I was an early adopter of wireless broadband for laptops starting several years back with an offering from T-Mobile that was only as fast a dial-up connection. Later I upgraded to Verizon EVDO 1x (3G) and achieved on average about 1.5 MB down and 0.5 up. This was much better than dial-up but still slower than most cable or DSL connections to homes or businesses in the U.S. In the beginning this 3G was limited to major metropolitan areas but now is available just about everywhere.
Just a few weeks back, Verizon released its new 4G LTE wireless broadband capability, initially limited to major cities but they plan roll-outs across the country to be faster than EVDO 3G was. I was online with this new technology the first day it was offered and have tested it mostly from the northern Atlanta suburbs. The results are simply amazing and leap beyond any of the other 4G offerings which are often limited to WiMAX technology. Below is my sample broadband test using www.speedtest.net on my laptop while sitting in a café in Johns Creek, GA, about 20 miles north of downtown Atlanta.
As you can see from the screen capture shown above, I am getting 20+ MB/s down and over 10+ MB/s up. Even the quality of the connection is very high based on the 73 ms ping response time. I also got about 5 MB/s both up and down while sitting in the Denver, CO international airport. I typically get obtain those speeds or better anywhere near a metro area that is offering the 4G LTE service.
What is more exciting is that Verizon plans to offer Android smart phones later this year that will use the new 4G LTE for broadband access. Once this type of wireless connectivity becomes common-place, you will begin to see those “Free WiFi” signs disappear. Why? No one will need it.
Other companies are advertising 4G broadband but what they won’t tell you and certainly do not want you to realize is that they are based on distributed WiMAX or similar technologies. The problem with that, at least here in the Atlanta area, has been very spotty signal strength. It may work fine at one house but not at all at another house down the street. If you are driving across a WiMAX area, its going to be hit-or-miss as you go. This is not the case with the Verizon 4G LTE as it uses all of their cellular network towers which evenly cover a metro area. Once this new wireless technology blankets the country as their current 3G does, wireless will become a great option for connectivity to the internet while on the go. Thanks Verizon.
If you currently have LTE 4G or other types of wireless connectivity, please share your thoughts and connection speeds here. Things are constantly changing and I would love to know what others are experiencing in other parts of the country.