3G VERSUS 4G
Mobile broadband is often referred to as 3G or 4G. The ‘G’ stands for generation, so 3G is third generation and 4G is fourth generation of mobile broadband internet. It can generally be assumed that 4G is a faster connection than 3G. It is expected that 5G will launch nationwide in 2019. A speed test can be undertaken to check internet speeds.
Internet… What is 3G & 4G?
Mobile broadband is often referred to as 3G or 4G. The ‘G’ stands for generation, so 3G is third generation and 4G is fourth generation of mobile broadband internet. It can generally be assumed that 4G is a faster connection than 3G. 3G network was first available in 2003, 4G was launched in the UK in 2012.
It is claimed that 4G upload speeds can be seven times faster than 3G (1.6Mbps v’s 12.4 Mbps). The Ofcom research report published in November 2014 found that EE (14.7Mbps) and O2’s (13.0Mbps) 4G upload speeds are above the average of 12.4Mbps, whilst the results from Vodafone and Three were 11.4Mbps and 11.1Mbps respectively. However Three offers the fastest average upload speed over 3G (1.7Mbps).
As service providers update their networks, more and more people will be able to access 4G providing they have the right equipment to do so, not all devices are 4G ready; this should be considered if you are buying new devices in the future.
If you would like to check the area where you boat is currently moored or the areas you cruise for 3G/4G coverage this website is a great tool and also breaks the search down in to different network providers which may help you make a decision which network provider best servers your location/area.
Internet… Understanding Speed Tests
Regardless of which internet option you decide to install on your narrow boat, a bandwidth speed test is vital to ensure you have chosen the best option for you and your boat! Internet providers advertise their speeds as ‘up to’ a certain level, but this might be a long way from the actual speed you will achieve on your narrowboat. If you cruise a lot this is more challenging as the speed is location dependent.
There are many sites offering speed tests for free and they are quick and simple to use. It is important to not use your internet connection for anything else whilst the test is happening to ensure an accurate result. This includes TV boxes or game consoles and closing down any apps on mobile phones and tablets.
If you don’t know of any others www.speedtest.net is good website to test you narrowboat internet connections as it has a dedicated section for internet speed testing.
A test will send a small amount of data to your browser to test for download speeds and then send data back to measure uploads speeds
Broadband speed is generally measured in megabits per second (Mbps). However, this shouldn’t be confused with megabytes (MB) which is generally how computers measure file size. There are 8 bits to 1 byte. During a speed test it is likely to be reported in megabytes (MB) rather than megabits (Mb), which means this is 8 times slower that you might expect if you didn’t realise there was a difference!
3G Versus 4G
Not what you're looking for? Try some other items within this chapter...