Cablevision is a cable television company that serves customers residing in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and parts of Pennsylvania. The company is now recognized through its branding as Optimum. Among many of Optimum’s services, let’s discuss one of their services; Optimum WiFi.
Access to Optimum WiFi is free for all Optimum Online customers. As long as you are subscribed to Optimum as your ISP (internet service provider), you have free access to their Optimum WiFi. They brag that they have over 1 million super fast WiFi internet access points throughout the tristate area. Optimum uses the potential savings on cellular data overages as its major selling point. Here is what they say say Optimum WiFi can do:
Instead of racking up unnecessary cellular data overages, Optimum WiFi users can enjoy free WiFi in the places they go every day. With access to over 1 million hotspots in the Tri-State area, Optimum WiFi can help you lower your cellular data bill by up to $20 a month*.
* $20 per month savings is based on a downgrade from a 3GB plan at $60 per month to a 1GB plan at $40 per month.
Sounds pretty good, in theory. But can you really cut down on your cellular data usage significantly?
Truth About Optimum WiFi
We need to do some real world testing in order to find the truth about Optimum WiFi.
Optimum WiFi Reliability
From what I’ve found with my experience, Optimum WiFi is very unreliable. When attempting to connect to an Optimum WiFi hotspot, it can take upwards of 2 minutes to finally connect. That’s if you are able to successfully connect at all. With the following tests I performed, it took approximately over 1.5 minutes to successfully connect to Optimum WiFi.
Optimum WiFi enables the ability to automatically connect if near an Optimum hotspot. More often than not, I’m finding myself shutting off the WiFi on my phone in order to perform necessary tasks on my phone. If an app isn’t functioning properly, I realize I’m connected to Optimum WiFi and must turn it off. Once turned off, the app is able to successfully access the internet and function properly.
Optimum WiFi Speed
Optimum is boasting that its WiFi service is “high speed.” Optimum WiFi offers download speed up to 15 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 4 megabits per second. I decided to test their speed. I used my iPhone 5s and the OOKLA Speedtest app. My results were no where near what Optimum is boasting. Here is the speed test results from my phone while connected to Optimum WiFi.
As you can see from the test result, Optimum WiFi failed to deliver as promised. The WiFi signal was strong. The ping was high. The download and upload speeds were 3.11/0.47, far from the advertised 15/4. So when Cablevision says its Optimum WiFi can cut down your cellular data charges, I don’t see how with results like this. You will be so frustrated at their speed and reliability that you’ll either wait until you get home or switch over to your cellular data.
After seeing the speed test results of Optimum WiFi, it still must be faster than my cellular data, right? Well, my cell phone carrier is Sprint, which offers unlimited data. I wouldn’t be using Optimum WiFi to save on data overages. I would primarily use it for speed and reliability. Obviously, Optimum WiFi lacks reliability but how does their speed hold up to my cellular speed? I’m not a huge fan of Sprint. I believe they are ranked on the bottom of the major carriers. But, let’s see how Sprint’s unlimited data fares in a speed test in comparison to Optimum WiFi.
While the results aren’t that spectacular, the cellular speed test had better results than Optimum WiFi. These real world test results put Optimum WiFi propaganda in its place. Don’t believe the hype!
Optimum WiFi Infrastructure
How exactly is the Optimum WiFi network built? A good majority of it is using its customers’ internet! You might be asking, how is this possible? Well, when you sign up for Optimum Online, you are given the opportunity to receive a free Optimum Smart Router.
The free router from Optimum is different than a retail version. You are not able to change any of the internal settings. If you purchase your own router, you have the ability to tweak it any way you desire. There is also an additional SSID channel built into that free router. That SSID channel is Optimum WiFi. Basically, the free Optimum WiFi service is available via the internet Optimum’s customers are paying for.
All the Optimum WiFi commercials sound impressive. However, they just don’t deliver what they say can. If your decision to go with Optimum is purely based on the notion of saving money by cutting out your cellular data, think again.