4G networks have finally come to our country, and Vodafone was the first to offer this type of coverage with an initial offer of which we speak and that can be enjoyed in 7 cities of our country.
In recent days we have access to that test 4G network Vodafone, and this allowed us to evaluate the performance and behavior of a technology that, yes, he still has a long way to go in terms of coverage. This article is complemented with impressions after this week of using 4G Vodafone have posted on Engadget.
An ADSL in your pocket
The tests, carried out in different areas of Madrid, have allowed to take a first important conclusion: the coverage is still spotty. Even in areas where coverage is assumed that 4G is high, the quality of the connection varies with ease.
The use of existing frequency bands is undoubtedly one of the factors limiting the quality and performance of these 4G connections. The release of the 800 MHz band markedly facilitate access to this technology and more performance and, above all, more sustained.
Having a device with support 4G (or LTE, a name often used more smartphone makers) represents a dramatic leap in data connections.
I will say that the jump is as dramatic as we saw when taking the first ADSL connections, but since then the change is impressive, with connection speeds that pose many new insights into the world of mobile and fixed telephony.
The Figures, Shocking
In our tests we traverse some neighborhoods in Madrid to assess the download and upload speeds in different areas. These tests were performed with a LG Optimus G which, yes had to install an update to enable full support of 4G networks.
The results were too variable for our taste, but the fact is that in areas where getting the highest we saw in our tests proved 4G/LTE technology capable of delivering transfer rates quite amazing on a mobile device.
Thus, the maximum achieved in our tests in the discharge channel-although here the data “danced” much more-was 48 Mbps, while the upstream channel the figure was around 18 Mbps, with a variation clearly less than in the downlink channel.
These results were particularly unsustainable in different areas of Madrid, and for example in areas “strong theory” in coverage as the area of the Castellana and Plaza of Spain those speeds down to 13 or 14 Mbps, while upload speeds interestingly is always kept in ranges ranging from 14 to 18 Mbps cited.
And yet, the conclusion was obtained after those tours that such coverage has a long way to go. The large differences in just a few tens of meters are particularly surprising, and assume that only a matter of time that sustained rates and more uniform coverage settles in that 4G coverage.
Navigation, Pings, Data Uploads and Battery
One would expect that these speeds are not assigning in various sections, but one of them, of course, was less surprising than we expected. Web browsing on 4G networks is essentially identical to what we have in a device with 3G connection with rendering times and page load very similar to those we obtained without such new coverage.
In fact, only appreciate the improvements in the event that the web site to load has an enormous amount of photographic resources. Websites like Flickr or 500px, for example, did benefit from that speed, but on other websites 4G connectivity did not affect too much, and not doing it for the simple reason that each page contains not only a large file but dozens of little resources (HTTP requests) that do not take too much advantage of these transfer rates.
Pings to the test servers, though, did show clear advantages over those achieved in tests in 3G modes, with times that were around 40-50 ms in most of the areas in which we analyze 4G coverage and contrasting with the 100-150 ms 3G connections. These response times ultimately save many small stoppages in all kinds of scenarios (including mobile online game) and are another sign of significant performance 4G network Vodafone.
Of course, the rise of data was another major benefit of this type of technology. Upload Videos to YouTube from your mobile or to Drop box files was a matter of seconds with the “barrel” of rise makes these processes are accelerated by many orders of magnitude over 3G connections.
In fact, it is difficult to get close to 1 Mbps speeds on 3G connections, so those 4G speeds rise can be at least 10 times, often, much more, than those achieved so far. In a specific example, a file of 50 Mbps Drop box climbed in just 30 seconds, something unthinkable (and often nonstarter) on a 3G connection.
Of course, that data traffic has an impact on the phone’s battery and even temperature. When used continuously as a 4G connection check back Optimus G warmed significantly.
As for battery life, the aforementioned impact of 4G connection, although sensitive, is not worried. Data traffic makes everything in the smartphone working at full power, for example, to watch videos in HD on YouTube, a vice dangerous with this connection, but we believe that autonomy is not reduced by more than 10 or 15 % over normal levels, significantly acceptable considering the advantages.
Conclusions: Vodafone 4G is Cannon
The tests even with the great variability of results between some areas and others, has shown that this type of connectivity is a dramatic step in mobile data networks. Transfer rates and response times make it clear that there is no differentiation between mobile Internet and fixed Internet, at least in the performance section.
Of course, it remains to solve the great problem of these networks: coverage and signal quality, which is far too irregular. Adapting phone masts and infrastructure in cities Vodafone today as in the rest of the deployment promise a scenario where mobile internet access with all its possibilities seem really explosive.