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." Wikipedia
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.

First Impression

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:

Fido LTE

Note: Used in downtown Montréal with 3 of 5 bars showing Result: 13.52Mbps / 7.69Mbps with a 33ms test ping

Fido 3G

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

Plank WIFI

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

Last note: Still to test is WIFI hotspot tethering with a MacBook Pro.

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.

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