Selasa, 08 Oktober 2013

Wi-Fi...the case for using it with your Smartphones/tablets at home and wherever it's secure.

Recently I decided to do some research on LTE speeds amongst the top US carriers.  I was quite surprised at how SLOW LTE is compared to the fastest home internet speeds (and of course home Wi-Fi).  Now I'm not sure why I'm so surprised, but I truly thought LTE would bring us speeds much closer to that of the fastest Wi-Fi that is offered.  Not so, sadly.  My blog today is going to cover the research, and explain why you should DEFINITELY be using Wi-Fi at home, and also, if it has security, wherever and whenever you can.

For starters, LTE is still limited.  You hear and watch these commercials from Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile flaunting their new LTE networks and speeds.  Folks, don't believe the hype and drama!  LTE is barely faster than 3G!  I've got research to prove it.

Through an iOS App called OpenSignal, I've been able to capture some great information.  The first screen capture that you'll see, is the aggregated Network speeds provided by the four main carriers in the US.  

This picture  gives a portrayal of the speeds (2G - 4G) you are most likely to encounter as you travel in and out of your carriers coverage areas.  You will NOT obtain LTE speeds everywhere you go, even if you have an LTE capable device.  Ok.  You'll notice, when combined, Verizon can claim they have the fastest download speeds at 5.9 Mbps (Mega Bytes Per Second).  AT&T is right on their tail, coming in at 5.85 Mbps, while T-Mobile is not far behind, clocking in at 5.14 Mbps, finally Sprint trailing SO far behind it's embarrassing!

Now if we remove 2G from the equation, let's look at how the coverage and speeds change.

In the above graphic, you'll notice AT&T now has a slight advantage over Verizon, with T-Mobile coming in a respectable 3rd, and Sprint still miles away, at a crazy slow download speed of only 1.90 Mbps!!

Now, look how it changes when we limit the discussion to only 4G (LTE).

AT&T leaps ahead of Verizon, going from 6.03 Mbps to 8.35 Mbps!  T-Mobile also makes a significant jump from 5.53 Mbps all the way to 6.93 Mbps narrowly coming in 3rd to Verizon.  Sprint folks, even with their unlimited data offering is so far behind, it almost doesn't pay to be using them!

Now, why am I bothering with Cellular speeds, wasn't this supposed to be about Wi-Fi you ask?  Yes, thats exactly why I'm offering you the Cellular comparison first!

If you have internet coming into your home, you are paying for the speed with which your providers is providing your internet, which I hope you realize.  What you may not realize is that  you have the opportunity to get speeds at your home that run laps around what your carriers are able to provide with LTE right now.  Incoming internet speeds ranges from the ridiculously slow 768 Kbps (just a refresher, 1000 Kbps is equal to 1 Mbps) all the way up to warp speed of 50 Mbps.  Now, if you have internet at your home, do you even know what speed you are getting?  If not, find out!  Think of how much more efficient you'd be, and how much more you'd get it done with incoming speeds of well more than 100% faster than LTE! AT&T LTE tops out at 8.35 Mbps.  AT&T's home internet now claims to come in at over 40 Mbps!    Bazinga!  As one of my kids favorite TV show likes to say!  Even if all you do is check and respond to your email, it still pays to be doing it faster and more efficiently!  I'm not going to list all the home internet providers, or their available speeds, it's too much for this blog.  You should, however find out from your provider what speed you are getting, and if you aren't happy, get more speed!  Then, use your home Wi-Fi for your devices!  It's less expensive and it can be significantly faster!  Trust me, if you don't think faster is better with Wi-Fi, just do a test and try downloading a song, or movie at 8 Mbps, then retry at 25 Mbps, then again at 40 Mbps.  The speed difference with which downloads occur at higher rates will make you cry tears of joy!  Not too mention piss off your Cellular carriers, as you now can save money because using Wi-Fi is free (yes you pay to have internet coming to your home, but you can use as much data, on as many devices, as your heart desires, with no crappy overage costs!)

...:).  So you have a few take aways here.  First, if you have internet coming to your home, find out the speed.  Second, if you are not happy with the speed, ask for faster options.  If your current provider is limited to 20 Mbps or less, check out Comcast and AT&T.  Both now claim to have top speeds of over 40Mbps!  Third, loose the wireless router provided by your carrier, tell them you simply want a modem, then go and get yourself a great wireless router.  I highly recommend Apple's Airport Extreme.  It's the easiest to set up (can be set up right from your iPhone or iPad), easiest to use, and provides some of the best wireless coverage for your home.

I truly hope you found this information helpful, and until next time, best to you and your devices!

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