Running speed tests on a cellular device

When you run a speed test, like they are more made for cable services. Cabled Internet gives you a speed (3Mb, 10Mb, 200Mb, 1Gb, etc) and your testing speed will be within 90% of that speed normally.

However, with cellular, it is an on-demand service. If what you are doing on the Internet requires 10Mb, that's what the tower will give you. If you need more, it gives you more. Many times you can see this happen by running a speed test with nothing running. Then, watch a YouTube video and while it is playing, run the speed test again. Most of the time, you'll notice the speed increase instead of decrease like you'd see on a cabled connection. Again, this is because cellular is an on-demand service and since you needed more, it gave it to you.

So the best way to determine cellular devices worth to you, is does it do the things you want? Speed tests might give you a base of what is possible, but don't live or die by the speeds being constant, because that just isn't the way cellular Internet works.

If you are struggling with things not working, there are a number of things that can affect the bandwidth available.

  • Being outside the 2.5-mile radius of a tower will mean a major reduction in bandwidth.

  • Finding a better spot for your router. (See the KB article on checking signal strength and things that may reduce the signal.)

  • Tower congestion will cause periods of slower speed if a tower is overwhelmed by users.

While we put the KB articles online to help those who want to figure it out themselves, we are always glad to help with service issues.

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