Three Guys and a Podcast

Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis

March 22, 2012 at 9:07am Pacific Time
by: Karl Johnson
Categories: iPad

The new iPad has a number of great new features. The Display is the biggest change from the iPad 2. It will be the reason many people buy it. The new cellular data protocol called 4G LTE is another big improvement. Data speeds are now faster than most land line Internet connections. While this speed may decrease as more users come online, it will still be a major improvement.

The iPad 2 with 3G saw data download speeds around 0.5–2 Mb/s and upload speeds around .5 Mb/s. With 4G LTE, the new iPads are seeing download and upload speeds around 5–15Mb/s. Speeds vary depending on many factors, including distance to LTE towers. Yet many will see ten times the speed when compared to the old 3G protocol. For many, it is fast enough now to get rid of the land line Internet connection. This will not work because the new 4G LTE data network comes with a very big issue.

The biggest issue with the new 4G LTE network is the data caps cellular companies impose on monthly data transfer. Both Verizon and AT&T offer 2–3 gigabytes of data per month for $25–30. Every extra gigabyte will cost an additional $10. Compare that with some cable Internet providers, who if they have a cap, is usually around 250 gigabytes. Users with the new 4G LTE protocol can be downloading at 1 megabyte per second. This is plenty to watch HD videos. At that rate, users would burn through their data plan in less than an hour. Even with general Internet usage, users could use up the data plan in a day or two. The 2–3 gigabytes is just not enough for the vast majority of users.

Home landline connections are still needed because of the incredibly small data caps cellular companies impose, even if the cellular network is a faster network. Users will need to be more careful in how they use their new Internet connection on the iPad. That speed allows users to browse the Internet at a much faster pace that before. That faster pace requires a higher data cap.

This will be even more true with traveling. Most Hotels and WiFi hotspots will have drastically slower and less reliable Internet connections than that of 4G LTE networks. This will cause more to use the new network instead, which again causes users to run up against the cap even faster.

The 4G LTE network is the future for Internet connections. Many are already turning off their landline phones and in time will also turn off their landline Internet connections. That time is still a long way off. While the cellular networks are now fast enough for HD video, their capacity is not. The cellular companies now need to be pressured to improve their capacity and increase the caps so users can make full use of their new devices. The new iPad will be exposing the cellular networks biggest weakness and iPad users will be unhappy with current bandwidth caps.

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