Tag Archives: internet

T-Mobile Home Internet vs Spectrum

I’ve been using Spectrum for Internet service for a long time. I have a love/hate relationship with them. While YMMV, at least for me their Internet in Northwest Austin, TX has been honestly pretty darn great: fast and solid and blackouts are very rare.

On the other hand, their pricing is underhanded and expensive. I just fortuitously found out that my monthly payments are going up from $70/month to $80/month. No email or anything. And for the sake of writing this post, I’m trying to fing the advertised speed for my freaking Internet service on my own account page and I just can’t find it.

UPDATE: I had to call Spectrum in order to get the information. The service I have advertises speeds of 500 Mbps download / 20 Mbps upload.

Recently, T-Mobile offered me their 5G Home Internet service for a price that seemed to good to be true: $25/month. T-Mobile also offered a 15-day trial. Suspiciously, their Internet speeds aren’t clearly advertised but found in their FAQ: “between 33-182 Mbps”. That’s a big range!

I will add that I use T-Mobile for my phone service (we have several lines in our plan) and I am very happy with them. They’re pricing is great and their global Internet data is sooo nice. Most importantly, my iPhone gets download speeds over their 5G of around 500 Mbps which often beats my Spectrum cable Internet and I find kind of wacky. If their Home Internet is this fast…

Time to trial!

The box for T-Mobile’s 5G Arcadyan KVD21 Gateway

I’ll cut down to the chase by showing results I gathered using the venerable and ad-ridden SpeedTest.

TimeModemDeviceConnectionDownload (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)Ping (ms)
12/12/2022 1:49 PMSpectrumMacBook ProEthernet481.8323.0718
12/12/2022 1:53 PMT-Mobile iPhoneiPhoneCellular480.5112.0722
12/15/2022 10:20 AMT-Mobile GatewayiPhoneWiFi239.748.0024
12/15/2022 10:32 PMT-Mobile GatewayiPhoneWiFi15.639.4535
12/15/2022 10:34 PMT-Mobile iPhoneiPhoneCellular536.7110.6744
12/16/2022 2:09 PMT-Mobile GatewayMacBook ProEthernet9.013.16139
12/26/2022 5:42 PMT-Mobile GatewayiPad ProWiFi249.7914.48288
12/26/2022 5:51 PMT-Mobile GatewayiPad ProWiFi83.4119.5758
12/26/2022 5:54 PMT-Mobile GatewayiPad ProWiFi222.0913.0546

Some conclusions from the above:

  • Spectrum is faster overall.
  • T-Mobile’s 5G download speeds on my iPhone still amaze me.
  • And yet, T-Mobile’s Home Internet speed is a lot slower than what the iPhone can do over their same 5G network. I don’t know if it’s because the iPhone has a better cellular modem, or because the Home Internet speed is capped, or a combination.
  • T-Mobile’s Home Internet speed – when it works well – is fast enough for my needs.
  • T-Mobile’s Home Internet has too much variability. 15 Mbps? Those are the speeds I used to get with Intercable in Mexico over 20 years ago!
  • I am not convinced T-Mobile’s Home Internet paltry upload speeds are going to cut it for me. I videoconference a lot and I need it to be rock solid.

Subjectively, and after using it only for a day, I got through my workday just fine with the exception of some laggy videoconferences – which tends to cause people to talk over each other. I didn’t perceive video quality issues but I also didn’t present any content.

I will continue the trial for a few more days. I may append more results to the table. Stay tuned.

UPDATE 12/16/2022: I just had a WhatsApp video call with a friend, connected via WiFi to T-Mobile’s home internet. The video was choppy. I turned WiFi off in order to force it to go through the phone’s 5G and the video got noticeably smoother. 😕

UPDATE 12/16/2022: It’s 2 PM and Internet feels very slow. Sure enough SpeedTest confirms 9.01 Mbps download speeds.

UPDATE 12/26/2022: Back from vacation, T-Mobile support person Oliver had me try again. Atrocious ping times. Then after rebooting gateway: so-so download times. Then after Oliver did “something on his end” things looked better. In the meantime I’m getting another 15 days trial extension so I can play with it more, and I will.

