International Airport Wi-Fi: Not Always That Speedy

My complaints about 3G broadband performance in Australian airports are not a new theme around here, but what happens when the plane heads offshore? In an overseas context, roaming charges generally mean that mobile broadband gets cast aside in favour of airport Wi-Fi. Having tested the speeds in two European capitals recently, I’m reminded that what we get in Australia isn’t necessarily much different to what’s on offer elsewhere.

Having seen both good and bad results in Australian airports recently, I decided to check out the speeds on offer at Heathrow Terminal 5 in London and Oslo airport while travelling through those cities. Neither airport offers free Wi-Fi for general travellers (advantage: Adelaide), but both have it in their respective airport lounges. As regular readers will know, I’m a lounge kind of guy.

Both locations offered a perfectly workable Wi-Fi service, but neither had massively impressive speeds. Here are the results from Heathrow:

And here’s what I got in Oslo:

That’s considerably slower than what I can manage with LTE back in Australia in terms of downloads and uploads, though comparable to some of the slower speeds I’ve seen a normal Next G connection and with some fairly good ping times. Perhaps more to the point, it’s a lot slower than what I recorded at Sydney Airport T2 earlier this year. And it reinforces that while you can usually get connected in an airport, you probably shouldn’t expect that connection to be ultra-speedy.

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