If you live or work in an urban area, you probably utilize a broadband connection to access the Internet, make VoIP calls and stream high-bandwidth video. But what if you live in a more remote area, and find the speed and reliability of your broadband connection to be less than adequate? The performance of your VoIP phones and other SIP end points solutions will most likely suffer.
With this in mind, PC Pro's Paul Ockenden recently did a few real-world tests to try to identify a viable alternative. After finding satellite data to be too expensive and slower than advertised, Ockenden took an in-depth view at mobile data solutions to see if they are capable of replacing fixed-line broadband connections that aren't delivering what they promise.
As Ockenden points out, recent network upgrades have made 3G HSPA+ service problems a thing of the past in most areas. As any long-time cell phone owner can attest, dropped calls have turned from a common occurrence to a rarity in the last few years. But are 3G connections capable of handling the data load of an entire home?
"Absolutely," says Ockenden, who for the last two weeks has been using the latest E586 MiFi device from 3 to keep his home connected. He tried both a normal 3 Pay Monthly data SIM and an inexpensive DiDa mobile SIM, finding both worked exceedingly well. Each mobile data solution provided Wi-Fi coverage throughout the entire house.
The download speeds reached 10Mbits/sec; uploads were around 2.5Mbits/sec, says Ockenden. "That’s better performance than many people get from ADSL."
Ockenden didn't tell his family about the switch, and watched as they used their laptops, Internet radios and game consoles as usual – "and they all worked flawlessly."
"I'm slightly amazed that things have progressed this quickly," he said. "A few years ago I wouldn’t have touched mobile broadband with a barge pole, yet here I am recommending it as both better and cheaper than ADSL, at least for some people."
So if you're not in love with your broadband connection – and you still want to take advantage of the power of SIP end points solutions – give a MiFi device a chance. Broadband speeds are improving, but not quite at the speed of mobile networks.
Edited by Carrie Schmelkin