best mobile broadband in your opinion?
September 16, 2007 7:10 PM   Subscribe

of the mobile broadband services like sprint, verizon, etc, which one is best?
posted by irie1972 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Select tech: wireless on
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:23 PM on September 16, 2007

I can only speak to Verizon's BroadbandAccess service, as that is what I have. It was chosen for one simple reason; we have a contract with Verizon Wireless.

Be aware that it is not broadband as you are used to when the term broadband is used; in fact, it is quite slow. I find that it is very useful in the airports when I need to access Outlook e-mail, and maybe check a few web sites, and do some instant messaging. Depending on where you are, it can be slow, however. Latency is an issue, where you type in an address, there is a delay in response before anything happens.

In the Minneapolis airport, it didn't work at all. Couldn't get a signal on my Verizon Treo 650 either, so its probably a Verizon coverage issue. However, if you are ever using that airport, be warned, you might not have coverage.
posted by benjh at 7:27 PM on September 16, 2007

The answer is going to depend on where you live/travel and which company offers the best coverage in that area. I live near Joshua Tree National Park in SoCal and travel between here and Eugene, OR. Sprint's coverage is great for me, but YMMV.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:51 PM on September 16, 2007

All the cellular data options suffer from a common failing: The more users you're sharing the air with, the less bandwidth you have. Since a given tower may cover several square miles, each sector has dozens or hundreds of users in it, any of whom may be active at any moment. Mobile broadband is usually smokin' fast at 3:00am, but not so peppy during the day.

Because of this, the carriers have incentive to discourage heavy use of the service. Check your email, fine. Just don't run bittorrent, they will kick your ass off. You may or may not get away with uploading a memory card's worth of photos to your gallery every day for a week.

Those are the common elements. Now for the differences:

EVDO Rev 0 (the original) is acceptably fast (1-2Mbps) in the downlink direction, but dirt slow (180kbps?) in the uplink, so it's suitable for web browsing but those of us with cameras and galleries aren't so enamored of it. Rev-0-capable phones and cards are all over the place.

EVDO Rev A (being deployed now) is faster, 3-5Mbps down and 1-2Mbps up. Rev A cards are getting common, though many older devices aren't capable. Even if your card is only rev 0, sharing an A-capable sector with other A-equipped users means that their data takes less time to move, so there are more timeslots left over for you, and things move a bit easier.

Sprint got started on the Rev A upgrades a bit sooner than Verizon, but Verizon's been building like crazy and I think they're about even now, in terms of covered area. The differentiating factor will be the terms of service, what you're allowed to use it for.

I don't know squat about EDGE, HSDPA, and HSUPA. I'll let others speak to that.
posted by Myself at 10:56 PM on September 16, 2007

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