Wednesday, 18 December 2013

What it says on the tin: Asahi mobile WiMAX

WiMAX is a standard for high speed wireless internet. No need for phone lines or fiber installations means lower startup costs and less messing about in broken Japanese with multiple service providers.What's not to like?

A lot, apparently. This post on the famous GaijinPot almost put me off subscribing. I am glad I ignored it.

Asahi-net seems to be the only English language ISP that provides WiMAX. The current campaign is Y3790 per month. First month free. Free router. 40mbps unlimited download.

For real.

The router came in the mail a few days after registration. Wife picked the type (URoad Aero - see picture) and the colour. It's a lot smaller than it looks in the photos so it's a good thing she picked something that stood out. The instructions say to turn it on and connect using a specific SSID and WEP key. The instructions were right. I didn't have to configure it at all. No ports to unblock. No account details to enter. It just. Magically. Works.

Laptop PC, Android phones, and Sony PSP all connected ok. The range of the router is not fantastic, maybe one or two walls. But that's understandable given how tiny it is, and it's thus perfect for apartments or small houses. Besides, if reception is a problem, you MOVE THE ROUTER. That's right. Pick it up and MOVE IT to where you are. No fiddly antennae, no bulky power packs, no cords, no phone lines. Remember? Battery is enough for over a day of smashing the internet. At the in-laws place in Shinjuku. At home forty minutes out of Tokyo. Think about it: Internet. Anywhere.

One or two reviewers gave WiMAX stick because it cuts out on the train. Well, it's not your cellphone which hops between towers. It's supposed to bring internet to static locations where cable is not laid. But even though coverage of Japan is high, it pays to check your intended service area, and you can do that (and more) at the product page.

What about the alleged poor bandwidth and latency? Nuh uh. Totally false. I've used Skype video calls. Wife has used Skype video calls. We double-team YouTube. I just finished torrenting a public file at 48Mbps while writing this. I use it to SIP call international and local numbers at rates I could only dream of getting from local Japanese carriers. I would say it beats the ADSL at the in-laws.

In closing, this post is my response to the poor review, without having to sign up for a gaijinpot account. I hope you read both before deciding whether this product is for you.

It certainly rocks my world.


  1. Hi!

    I'm thinking of purchasing the Asahi Wi-Max when I arrive in Japan next month, and I was wondering if everything can be done online or do I have to physically go to the store? Also, do I just give them my credit card information (it will be a foreign MasterCard) and they will then charge it every month?

    Also, since I will only be staying a year, do you think that the Wi-Max will suffice as my main internet connection + phone internet? I plan on making the majority of my calls through Skype and LINE (so I guess I won't be purchasing a SIM card or phone plan).... I don't really game nor torrent anything, but I will probably be watching YouTube. Do you think this is a good plan?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Sorry, didn't see the comment until today. But to answer your question, everything can be done online, but you need a Japan address. We do something similar to your internet-only plan, but I also have a smartphone SIM because I need to receive SMS. WiMax 2+ has better coverage, but longer contracts. Anyway, welcome to Japan.

  2. Thanks for the review!
    Fortunately I read your review and not rely only on the review on GaijinPot.
    I just ordered one today.
    Lets hope it does its magic!