Sprint LTE sightings in Austin

LTE service has been randomly popping up on my iPhone 5 in the North Austin area these past couple of days. Note that Sprint LTE has not yet launched in town.

It only lasts for a few minutes, and the speeds may differ from what we’ll get once it goes live. But the fact that they are testing is a sign that the launch is imminent.


Obviously, when I saw LTE, I had to run a speed test. Speeds were a little disappointing compared with what I’ve read about LTE; but are about a million times better than the notoriously slow Sprint 3G service. Boy I hate CDMA.

For comparison’s sake, here are other results I’ve gotten. They vary from run to run and each run depends on a lot of factors, like how far you are sitting from the cell phone tower or WiFi station, or how much other network traffic there is at the moment. But they do provide a good idea of what to expect:

Provider Ping (ms) Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps)
Sprint LTE (Austin, test) 76 7.77 0.71
Sprint 3G (Austin) 332 0.21 0.44
Sprint LTE (Woodlands) 56 7.95 9.44
Home (Time Warner Cable) 85 16.90 2.18
Work (jealous?) 48 48.35 23.76
AT&T LTE (Austin) 57 30.05 19.45

As you can see, 3G is soooo slow you can almost hear this. Can’t wait for LTE to go live.

Update: Reader Rolando O. sent a screenshot of SpeedTest results in AT&T LTE. They are amazing. I’ve added the numbers to the table.

Online security

Eva thinks I should use this image in this post. Click on the image for others I could have used.

The many high profile hacks that have occurred recently, like the one on Sony and Gawker (and those are the ones we know about) have made me think a lot about my online security. We all know what we need to do: Use different strong passwords that cannot be guessed using dictionary attacks for every single account.

The stakes range from the mildly annoying (someone sending spam from your email account, which can get it deactivated) to the really annoying (damage to your reputation due to inappropriate posts made from your Facebook/Twitter/Google+/whatever account), to the really painful (money stolen from bank accounts, identity theft).

I think password reuse is especially bad: someone gets access to one password database, they can now try them on many popular websites. It will work. Hackers don’t do this because “I” or “you” are terribly interesting people to hack. They do it because it’s profitable. Spam, Google Bombing, you name it. It happens all the time, just see how many fake emails you get from for friend’s email accounts. Just a few weeks ago my friend Rafa had his Skype account compromised and his SkypeOut credit used. It’s real.

Ok, but is there a practical way to have different strong passwords for every service we use? I think there is, and I’ve decided to do it. Follow up post coming.

The Browser Wars III

I wanted to see how the readers of The MKX® compare to the rest of the world once again. We have compiled statistics in 2006 and 2009, so might as well check again.

Browser Internet
June 2011
The MKX®
April 2006
The MKX®
Dec 2009
The MKX®
July 2011
Explorer 54% 59.32% 38.57% 23.03%
Firefox 21.67% 27.12% 34.84% 28.73%
Safari 7.48% 9.32% 18.55% 13.00%
Chrome 13.11% No data 5.68% 28.94%
Opera 2.98% 2.54% 0.49% 1.95%
Other 1% 2% 2% 4%

That’s right: The #1 browser around here is now Google Chrome, then Firefox, then IE (warning – disturbing domain name), and then Safari, who’s share has disturbingly fallen since we last checked in spite of growing in the Internet as a whole. A mystery.

Browser comparison

Safari 4 just came out of beta. I gave it a try at my work computer (a Windows XP machine) just to go back to Chrome shortly after. Now I’m back with Safari. The main reason? Text rendering. See, in Safari you can configure the browser to render its text like Mac OS X does. In my opinion, text looks a lot better in Mac OS X than it does in Windows. Sure, it’s a matter of taste; my excellent taste versus other people’s terrible taste.

To illustrate my point, I took a screenshot of the Facebook homepage. Why? Because it shows text in the English, Hebrew, and Arabic alphabet. You’ll see how Safari’s text looks much better. From left to right: Apple Safari 4, Google Chrome 2.0, Mozilla Firefox 3.0,and MS Internet Explorer 7.0:

Web browser comparison on Windows XP: Safari 4, Google Chrome 2.0, Mozilla Firefox 3.0, and MS Internet Explorer 7.0 (click to zoom)

What do you think? Which one do you like better?