Verizon's first LTE dongle is startlingly large. But not as startling as the speed.
These results are spot tests from all across the country: New York (Gizmodo & Engadget), Seattle (MSNBC.com), Philadelphia (GigaOM), Arizona (SlashGear) and Boston (NetworkWorld). And they paint a pretty remarkable picture. Most of the "slow" results—around 7-9Mbps downstream—are with a mere two bars of signal. MSNBC.com's crazy, fiber-fast speeds? Totally legit, Verizon told MSNBC.com super editor and Coors Light fanboy Wilson Rothman. It even trounced his home cable connection, again and again and again.
Our own results are from deep within Gizmodo HQ in SoHo in downtown Manhattan, the average of five speed tests. By comparison, our WiMax dongle from the same spot averaged a mere 2.7Mbps downstream and 2.8Mbps upstream, and the strength of the signal seemed a little shakier. LTE is the real deal—right now anyway, while there's nobody but lucky tech journos stealing all the internets. We'll have to see how well it holds up as more people pile on, but the initial results are stunning, to say the least.
The experience of getting it set up is a little less fabulous. It's Windows-only for now (changing soon, hopefully!), and Verizon's Access Manager is a terrible little piece of software which isn't even bundled on the dongle. The dongle itself is wide and bulbous, a return to the USB dongles of three years ago that eat up gobs of real estate on the side of your PC. (The Clearwire WiMax dongle is a classy affair by comparison, a metallic circle, drivers all neatly bundled.) Dear lord, we can't wait until there's an LTE MiFi card.
In the meantime, just be amazed at these speeds, finally available in America. Whether you wanna call it 4G or not, the bottom line is that it's damn fast. [Engadget, MSNBC.com, Slashgear, Network World, GigaOM]