Are you on a Cable Modem or DSL wireline service like me?[Got em both but I have just just dropped DSL]. Well this year marks the move to Mobile Wireless as the primary data and voice carrier with superior capacity/bandwidth. Call it the iPhone and smartphone effect. Every major carrier is now offering WiFI connects through modems and/or hubs using faster connections of 3G+ [HSPA + from T-Mobile and Verizon soon] or 4G[WiMax from Sprint and LTE from Verizon and AT&T coming at the end of this year]. Clearly Mobile is breaking the old jinx of huge fiberoptic capacity spoiled by the throttling last link to consumers through DSL or Cable Modem.
The new 3G+ and 4G speeds are impressive. Think 1.5 to 3.0 Mbpsc download and 800 to 1250Kbps upload speeds. And the theory is for speeds up to the 20-30Mbps range – so expect firmware+software upgrades to the 4G networks once the buildout is completed in 2012-2013. Yes that is generally better than DSL and cable modem at the best of times. Capacity and reliability are the next questions – and Clearwire and Sprint appear to have the advantage of oodles of extra spectrum to bring to their installations. Reliability according to PCWorld is uniformly pretty high but quite variable from city to city with AT&T and Sprint leading with 94% while Verizon and TMobile sit at 92%.
Some see the mobile technologies as being remarkably similar – especially LTE and WiMax. The real contest will be first to market, spectrum bandwidth back-up and long term improvements in technology . The consensus appears to be that with WiMax is leading in the first two and LTE in the latter. But clearly smartphones has put the pressure on – and so mobile device be they laptops, netbooks, tablets/slates or smartphones will be making Mobile Broadband the Internet connection of choice for the next few years.