Many smartphones now come with the ability to turn into WiFi hotspots, allowing laptops, iPads and other internet consuming devices to access the web using smartphone’s data connection. Smartphones like the iPhone that can’t themselves become a hotspot, can still allow at least one computer to access the web via USB tethering.
The question I’m asked all the time is: Which is faster? dedicated data service, or data service through a cell phone?
PCWorld recently decided to do testing to determine just that, and their opinion is that dedicated data service comes out on top, as seen in the graphic above.
In general, I share the opinion that dedicated data service is faster than data via cell phone, but for many users the ability to turn hotspot or tethering ‘feature’ service on and off at will rather than be forced to pay $60/mo, makes cell-phone data service a viable option for infrequent users of mobile broadband.
PS: it was nice to see that the top speed achieved by all their testing was attained using a Cradlepoint router!