Self-testing mobile data speeds

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As a result of thinking about how Internet (fixed line and mobile) usage is impacting Canadian and global society, I’ve been starting to look a lot closer at the services I’ve personally been using and how they rank against international standards.

With the whole 3G/”4G” network question around mobile data speeds, I wondered how my current provider stacked up. I’m in Canada on the Fido network using an iPhone 3G. According to the 3G Mobile Internet FAQ on Fido’s site,

Just how fast is it?
3G high-speed is the latest evolution of GSM, the dominant world-wide standard for mobile wireless communications. It provides downlink speeds 8 to 10 times faster than Fido’s EDGE network. Maximum peak speeds are as high as 3.6mbps with our current line of phones.

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WiFi and community development

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Just finished reading ‘Building WiFi Networks for Communities’, [PDF] an article by Catherine Middleton and Barbara Crow. It was useful in looking at alternative models for offering mobile Internet connectivity for local communities, especially for reviewing efforts this past summer by my own municipality of New Westminster to provide WiFi hotspots.

The Fredericton eZone model is an interesting build out from municipal infrastructure.  Middleton and Crow state, “What makes this situation unique is that the municipality owns and manages the network and that these three [city employees] continue to play a key role in advocating and developing the Wi-Fi network.” It makes me curious about my hometown’s efforts with Q-Net, a dark-fibre network built to drive improved broadband Internet.

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When a standard isn’t a standard

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When I first came across this article about the roast of AT&T in a commercial for T-Mobile’s launch of the an HSPA+ “4G” network, it made me consider differences between the American and Canadian telecom industries.

The Wall Street Journal says that T-Mobile and Sprint are creating confusion with the use of 4G as a marketing term for the upgrades to their current 3G networks. According to the Journal, “T-Mobile defends its decision to brand its network as 4G, claiming it is faster—downloading data at five to eight megabits a second versus three to six megabits a second for Sprint and Clearwire.” 5-8 Mbps is supposed to be 4G?

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