No, we’re not a Verizon blog (we’re still on AT&T) but we have had the opportunity to put a lot of the new Verizon gear through the paces lately. Our latest frolic was with the Pantech UML290 from Verizon. It’s the first 4G-capable, Mac-compatible modem available from Verizon. The modems have been available from VZW for a couple months but they weren’t Mac-compatible. Thankfully, VZW pushed out an update to the VZAccess Manager software last week… we downloaded, installed and tested right away.
Let’s start with the good stuff: speed. We were able to get 10mbps down or faster in all of our testing. That’s it.
Everything else is pretty… meh. All of that “meh” relates to the poor performance of Verizon’s VZAccess Manager. Downloading and installing it was easy enough but connecting to the Verizon 4G LTE network proved to be very cumbersome and definitely not user-friendly. Even though we could see the 4G modem and the 4G network in the access manager, we couldn’t get our MacBook Pro to connect.
Without a good walkthrough, we ended up guessing many of the configuration steps. We searched online and couldn’t find an updated setup guide for Mac connectivity. We plugged the device into the laptop, launched VZAccess Manager and ignored all of the system prompts to connect via Network Settings. During our time trying to connect, we determined a few best practices for connectivity:
- Use VZAccess Manager to disconnect your Wi-Fi network (if you’re currently connected) before you connect to 4G
- Connect to the Verizon Wireless VZAccess network for 4G connectivity
- If it fails to connect, quit the application, unplug the modem and then try connecting again.
- If it still fails, restart the computer and the try again.
The whole process seemed very “PC” and not the kind of experience Mac users have come to expect. We hope that Verizon will put out an update that makes connectivity easier. If you have the Pantech UML290 and had better luck with the Mac software, please let us know what you’re doing differently. Right now, we’ll rate this as extremely annoying but very powerful when it works. Meh.