We don't really have in-flight wi-fi in Australia yet, although both Virgin and Qantas are working on it. It's far more common throughout Europe and the US, but a consortium of European companies is taking a different approach to the new network it's building: instead of satellites dozens of kilometres above the Earth bouncing signals from ground stations to planes and back, the European Aviation Network uses 4G LTE beamed directly upwards from mobile phone towers.
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If you're living in a house out in the sticks that doesn't have fixed-line internet, or even a house in the city with a terrible ADSL connection — like me — then you have an alternative, provided your download quota requirements aren't too high. D-Link's DWR-921 is a router that you can plug a SIM into and have instant fast 4G access, as long as you're happy to pay Telstra or Optus or Vodafone for mobile data.
Although many Aussies wouldn't believe it if you told them, our country's 3G and 4G mobile networks are regularly ranked among the best in the world. In actual fact, South Korea is the only country that consistently ranks ahead of Australia for overall mobile network speed and 3G or 4G availability, and our average download smartphone download speeds have cracked 25Mbps for the first time ever. OpenSignal's sixth Global State of the Mobile Network report paints a glowing picture of Australia's mobile telecommunications infrastructure.
As part of "a strategic commitment to ensure continued technological leadership" announced in its annual financial results today, Telstra is devoting the most money since it built its NextG 3G network in 2008 to further develop 4G and ready itself for 5G. $3 billion over the next three years will go towards network building and digitising its customer-facing service and sales setups.
Wireless coverage mapping expert OpenSignal has released its first ever report on the state of mobile networks within Australia, and its findings are pretty interesting, if not completely surprising: Telstra currently offers the fastest possible download speeds on 4G, but that comes at the cost of slightly higher latency where Vodafone and Optus swing ahead. Vodafone also wins out on the availability of its 4G networks, with a slight advantage over both its competitors.
The results of the Federal Government's recent auction of a large chunk of the 1800MHz band of the Australian radiofrequency spectrum have been announced: Telstra and Optus each spent nearly $200 million on securing more bandwidth, while TPG and Vodafone also splashed out with multi-million dollar investments. The 2015 auction should see Australia's 4G networks in regional areas get faster and cover wider areas.
Depending on who you talk to, LTE-U — the term given to using mobile LTE technology to transmit in unlicensed airwaves — is either the future of communications, or a terrible idea that will wreck Wi-Fi. The US FCC is studiously not taking sides in the argument, but is allowing further testing.
Is ADSL rubbish in your area? Can you not get cable internet? Are you still waiting for the NBN? (Yes, us too.) Well, have you considered using Optus 4G? With the launch of a new plan, Optus is targeting home internet users — renters, pop-up businesses and the terminally under-served — with a single super-high-capacity data plan and mobile brodband Wi-Fi hotspot. $70 per month will get you a massive 50GB of super-fast 4G mobile data.
Telstra is Australia's largest telco, and that means it can spend a bit of cash on keeping its 4GX mobile network world-class and super-fast. Alongside switching on Voice Over LTE, the new Wi-Fi mobile hotspot that Telstra calls the Wi-Fi 4GX Advanced III is capable of 600Mbps download speeds — theoretically.
As much as we might like to complain about our mobile internet coverage and the speed of our connections, Australia's mobile data networks are actually world class. Along with Korea and Sweden, Australia leads the way in the adoption and take-up of new super-fast 4G LTE-Advanced standards — and the latest is Category 9, a fancy frequency-meshing network capable of 450Mbps downloads.
If you take a stroll outside today, you’ll see a lot of people with mobile phones, phablets or tablets in their hands making calls, using the internet to catch up on the news, watch videos, or interacting with others via Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter.
I have a hard time caring about smartwatches. They sound neat, but most of them have tiny batteries that can barely last a couple days. Why can't someone make a watch that both looks swanky and has a decent sized battery? Well, LG just did: it's called the Watch Urbane LTE.
If you can't get ADSL or cable or NBN internet at home, or if you don't need that much data per month over the 'net, and you live relatively close to a city or metropolitan area, a 4G mobile broadband device might suit your needs very well. These usually come in the form of a Wi-Fi hotspot, portable and battery-powered, but this Huawei Wi-Fi Cube is designed to live in your home and connect everything in it wirelessly to the internet through Vodafone 4G.