3G speeds: better on some devices than others?

3gI’ve been using wireless broadband, or 3G technology, since mid-2004. 99% of that time, I’ve used Verizon’s EV-DO service, known as BroadbandAccess. Sure, there was that brief fling I had with AT&T’s HSDPA offering, but you never forget your first love. Well, that and the coverage area wasn’t up to snuff in my area at the time. I’ve watched Verizon move from Rev. 0 to the faster Rev. A speeds and I enjoyed the bump. I’m actually enjoying it right now on the Lenovo X301, just as I did yesterday. And it was yesterday that I ran a speedtest from my home office in the sticks: the results are shown in the image from the Lenovo X301.

That’s when it hit me. I’ve never seen speeds that fast coming down on my USB 727 device in the home office. I have DSL at the house and a speed test there shows consistent speeds down at 2700 kbps, while uploads are around 550 kbps. The EV-DO is pretty darn close, but here’s the funny part. It wasn’t always that way at my home office. Sure, the service could have been tweaked in my area or there were few cows people using it, but I’m not so sure.

I’m actually starting to wonder (as silly as this may sound): aside from signal strength, can you get better 3G throughput depending on the hardware you’re running it on? I don’t mean the 3G card, I mean: does the 3G work better on some notebook configurations over others? Since I’m out right now, I can’t do any testing, but I plan to. From the same exact location, I’ll run several speed tests with the USB 727 in the X301 again, the MSI Wind, my MacBook Pro, and other notebook or two we have lying around. I’m curious if the 3G experience is totally independent of host hardware and operating system or if it might be faster on some platforms over others. Right off the bat, I suspect the 3G drivers in some environments are more optimized than others. Sound crazy overall or has anyone else seen better speeds on one device they have over another?

I’m actually hoping this has nothing to do with the Lenovo X301. While I don’t need WiMAX speeds on it, the more I use it, the more I like it. And the more I like it…. well…

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