Note that being in a moving vehicle didn’t necessarily mess up the results, but that performance could vary widely even in fairly close locations (such as Sydney’s two airport terminals).
I’ll happily admit that it’s hard to do a perfect test for wireless broadband. The enhanced DC-HSPA+ service isn’t being used by anyone much at the moment, so these numbers undoubtedly represent best-case results. That said, if I can’t achieved 20Mbps for downloads in this scenario, I can’t imagine anyone will in the future, when it’s a widely available consumer option. (Business users will be able to buy the device from Telstra shops from October, and a consumer release is expected later this year.)
It’s also easy to become obsessed with speed without considering other factors. The most important element in a wireless broadband service is consistency — not suffering constant dropouts if you’re working in a single location — and Telstra has a little bit of work to do on this front. On the prepaid Telstra service (which is what I regularly use), dropouts are marked by a ‘No signal’ message, which at least tells you there may be a problem.
On several occasions with the Ultimate client, the connection stops working but the software still claims it is in place. That’s not an earth-shattering problem — disconnecting and reconnecting usually fixes it — but it shouldn’t be down to the user to have to work that out.
My testing isn’t quite done yet. Later this week, I’m going to take a train up the east coast from Sydney to Brisbane, stopping overnight several times along the way and testing how the network performs (a project I’ve informally dubbed “Off The Rails”). While some of my previous train tests have suggested Next G and trains don’t get on, some of the best results in the current roundup came in moving vehicles, so anything’s possible.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman would become a completely dysfunctional individual without wireless broadband of some sort. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.