3G vs. HSDPA: Does speed matter?
3G or HSDPA — most mobile users would not mind the difference these two have when it comes to connecting via mobile 3G internet. This is mainly because most people think 3G in the Philippines is slow anyway. I looked into this to see if the difference between 3G and HSDPA speeds really matter.
3G (3rd Generation of Telecommunication Standards) is a standard of cellular connectivity which allows for speeds of up to 384 Kb/s downstream and 64 Kb/s upstream.
3G HSDPA is a 3G enhancement — HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) is a new mobile data protocol and is sometimes referred to as a 3.5G. Theoretically, HSDPA speeds can reach 3.6 Mbps downstream and 348 Kbps upstream.
My 3G vs. HSDPA test included the ff.:
Nokia E51 (for HSDPA)
Nokia E63 (for 3G)
Standard Nokia USB Cable
Desktop PC on Windows XP + Nokia PC Suite
SpeedTest.net & 2Wire.com (on Google Chrome Browser)
Using SpeedTest.net (to target a local server) and 2Wire.com (a US server), I took 11 samples for each phone (one on HSDPA and the other on 3G). I dropped the highest and lowest scores and averaged the remaining 9 test results.
Results are as follows:
3G (on Nokia E63)
Download Speed: 448 Kbps (SpeedTest) / 306 Kbps (2Wire)
Upload Speed: 226 Kbps (SpeedTest)
HSDPA (on Nokia E51)
Download Speed: 1,534 Kbps (SpeedTest) / 650 Kbps (2Wire)
Upload Speed: 346 Kbps (SpeedTest)
The numbers might not be definitive but the speed difference is significant between 3G and 3.5G (HSDPA). The speeds will be noticeable especially when you’re downloading torrents as the 3G will hit a speed cap at around 50KB/s while you can still go up to 400+KB/s on HSDPA.
The more surprising result was the latency (response delay) between the two. Latency is significantly lower on HSDPA compared to 3G which means playing network/online games will be much better on HSDPA.
Hope this test results will help you in your next phone purchase with a 3G or an HSDPA. Of course, results will vary depending on the network you are on (in this case, I used Smart 3G).