With my iPhone 5 came a new SIM card and access to new network in Montréal. LTE, or “Long Term Evolution”.
"LTE is anticipated to become the first truly global mobile phone standard."
While it's been around for a year or so depending on your carrier or plan, the iPhone 5's launch will surely be its coming out party. Currently the LTE network is limited to only the major Canadian cities but you can expect that to grow quickly over the next couple years.
I won't go into the details about what, why and how it works but suffice to say it's a big upgrade with a bright future — so bright that it's theoretical maximum speed tops out at shocking 300 Mbps according to the spec.
I've only had it for a couple days but within minutes of using my phone, outside of a WIFI network, it was apparent something had changed. I uploaded a photo from Lafointaine park while out on a Sunday stroll and instead of the usual 15-20 seconds between hitting send on the email and hearing the confirmation "whoosh" it took around 2-3 seconds.
A bit of quick testing
Here's the breakdown compared the normal networks that I use everyday. Let's start with LTE:
Note: Used in downtown Montréal with 3 of 5 bars showing
Result: 13.52Mbps / 7.69Mbps with a 33ms test ping
Note: Used in downtown Montréal
Result: 7.00Mbps / 2.56Mbps with a 67ms test ping
Note: Videotron 30 connected to a 2008 Apple Airport Extreme using 802.11n
Result: 17.06Mbps / 4.45Mbps with a 16ms test ping
Note: Fibre 100/100Mbps connection from Openface connected to a 2009 Apple Airport Extreme using 802.11n)
Result: 23.98Mbps / 27.18Mbps with a 7ms test ping
Still to test is WIFI hotspot tethering with a MacBook Pro.
What about the rest of the world?
Seems everyone is happy. LTE is living up to most promises if you live in a major Can/US city.
It’s a new—crazy fast—age in Midtown. twitter.com/beaucolburn/st…— Beau Colburn (@beaucolburn) September 24, 2012
Hey tweeple, what kind of LTE speeds are you getting in Montreal? Mine shows 11.52Mbps down and 22.34Mbps up which seems highly abnormal.— Janina (@nanananini) September 24, 2012
What could I offer as a summary?
I probably need to optimize my networks a bit for one. I know the LTE speeds I saw on the SpeedTest were slow. I'm curious as to why and how or where they'd be faster.
More importantly, the age of high speed internet in your pocket is here. For most tasks I do on my phone everyday, unless there's hi-res video or photography involved, the internet connection is so fast it's instant. Syncing and accessing the cloud feels like local memory access. Maps and searches are done before the light changes or the fork in the road comes up (from the passenger seat of course).
It just feels like the future.