Astro decoder. Same goes the remote control that looks like those DVD players you buy from Tesco for RM99, but we will see how this STB performs later. I found out later that it is actually made by HUAWEI as indicated at the bottom of the unit.

The rear of the STB includes the Ethernet Port (Red Cable) which is connected from the Router that connects it to the internet for the TV service. It is recommended that you connect the STB to your HDTV via the HDMI cable provided. For older tv's that do not have HDMI ports have the option to connect via the RGB/V (Video) and L/R (sound) cables (also provided), but you will loose out on the picture quality if the channel are in high definition.

Now, lets look that the performance of the internet speed. Am I really getting for what I am paying for?

Below are several tests from

Download speed is fairly consistent within the range of 4.5 - 5.0 Megabits per second as per package subscribed of 5Mb/s. While upload speed can reached more than 5Mb/s. Most users are downloading more than uploading, so I guess TM are not so concerned on capping the upload speed. For download speed, it is very much regulated to what I am subscribed to.

I also tried downloading a file from a website and received pretty much the same result below. Transfer rate was at around 650 kB/s which rounds up to 5200 kb/s. Note that 1 byte(B)=8 bits(b).

So you can imagine how snappy it is when surfing website even with heavy flash and graphics as compared to my previous mobile broadband service. Youtube viewing is also streaming seamlessly even when viewed at 1080p high definition without pauses for buffering/loading. Awesome!

Now lets see what the IPtv service has to offer!

Don't expect too much from the channels available, as of now there are only 14 free channels provided with the package. See them below.

All these free channels are broadcast in standard definition except LUXE.TV channel which is in HD. You also have the option of subscribing to additional premium channels for an additional charge billed on to your account.

On top of the premium channels, there are also Video On Demand (VOD) Channels where you can individually subscribe to content to your liking. This is the first of its kind service available in Malaysia and I find it very convenient to be able to watch anything whenever you want to (with a price, of course).

Choices of content in the VOD are a lot to choose from but still quite limited, TM should look into putting in more content in the VOD section and revise the price and package to attract more viewers. Also, perhaps the VOD movies should be in HD adding more value to it. As for me, I think I would skip it for now.. after all, we have the high speed internet for that :)

This is how the mosaic channel (CH100) looks like on the TV. I think the User Interface is pretty neat and cool as opposed to the STB unit. It not as dodgy as expected. From there you can scroll to the channels available.

Below is the sample of LUXE.TV HD channel and the info tab on screen. Pretty nice I'd say.

One thing about HyppTv, when there is a thunderstorm, service still continues! :) but I do notice sometimes (with or without rain), there are sudden image pixel distortion for a split second. It is still bearable though, nothing major. If it gets worse then I will give TM a call.

Overall, I can say that internet speed is up to what is promised and I am satisfied. I would go for the 20Mb/s! but as for now 5Mb/s is enough for my daily needs with only 2 computers in this household.

As for the IPtv, it needs a lot more quality channels if TM plans to compete with Astro which currently monopolised the pay tv services in Malaysia. I was informed that channels such as HBO, Discovery, Nat. Geo. etc are signed in a bond with Astro as the exclusive provider in Malaysia. Hence TM are not able to provide those channels on HyppTv. I have high hope for HyppTv to be at par with Astro as this will create a healthy competition. In the end, consumer will benefit.

I forgot to add that the VIP5 package supposedly comes with 60GB worth of data download per month but according to unifi's website, it is not yet imposed. I guess they are monitoring customers usage first before implementing the quota limit. I will monitor the speed throughout the month and see if there are any changes.

That's all for now (wow, this is a very long post!)... Sorry to bore you!

This article was written by ickytech posted by guest blogger you can also post yours contact me!


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