OK, since my emergency I’ve had a little time with my new 4g mobile broadband service. And my regular service with Virgin appears to be working again, though now with the redundancy of two networks I wouldn’t necessarily notice the kind of downtime that plagued me before.
The 4G router is an Alcatel “one-touch”, and is only slightly larger than a mobile phone, and runs cool – all very nice. It also has a cradle-cum-power-supply, with micro-USB port for the power supply. It’s not just the cradle that has a port, the router does too, so I thought this has got to be worth a try: yes, if I connect it to a USB port on the Mac, it recognises “mobile broadband” and is connected. Great, that leaves only the (SIP) phones needing a regular ethernet port and therefore the Virgin router or other equipment I don’t have or can’t use with the 4G service.
How about performance? It feels subjectively like a very decent broadband speed, but slower than Virgin during the working day – presumably peak congestion. I tried a speed test on both connections with some of the online speed check services, using the ultrabook over wifi for all tests. First try was early afternoon when the 4g seemed slower; second was in the wee hours when all ISPs in this and nearby timezones should have ample spare capacity.
|peak time||off-peak||peak time||off-peak|
I tried a third speed check service which I’ve used before at http://www.uswitch.com/broadband/speedtest/, but it didn’t work.
What conclusions can I draw? Not very much. It somewhat supports my subjective impression that the 4g service is the more variable of the two. But interesting that 4G upload speeds appear potentially much higher than cable. I guess cable was developed originally just for telly, where only download matters.
Still evaluating what it feels like to live with.