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Mobile Data Speed Expectation

Android™ Expert

People have been wondering why they can never achieve the maximum download speed that their service provider has listed. The maximum download speed that the service provider has listed is usually the theoretical download speed. The actual speed you will experience is usually half of that, and might further decrease because of server congestions and other factors.

 

This is much like your home networking, except cellular data is at a much bigger scale. In your home networking, you will see that your maximum download speed as 54/72/144/300/450 mbps at maximum, depending on your router and network card (this will be explained in a separate article). In my case, I am having a 300mbps maximum theoretical speed for my Wi-Fi. However, when I download a file with multiple streams, I could only achieve approximately 10MB/s, which translates to 80mbps.

 

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What I am trying to show is that the theoretical speed is actually impossible to be achieved over wireless networks, be it Wi-Fi or cellular data.

 

Cellular data has many different categories of speed. As most of you would have encountered in your daily usage, you will see your phone having 4G/H+/H/3G/G signals. They are actually the different categories of speed your device is connected to, with 4G being the fastest and G being the slowest.

 

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StarHub has also implemented DC-HSPA+ to give their users more bandwidth of up to 42mbps. DC-HSPA+ works pretty similarly to your home routers. Instead of working on only 1 ‘channel’, DC-HSPA+ uses 2 ‘channels’ to give you double the speed.

 

StarHub has been consistently improving their cellular network, providing end users with updated technologies. Cellular network brings convenience to you, allowing you to stay connected even on the move. However, cellular network can never beat your home network as a lot more users are using the cellular network at the same time. To add on, using Wi-Fi will save your mobile phone’s battery and data usage as well. My suggestion is to use Wi-Fi when it is available and cellular data when you are on the go!

 

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SpeedTest results with StarHub LTE.

 

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Phone connected to DC-HSPA network

 

In conclusion, mobile data is a shared medium, on a much larger scale as compared to your home network. Just like home network, the access speed is dependent on the number of concurrent users geographically. This is true among other service providers as well.

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