3G SpeedTest: EV-DO vs. HSDPA in Phoenix

3g-speedsSince I have two 3G cards here on my travels to Phoenix, I did a quick speed test this morning. With so many variables at play (exact location, local tower coverage, others using the same pipe) this is simply a personal curiosity effort more than anything else. Someone only 50-feet from me doing the same test could potentially see the complete opposite result.

One of the 3G services is offering usable, but mediocre speeds, while the other one is nearly as fast as my home DSL.

Location-wise, I’m actually in my hotel at Glendale, which is part of the Phoenix metropolitan area. And as soon as I plugged both modem cards in (one at a time, of course!) and checked the signal strength, I had a feeling what the results would be. My Verizon Wireless USB727 showed full strength while the AT&T USB Quicksilver offered four out of six bars.

At this particular location and time, EV-DO was smoking fast:

It was faster in every way than HSDPA: upstream, downstream and latency:

These EV-DO speeds make it feel like I’m working at home… except it’s warmer here and I know that the FedEx man isn’t about to knock on the door. Other that that, I’m nearly getting the same speeds on the road as my home DSL connection which is a lowly 3Mbps/768kbps account; the fastest that Verizon offers my area until they light up the dark fiber in my front yard.

Regardless of the many variables at play, I’ll be doing the same type of test in Las Vegas and San Francisco when I hit them during the first half of January. Again, it’s more of a curiosity thing since results can vary wildly. Mainly it’s because I don’t often have the chance to carry and test two 3G adapters.

If you’re on the hunt for 3G services, be sure to check potential coverage in the locational areas that you live in, work in and generally travel in. Check the coverage maps and try to test your service as much as possible within the first few weeks as you can generally cancel the service in the first month. I made the mistake once before of not really doing my homework and I won’t do it again. Not when we still have Early Termination Fees and lengthy commitment terms. That’s the beautiful promise of WiMAX: if you can find coverage, you can go month-to-month or even get a day pass.

OK, enough testing. Tyler and I are off to meet one of the long-time jkOTR readers for breakfast. I won’t mention his name since I didn’t ask for his approval on that. Regardless, he saw my Twitter status as we traveled to the southwest and pinged us before our feet hit the ground. So breakfast with a healthy dose of 3G and some play time with the MSI Wind netbook it is!


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