Private Wi-Fi is a VPN service offered by Private Communications Corporation, a company based in United States. Launched in 2010, Private Wi-Fi offers VPN services to two different types of consumers, both for personal as well as corporate use. Let us learn a bit more about the VPN service offered by Private Wi-Fi through this brief Private Wi-Fi review.
Installation & Configuration
The installation file is available from Private Wi-Fi’s website and is only made available to download by selecting the payment package, where you will be required to enter a valid email address. You can also choose the ‘Trial’ option to download the installer. The good thing about Private Wi-Fi is that the Private Wi-Fi VPN platform is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android operating systems. However, for Linux and Android users, manual VPN configuration is the only possible VPN alternative for now. Private Wi-Fi is still in the process of developing standalone VPN apps for these operating systems.
The installation process is pretty straightforward. You can have the VPN dialer installed within a few minutes. Once you have installed the software, you will have to activate it to start using the VPN connection by connecting using the platform and entering the login information that has been sent to you upon registration.
Once activated, you will be notified with a green Private Wi-Fi icon in the systems tray to let you know that you are connected to VPN. You can either choose the auto settings for the platform to find the best VPN server to encrypt your connection, or you can choose a specific server according to your requirements. The interface is indeed simplistic and is easy to use as well as understand.
Private Wi-Fi offers 128 bit encryption over OpenVPN and PPTP protocols. This is largely a drawback, as most VPN service providers offer varied VPN protocols for users who access VPN through multiple devices.
There is just a single package available that offers the entire range of VPN servers along with unlimited speed and bandwidth. For a single month, Private Wi-Fi subscription costs $9.95 per month, which is way too high compared to industry standards. You can get a discount for the annual package which costs $84.95 per year, or $7 per month. This is once again higher than the norm.
However, for more than a single subscription, there are further discounts in the form of family or corporate accounts, with the top of the corporate account for over 1000 users costing just $2.12 per month (for the annual subscription). As far as we are concerned, we would like Private Wi-Fi to reduce their normal subscription cost further.
When it comes to a free trial period, a subscriber can only receive a 3 days free trial period, which is not sufficient to properly analyze the VPN service. This is once again a drawback at Private Wi-Fi. Also, the payment options are limited to Credit Cards and PayPal. In short, Private Wi-Fi needs a major overhaul when it comes to their subscription cost, mode of payments and free trial to truly stand up to the competition.
Speed, Reliability & Bandwidth
Private Wi-Fi cannot boast of being the fastest VPN service provider, but they are not slow either. Their VPN service performed close to the 60%-80% speed threshold of the available ISP browsing speed. However, we did face a few connection issues, and we experienced drastic levels of decrease in browsing speed from a few servers. This may be attributed to the relatively lower number of servers and server locations, which is something that Private Wi-Fi can work on.
On the other hand, Private Wi-Fi does offer uncapped speed and bandwidth, making it perfect for users with high bandwidth requirements. Unlimited speeds and bandwidth are pretty much standard offerings these days, hence, it isn’t a surprise that Private Wi-Fi chose to offer unlimited data transfer for their users.
Private Wi-Fi owns server clusters; therefore, they have 16 server clusters located in different parts of the world. Being predominantly based in the US, Private Wi-Fi has a strong presence in the United States with servers located in Miami, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Virginia, Missouri, Georgia, Los Angeles and Texas. Apart from the US, Private Wi-Fi has installed server clusters in Amsterdam, Australia, Brazil, London, Toronto, Singapore and South Africa.
The number of server clusters is actually low for such a high premium, and certainly reflects why we experienced low speeds during our test runs. Granted that Private Wi-Fi adopts server rerouting technologies to equalize and spread the load over different server clusters, but the lack of extended server network is indeed known while using their VPN service.
Data Logging Policies & Online Anonymity
Private Wi-Fi guarantees 100% online privacy, and will only log user data that relates to log time and bandwidth usage. No other form of website tracking is adopted by Private Wi-Fi. However, being in the US, issues related to terrorism, piracy or other illegal activities may be monitored if intimated by a court or from other relevant authorities.
We are not entirely pleased about the procedure required for subscription either. They do collect some identifying information such as name, email address, phone number and credit card information at the time of the signup, hence, people who are extremely wary of their online anonymity do have reasons to be worried.
Customer support is indeed a good point at Private Wi-Fi, and all of the customer service channels are pretty helpful and resourceful. You can get all of your queries answered within an hour at the most. The live chat feature is only available for 11 hours a day, 7 days a week.
While the live customer support channel is available for all days of the week, users out of the EST time zone will find it difficult to contact customer support in a timely manner. However, all emails are usually answered within the hour, and we were surprised to know that responses were dispatched within 10 minutes of contacting the email support channel.
Issues & Problems
We did face a lot of speed and reliability issues, albeit not so much that we hated Private Wi-Fi. We believe this is a result of relatively low number of servers, coupled with unlimited bandwidth and uncapped browsing speed. We are also immensely apprehensive about the payment options and are not particularly pleased that we have to impart so much personal information at the time of signup.
Private Wi-Fi can be considered as an average VPN service provider that offers good quality VPN services, but one that charges a bit too much premium for the VPN privilege. Corporate VPN accounts at Private Wi-Fi makes sense due to the low monthly rate and discounts on offer, but as far as personal VPN services are concerned, there are other options, unless Private Wi-Fi addresses some of the issues such as price, speed and reliability.