So you’ve no doubt taken the plunge and some device you own has been upgraded to 4G. Maybe it’s your new iPhone 5, maybe you’ve had a Galaxy Nexus since last year or maybe you just got a shinny new MiFi device. Either way how can you know that you’re getting the fastest bandwidth possible for your mobile needs? Well we’ve found that the actual device itself can mean almost as much as the network you’re using.
The chart below shows some simple testing I did with a number of 4G devices around our office. While this isn’t the most scientific test ever devised all the devices are on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. They were all in the same physical location, my desk in our office in downtown Boulder. All tests were done using Speedtest.net – again not the most scientific testing ever but something that would give us a real world idea of what to expect.
(each device ran 5 tests and these are the averages)
The results are fairly interesting. You’ll see the clear winner, as much as those who know me know I hate to admit this – the iPhone 5. While it’s up speeds weren’t the fastest they were rather consistent and it easily was the fastest for downloads (spiking to 22MB on occasion). While I’ve seen my Galaxy Nexus hit 45MB (in Las Vegas at CES last year) I haven’t gotten anywhere near that speed here in Boulder.
The chart also shows another clear thing – the dedicated MiFi devices are consistently slower than their multi-function brothers (even bested by an iPad 3). What did we learn from all this testing – it’s time to ditch our MiFi’s and live in an iPhone/iPad world for tethering. Not only is it a less expensive option it’s clearly the faster one – at least if your travels include my desk.