Mobile Broadband Speed

Mobile Broadband provides access to the internet using a mobile network. It can deliver speeds somewhat similar to a cable broadband. Future mobile networks are expected to deliver even better speeds ranging beyond 100Mbps. The mobile broadband providers in UK have started adapting various new mobile technologies like 3G and 4G to improve existing speeds. The Average Mobile Broadband Speed offered in the country is between 3.6Mbps to 7.2Mbps. It is expected to reach up to 14.4Mbps before the end of 2010.

How to calculate Mobile Broadband Speed?

As we all know, computing speeds are always calculated in bits and bytes. In any type of broadband connection, the number of data packets that can be transmitted in a given time is called as speed and is calculated in Mbps (Mega-Bytes-per-second). It’s a known fact that theoretical speeds are not 100% attainable. There is always a difference between the Offered speed and Actual speed or Download speed. “Offered speed” is the maximum speed that can be offered by the base station of a certain mobile network, while the actual speed is the speed that is attained by a user at a specific time. The time taken for the completion of a download is calculated only based on the actual speed.

Factors affecting Mobile Broadband Speed

There are a number of factors that can affect the speed of a network. Especially mobile broadband networks are vulnerable to many factors that can slow down the rate at which data travels and can result in packet loss.

  1. The mobile broadband networks works based on many network standards like 2G, 3G and 4G. All these standards have a maximum threshold speed that can be offered to a customer. Mobile operators can offer better speed only based on the type of network standard they use.
  2. The users of a certain area are linked to the nearest mobile base station for receiving the signals. This is called content-ratio. Users might experience slow speeds when the content ration increases.
  3. Speed of the internet is directly proportional to the coverage and signal strength. No coverage and weaker signal strength can affect the speed of a mobile broadband connection.
  4. Mobile Signals have lesser penetration to underground rooms, glass doors, thick walls, etc. So mobile broadband access would be faster in open places than indoor.
  5. The speed also varies with the type of mobile broadband modem used by the customer.
  6. Speed of the internet normally drops when the connection is shared among multiple users or devices.
  7. Unlimited mobile broadband users might face slow speed issues due to excess usage against the fair usage policy.

Mobile Broadband Speed Comparison in UK

In UK mobile broadband is offered using both 2G and 3G standards. 2G broadband can offer speeds up to 1Mbps while 3G broadband can offer a maximum speed of 14.4Mbps. Some places in the country are also served using integrated services. At present all the mobile broadband providers are in the process of upgrading the network to 3G standards.

3 mobile networks use the HSDPA technology which is a 3G standard. They offer speeds up to 3.6Mbps, however they assure their users to receive speeds up to 2.8Mbps. Users might also receive speeds of 7.2Mbps and above in few places as they are in the process of upgrading their network speeds.

O2 mobile broadband offers speed between 384Kbps and 3.6Mbps. They provide data transfer using technologies like GPRS and HSDPA. O2 mobile broadband users can expect an average speed of 1.8Mbps across UK.

Orange mobile broadband offers an integrated service of their 2G and 3G networks. So there are variations across the country in the download speed. Some areas might receive a speed of 3.6Mbps and others might receive 7.2Mbps. They are in the process of upgrading the networks and assure speeds up to 7.2Mbps throughout UK within the end of 2010.

Vodafone offers PAY as you Go mobile broadband service at a speed of 3.6Mbps and Pay Monthly broadband service at 7.2Mbps. They also offer a professional modem that is capable of delivering speeds up to 21.2Mbps.

T-mobile broadband speeds vary depending on the whether it’s Pay per day or Pay monthly or Pay upfront plan. Pay Monthly dongles can offer speeds up to 4.5Mbps while other dongles offer an average speed of 3.6Mbps. However upgradation of the networks might show variation of speed which can reach a maximum of 7.2Mbps.

Virgin mobile broadband offers a speed of 7.2Mbps with its 3G service. It covers almost 85% of country and is expected to expand and upgrade the network in the future.
Mobile Broadband in expected to gain more coverage and speed even better than the fiber optic broadband services. Research and implementation of technologies like 4G is said to reach speeds up to 1Gbps, however the average speeds will be 100Mbps across the country. These speeds can download full length movies within 2 to 3 minutes. These improvements in the mobile network can offer seamless connectivity across the country and play the role of communication.

How to boost up Mobile Broadband Speed?

Boosting up your mobile broadband speed doesn’t mean that a user can receive a better speed than other users and also it does not provide the speed equivalent or more than the threshold. Gaining a faster internet access begins right from choosing the mobile broadband connection.

  1. It’s good to know the mobile broadband coverage and availability of a certain provider in your location and across UK. Also frequent travelers are advised to check the availability of mobile broadband abroad.
  2. Every mobile broadband kit will contain a USB cable which can be used to improve the signal strength, especially while using it indoor.
  3. Users can also try using the 3G signal boosters that can provide better signals to the USB modems indoor.
  4. Wireless mobile broadband can provide slower speeds if the connection is shared beyond 4 users.
  5. Users should be aware that all the mobile broadband plans are limited to a fair usage policy even if it’s an unlimited connection. Usage allowance mentioned in the fair usage policy will force the providers to slow down the speed.
  6. Users have to regularly download and install the updated the firmware for the USB modem to receive better access to the 3G signals.