No, you’ll likely get faster speeds on your installed mobile broadband connection than on your phone, even using the same mobile data plan from the same cellular carrier. An installed modem is more powerful than the “aircard” modem in your phone, which means an installed mobile broadband connection can establish a stronger connection with cellular towers. A stronger connection transfers online data quicker, boosting your download and upload speeds.
Wireless Routers Have More Powerful Antenna Configurations
When manufacturers design the networking technology in phones, they have to make wireless modem and antennas that are compact enough to fit inside the small body of a phone. When manufacturers design the networking technology inside wireless routers like the Evolution Data Optimized (Ev-DO) routers for installed mobile broadband connections, they don’t have to work within the same size constraints.
Ev-DO routers include complex multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antenna configurations with antennas that have more elements and more space between these elements, when compared to the antennas built into a phone. The strength of an antenna is positively correlating with both the number of elements in an antenna and the space between these elements. Wireless routers, then, can establish a stronger connection with cellular towers.
Also, you can pair wireless routers with stationary technology like directional booster antennas. These external antennas establishes a permanent connection with the nearest tower, which usually increases the efficiency and reliability of your internet connection. A directional antenna can add up to 12 dB to your signal strength, enough to convert a fair cellular signal into a good cellular signal.
Multiple Devices Will, However, Slow Your Installed Mobile Broadband Connection
Sometimes, your phone may get faster speeds than your installed connection due to the volume of devices on your local network. If you purchase a mobile data plan for your phone, the speeds are constant since (unless you’re using a hotspot) there’s only one device using the connection. A single installed mobile broadband connection supports multiple devices, which can make your internet speeds fluctuate.
Any internet connection shares its bandwidth with all the devices on the local network. Sometimes the network shares this bandwidth evenly and sometimes (if you’re using load balancing software) it prioritizes traffic based on urgency. Whenever the network shares bandwidth, it splits its data pipeline in ways that negatively affect internet speeds.
Say, for example, that your installed mobile broadband connection has a download speed of 40 Mbps and an upload speed of 10 Mbps. While you’ll reach these speeds if you’re using a single device on the network, as soon as you connect a second device to the network, you’ll essentially decrease the download speed to 20 Mbps and the upload speed to 5 Mbps on each device.
While an internet connection with a download speed of 40 Mbps and an upload speed of 10 Mbps can support two, three, or four devices without seriously compromising internet speeds, more than 10 devices will begin to strain your network. Typically, your installed connection will only feel significantly slower when you’re actively using multiple devices at the same time.
How Fast Will My 4G LTE Mobile Broadband Connection Be?
Because installed 4G LTE mobile broadband connections use more powerful hardware, they’re almost always faster than the mobile broadband connection on your phone. The exception, of course, is that installed connections that support a large number of devices will be slower than the mobile data on your phone due to split bandwidth.
With one device connected to the network, the average installed connection has a download speed of up to 40 Mbps and an upload speed of up to 8.5 Mbps, while the average phone connection has a download speed of 15 Mbps and an upload speed of 5 Mbps. With installed mobile broadband, then, you could experience download speeds 2.6 times higher than those on your phone and upload speeds 1.7 times higher than those on your phone.