As you may already know, Optus operate a UMTS2100 3G network in addition to their GSM900/1800 network. In fact those Optus 2G customers that have bought a recent UMTS-capable phone may have noticed that they are using the 3G network in many cases when in urban areas despite not actually being 3G customers. We can see that the distinction between a 2G customer and a 3G customer is now rather blurred.
Until recently however you would still be using plain old GPRS (Optus does not offer EDGE currently) if you were such a customer, limiting you to a typical 50-60 kbit at best. Now, Optus allow access to data transfer over the UMTS network to 2G customers with a 3G phone. This is great news for people like myself on a good value legacy plan who have no interest in the current crop of 3G services other than IP internet. Anyway, here are some quick figures on performance:
Phone: Nokia 6280 RM-78 v03.65
Network: 505-02 Optus UMTS
Conditions: Node-B distance approx 800m, indoors (unfortunately I don’t have a UMTS phone with field test - yet!)
Pinging mirror.aarnet.edu.au [126.96.36.199] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 188.8.131.52: bytes=32 time=253ms TTL=56
Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=232ms TTL=56
Reply from 220.127.116.11: bytes=32 time=231ms TTL=56
Reply from 18.104.22.168: bytes=32 time=230ms TTL=56
We can see the latency is now usable, lower than Telstra’s EDGE (~400ms) and less than half of typical GPRS (~700ms) - although the GPRS variants tended to have wildly fluctuating instantaneous pings, even with no other traffic on the link, whereas the UMTS latency was more consistent.
FTP transfer of a pseudo-random file (Gzipped data):
150 Opening BINARY mode data connection for php-4.2.0-to-4.2.2.patch.gz (320248
226 File send OK.
ftp: 320248 bytes received in 10.55Seconds 30.37Kbytes/sec.
We can see that the transfer speed of UMTS of ~240kbit was about twice the speed Telstra EDGE in a similar environment, and 5 times the speed of Optus GPRS.
For those interested, the connection settings are identical (APN=”internet”). Any regular user of GPRS data with Optus should automatically be getting the higher speeds.
In conclusion, it is now feasible to browse web pages which was too painful on GPRS and somewhat frustrating on EDGE - if it weren’t for the prohibitively high cost of data.
Posted in Mobile Phones/Networks |