We didn’t actually stop at Nhill or Bordertown stations (that only happens when passengers are booked to alight or board), so those tests do represent on the move data where a signal was maintained. That wasn’t always going to happen: we’d barely left Dimboola station when the network disappeared completely. The Bordertown results are unusual in the closeness of upload and download speeds, but showed the same pattern when I tried a repeat test.
While the ping times are on the low side, on the whole the speeds didn’t vary hugely from what Telstra offers in city areas. They’re certainly more than enough to allow anyone trying to do essential tasks to get through work, especially if you’re using a smart phone that can deal with intermittent connectivity more intelligently than a PC.
No 3G broadband network is perfect, and that is the most important lesson I’ve learnt this year while roaming the country testing their performance. I started writing the draft of this article on the platform at Sydney’s Central Station — the absolute centre of the nation’s biggest city — and it took 10 minutes to persuade an Optus 3G modem to even work. I wouldn’t want to ever lose the convenience of having wireless broadband, but anyone who thinks it’s a comparable substitute for wired Internet access in terms of reliability is delusional.
Lifehacker Australia editor Angus Kidman is experiencing mixed feelings about Adelaide public transport. His Road Worrier column, looking at technology and organising tips for travellers, appears each week on Lifehacker.
Angus has been writing professionally about technology since 1994 and breaking it for even longer. He is based in Sydney but spends a frankly unhealthy portion of his life on the road, tracking down the latest stories. In 2011, he won the IT Journo Award For Best Consumer Technology Journalist and Consensus IT Writers Award for Best Technical Writer for his work on Lifehacker; about time too.